For Our Consideration: Easy, comrade: The Americans is perfecting the art of the slow burn

When Breaking Bad went off the air in September 2013, scores of TV fiends, meth fiends, and fiends of Aaron Paul’s swearing wallowed in their collective hangover. They mourned a show that rolled along quietly in its beginnings, but stealthily picked up speed in the middle and had them holding on tight for the final season’s train ride to hell. It was the rare series that legitimately got better from start to finish, never wasting a moment on anything less than a crucial plot point or strategic pause to appreciate the haunting beauty of Walter White’s desert prison, laboratory, and eventual grave.

Eight months before Walt’s final bow, FX debuted The Americans in similarly humble fashion. The ’80s period drama starred Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two undercover KGB spies pretending to live the American dream. Save for a conveniently inconvenient …

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