• Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 30, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Feb 27, 2014
    100
    Sometimes watching greatness expand and realizing that a foundation is in place for the future (excellent writing, superb acting, a clear conceptual vision) is just the kind of assurance you need to cement your allegiance.
  2. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Feb 26, 2014
    100
    Unlike in "Homeland," the show's main conceit grows even more complex and fascinating by including the Jennings kids.
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Feb 25, 2014
    100
    Based on these first five episodes, The Americans shows every sign of maintaining if not exceeding the high bar it set in Season 1.
  4. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Feb 25, 2014
    100
    Season 2 finds ways to introduce even greater tension, even as [Philip and Elizabeth are] a more fundamentally sound unit, while also adding a whodunnit element that spices things up nicely.... Absolutely dynamite.
  5. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Feb 21, 2014
    100
    [It] promises to be a dizzyingly clever season 2. [3 Mar 2014, p.39]
  6. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Feb 20, 2014
    100
    All of the elements that made it must-see last year are working at full throttle in season two, which kicks off Wednesday night: intrigue, deception, sex, duplicity, spy vs. spy stuff and, most of all, irony.
  7. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Feb 25, 2014
    91
    Still excellent, still hard to love.
  8. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    Feb 12, 2014
    91
    Season 2 is just as brainy and twisty and kinky [as season 1], and it ratchets up the suspense by making the threats to our "heroes" even more personal.
  9. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Feb 26, 2014
    90
    [Phillips says] "Money, guns, America's going to get you whatever you need." And so--at least for those who prize artful ambiguity over dull certainty--should The Americans.
  10. Reviewed by: Andrew Romano
    Feb 26, 2014
    90
    The Americans is already reinventing itself. Why? Because it has the confidence to know that it's about more than the relationship between two specific characters. Rather it's about the idea of relationships in general, in all their intricacy and weirdness--the secrecy they require, the comfort they create, the confusion they entail, the danger they can unleash. And that never gets old.
  11. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Feb 26, 2014
    90
    It’s not that that second What It’s About--the emotional heart of The Americans--is better, more noble than the first. But it’s the difference between an exciting thriller premise that flames out fast and a story with lasting power--demonstrates better than ever.
  12. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Feb 26, 2014
    90
    The Americans redefines domestic espionage with its multiple layers of emotionally charged suspense.
  13. 90
    It's these deeper questions [Deciding to live the day-to-day performance of an ideal, a belief, an emotion, a set of principles, a faith?] that give the action and melodrama a bit of existential heft, and redirect our vicarious enjoyment away from fantasy and back towards reality.
  14. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Feb 25, 2014
    90
    Everyone in this layered show has cover stories, divided loyalties, mixed emotions and hidden motives. The complexity of the characters drives the narrative as much as the car chases and ultrasecret missions.
  15. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Feb 25, 2014
    90
    Very few shows are able to combine pleasurable episodic storytelling so deftly with solid character building and delicious suspense, but the first five episodes of the new season do that with style, not to mention period-perfect wigs.
  16. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Feb 24, 2014
    90
    Watching, it is almost impossible not to root for these two Communists as they do any and everything they can to undermine America. In this regard, The Americans works its American audience as effectively as its heroes work their marks: It makes double agents of us all.
  17. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Feb 24, 2014
    90
    As the new season begins, this series continues to be among the best of the extraordinary number of great TV dramas vying for attention.
  18. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Feb 21, 2014
    90
    The new season--suspenseful as ever, more brutal in its violence, perhaps, and more expansive in its reach into history--easily upholds the standard of the first.
  19. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Feb 21, 2014
    90
    FX's The Americans does the near-impossible of making viewers cheer for Russian spies in America and at the same time for the American FBI agents who are trying to unmask those Russians living in suburbia. It's an incredibly deft balancing act that's accomplished through strong character development all around.
  20. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Feb 20, 2014
    90
    The program is physical, visceral, and consistently intense. Even the dialogue sounds smarter.
  21. The Cold War may be over, but this addictive spy thriller is just heating up.
  22. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Feb 26, 2014
    88
    what these two characters, so fabulously played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, are about to realize as this excellent series returns is that their jobs put their children at risk.
  23. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Feb 26, 2014
    88
    This thriller is a fast-paced ride through the minefields of domestic and international relations.
  24. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Feb 24, 2014
    83
    The series is at its most potent when it reframes the everyday in the context of the Cold War, like Philip comparing notes on home life with a Mossad operative or Elizabeth displaying a flash of vulnerability in front of a government-contracted dupe. (And then betraying that parental bond by turning it into a threat.) Other aspects of the show would do well to find this middle ground; they’re getting there in season two.
  25. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Feb 27, 2014
    80
    Elizabeth and Philip react with the appropriate amount of fear for and protectiveness of Paige and Henry. No doubt, this will further widen the cracks already forming in their political/professional resolve, but there is no going back: The Americans puts the kids front and center.
  26. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Feb 27, 2014
    80
    The Americans can be wrenchingly emotional, and it’s terrifically well paced. But it doesn’t take itself overly seriously, and while the show looks pretty good it’s not the most cinematic series on the block.
  27. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Feb 25, 2014
    80
    The first five episodes of Season 2 are as good or better as what we saw in Season 1.
  28. Reviewed by: Ryan E.C. Hamm
    Feb 25, 2014
    80
    The real heart here is the Jennings family. It's what make The Americans a better show than most, and what keeps it a show to watch heading into its second season.
  29. Reviewed by: Oscar Moralde
    Feb 24, 2014
    75
    Regardless of some of its structural weaknesses, The Americans's second season brims with subtle psychological insight into the grinding machinations of Cold War espionage.
  30. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Feb 25, 2014
    70
    Series creator Joe Weisberg--who wrote the Thomas Schlamme-directed season premiere along with Joel Fields--and company have done about as well as is possible in keeping the plates spinning while adding new ones to the act. Even so, it’s hard to escape a sense that if this series runs much beyond a second season, it’s less about serving up art than it is about bowing to the needs of old-fashioned capitalism.
  31. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Feb 26, 2014
    60
    Credibility starts to fray when our heroes, or anti-heroes, keep needing miraculous last-second evasions and escapes.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 145 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 19
  2. Negative: 3 out of 19
  1. Mar 1, 2014
    10
    Only 1 episode of this new season aired but 'The Americans' is a much more confident show than it ever was. It's well acted, well written and the story the show is telling is extremely compelling. Must watch tv. Absolutely loved it. Full Review »
  2. Mar 5, 2014
    10
    Yes, it's better than Homeland. Good performances from the main cast and an interesting story. Makes me wonder if my relatives are Russian spies.

    If you're tired of continuous American propaganda (I hope it never goes down that path), I highly recommend it.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 7, 2014
    10
    Several episodes in, The Americans continues as strong as ever. If you were afraid the writers were going to resort to lazy plot devices, especially the usual one (the previously clever characters start inexplicably doing stupid things) in an attempt to make it more accessible or exciting, then you can relax. The plotlines are still complex yet subtle, as is the brilliant acting from both leads. The writing is perceptive - it feels like you're watching real people, and compassionate - you actually care about them. The only thing not to like about this is that it will remind you how terrible almost everything else on TV is. Full Review »