Brain Dump: The Americans, Coco, The Split

A few brief comments on television and movies coming at you in this edition of a brain dump. I’ll talk about The Americans, Coco, and The Split. Continue reading “Brain Dump: The Americans, Coco, The Split”

Brain Dump: House of Cards, Empire, The Americans, The Fosters

It’s a brain dump day. Just a little bit of one thing or another in disconnected ramblings.

House of Cards

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards

When Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) finally has all the power in the world in his hands, he becomes a tyrant and a bigger ass than he ever was. And when Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) has a chance, she chooses to do the right thing. Unlike dear Frank.

House of Cards is more about the relationship between Frank and Claire than it is about political intrigue and power. Season 3 really brings that home, especially the final moments.

Favorite scenes: 1. When Claire shamed the Russian President on Russian TV. 2. When Frank caused Jesus to go all to pieces. 3. When Claire – aw, shucks, that’s too big of a spoiler to share.

Empire

Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard in Empire
Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard in Empire

I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying Empire. I know I’m a sucker for any show with music, but I thought this one would be different because I don’t enjoy rap. I get tired of all those male voices in rap. But the music on this show is good, with only an occasional bit of rap and with plenty of women performers in the mix.

I’m also into the characters and the drama. Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyons and Terrance Howard as Lucious Lyons show off outstanding acting chops in every episode, with the rest of the cast doing just as well. I’m happy it keeps climbing in the ratings, because that means it will probably be back for another season.

The Americans

Holly Taylor in The Americans
Holly Taylor in The Americans

In The Americans, Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) have agonized all season over when (or if) to explain to their oldest child Paige (Holly Taylor) that they are Russian spies. Phillip doesn’t want to. Elizabeth wants to but can’t bring herself to do it. It underscores everything that happens this season from what they do as spies to how they relate to each other and their daughter. It’s fascinating to watch their lives and all their assumptions kind of unravel over this issue.

The Fosters

Cierra Ramirez in The Fosters
Cierra Ramirez in The Fosters

I think we need more geeky young women on TV as role models. Well, we got one. Cierra Ramirez as Mariana on The Fosters turns out to be quite the hacker. I love Mariana the geek! More geeky girls, please.

 

Watch This: Previews for Season 3 of The Americans

The Americans will start season 3 on FX on January 28. I’ve been watching this drama about Soviet spies in the U.S. during the Cold War in the 1980s since the first season. As unlikely as it sounds to say that I like a show about Soviet spies, I am saying it here.

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in The AMericanse
This married couple are not what they seem

Much of the reason this show is so good are the outstanding performances from Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. They are brilliant in their parts as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two KGB officers who pose as a married couple living near Washington, D.C. They have two children, played by Holly Taylor and Keidrich Sellati. Their neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich) is an FBI counter-intelligence agent who spends his days trying to catch people like them, and his evenings exchanging small talk with them over barbecue.

The spies have a “handler.” For a while their handler was played by Margo Martindale, an actress I simply love. This year Frank Langella is stepping into the role of handler. Richard Thomas is also a regular, playing another FBI agent.

There are recognizable events in the story, real characters and real happenings from the period, but ultimately – at least for me – the story is about Elizabeth and Philip: their relationship, their marriage, their family.

How about it? Are there any other fans of The Americans among readers?

Photos © Copyright FX Network