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FX’s New Show Is ‘Homeland’ Meets Le Carre Meets ‘The Joneses’

By Alyssa Rosenberg on December 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

"FX’s New Show Is ‘Homeland’ Meets Le Carre Meets ‘The Joneses’"

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It may just be that I’m already in Homeland withdrawal, but The Americans sounds pretty excellent:

The male-skewing cable network has given a pilot order to the KGB spy drama set in suburban Washington D.C. the early 1980s. The project, created by Joe Weisberg (Falling Skies, Damages), centers on the arranged marriage of Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, who have two children who know nothing about their parents’ true identity. Their relationship grows more passionate and genuine by the day, but is constantly tested by the escalation of the Cold War and the intimate, dangerous and darkly funny relationships they must maintain with a network of informants and spies under their control. Complicating it further is Phillip’s growing sense of affinity for the American way of life.

I’m fond in general of stories that are about tradecraft mechanics rather than the big boom, whether it’s the reporters chasing down the story in State of Play or the careful piecing together of information in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. And I’ve enjoyed Homeland precisely for its attention to the work you do while you’re waiting, and the waiting for things to shake out in your brain that are an inherent part of the work. So I’m excited for a project that ties the work of building a family to the work of espionage. I also think this is a smart way to amp up suburban angst narratives. If whether your husband sleeps with someone else, your child fits in well at school, your continuing ability to be happy as a housewife are all matters not just of the stability of your family but of your success in battle in a geopolitical and ideological war, it’s a nice way to create more dramatic stakes without having to bring in superheroes.

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