FX's Cold War-era spy thriller "The Americans," which premiered in January, has already been approved for a second season with 13 episodes. The show has been compared to the Showtime espionage hit "Homeland"; the Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman wrote in January that "It's too early to really judge 'Americans' against 'Homeland,' but if the latter is getting away from what hooked you in the first place, then you might find what you're missing on 'Americans'."
Indeed, "The Americans" debuted with high ratings, and although fewer people tuned in after the first few weeks, ratings company Nielsen has attributed the decline to increased viewership on DVRs.
The show stars "Felicity" actress Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys of "Brothers and Sisters," who play KGB agents placed in America during the Cold War. The relationship between the two, who are in an arranged marriage, becomes increasingly complicated as their passion grows and the Cold War escalates. Writes Goodman: "'Homeland' turned out to be determined to get all the spy stuff out of the way so a love story could bloom. On 'Americans', the love story has a wealth of incredible emotional layers, but the emphasis always is on the spying."
The series was created by Joe Weisberg of "Falling Skies," a former CIA officer-turned-screenwriter and producer.