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‘The Americans’ Season 1 Blu-ray/DVD Release Party

american thumbIt was a bit humorous that the party celebrating the upcoming release of the FX series, The Americans, was occurring on the same day as the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  For those unfamiliar, The Americans is a series revolving around undercover Russian spies in 1980s Washington D.C.  Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as a seemingly normal, suburban couple, who are actually lethal KGB agents.  The first season revolves around these two working together to continue their mission, while staying hidden as spies in plain sight.  It also takes a lot of time to expand on the lives these two have shared, making the audience root for these two to keep this fake, but not necessarily non-emotional, marriage alive.  I very much enjoyed the first season and was happy to enjoy the festivities celebrating the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release.  This post details the event as well as the conversation I was a part of, with the producers of the series, who were very happy to talk about it.

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The party took place at Nic’s Beverly Hills, a restaurant in Los Angeles and a pretty cool spot in general.  I am not going to get into the delicious appetizers being served, but I will mention the drinks, as we were treated to mixed drinks styled after The Americans, known as Cold War Cosmos, and given the chance to check out the VodBox, the walk in freezer that stores the many different varieties of vodka; as we are dealing with a show about Russian spies in the 80s, after all.  Lastly, I will note that the cosmos all had ice cubes in the shape of a hammer and cycle, which was a nice touch.

Plenty of fun items were available for guests as well.  Along with getting to chill in the VodBox, attendees were given very cool (and comfy) Russian Ushanka hats, keeping everyone’s head warm.  Additionally, custom laser-etched iPhone cases were being made on the spot, featuring The Americans logo, plus one’s choice of personalization.  Not too shabby, as far as neat promotional items go.  Large posters with images from the show and copies of the DVD for Season 1 could be found everywhere as well.

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Moving on, let me talk about the time spent chatting with the big guests at the party, Emmy Award-winning Executive Producers Graham Yost and Darrel Frank, as well as Emmy nominated producer Justin Falvey.  While the trio was understandably a bit tight-lipped about the upcoming Second Season, which begins on February 26, they did have some fun talking to us about the development of the series, the choices made regarding the style of the series, what could be taken away from it by a modern audience, and more.

The conversation with Yost, Frank, and Falvey was held in the back section of Nic’s, with episodes from the series being played in the background.  Myself and several other fellow critics and bloggers were present, as we tried to dig into the show, the logic that went into it, and what has been very successful about it so far.  When asked about the inspiration of this show, Justin Falvey and Darrel Frank responded with real life.  They explained how they wanted to examine the cold war through the filter of a marriage, in a similar way as something like The Sopranos and how that show explored the family life of a man in the mafia.  They also sighted novels and films like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as key pieces of inspiration as well.

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Graham Yost also addressed the interesting nature of the time period and how the height of the Cold War, the stakes, and the concept of having heroes that are actually KGB agents really added a lot of interesting elements to the series.  Falvey also added that this is not something that has really been seen before and how something like the Bourne novels and film franchise was another neat inspiration, given how they feed into the idea of these capable action heroes that have a lot going on in their head as well, which is what the show was able to delve into, albeit, from a perspective of protagonists on the side of the Russians in the 80s.

This led to an interesting question of how the series was able to manage the idea of having audiences believe in the struggles of two characters that would essentially be considered “the enemy” from a U.S. point of view.  Graham Yost quoted show creator Joe Weisberg, in reference to a question asked before, “Are we supposed to be rooting for the bad guys, the KGB?” And the response was, “Well I hope you root for the marriage,” which was a good response for sure and a good lead in to the tease put forward about Season 2’s developments, which will partially revolve around the children, mainly Paige (who is not aware of the truth), becoming more suspicious of what her parents are really up to.

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Yost also took time to discuss the tone of the series.  Given that he is showrunner for Justified, he wanted to be clear that the shows are quite different, as Justified exists in the world created by Elmore Leonard, who writes in a way that leads to many more humorous moments to go along with the tension, while The Americans may have moments of levity, but has higher stakes on the line, given the theme of espionage and deception.  Yost then added what could be taken away from this show by modern audiences, given its setting and the fact that The Americans is not just about retro style.  It basically amounts to the idea that a lot of important things were happening at that time, which is important to keep in mind.

There was also a lot of discussion of the soundtrack of the series and how music licensing and budgets made for a lot of specific choices.  The pilot episode is very notable for using the songs “Tusk” and “In The Air Tonight”, which essentially became too good to not use and really helped sell the feel of the show.  A lot of the other music choices ended up being B-sides to play in the background of scenes, which may be songs not as well known, but still effective for the series.

When discussing specific episodes and what the best episode has been so far that really gets across the feel of the show, Yost brought up “Trust Me” as an example, which features Russell and Rhys’ characters getting kidnapped and being interrogated, with a twist that occurs towards the end of that episode.  “Safe House” was brought up as well, but the consensus brought up by all three gentlemen was the fact that the show is very serialized, so understanding these characters makes it difficult to really parse out one episode as the best lead in for a casual viewer.

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Yost ended the conversation by teasing a few more developments in Season 2, which basically explains that the marriage is going to be put to the test a lot more in the coming episodes.

It was an entertaining night overall, as the setting was a pretty cool place, the people were all quite friendly, which includes the various folks from fox and other websites I interacted with, and the conversation with the series producers was definitely a enjoyable one to be a part of.

Here’s a recap from Fox (plus more pictures from the event!):

The Americans Season 1 Blu-ray and DVD release party took place last night (2/6/14) at Nic’s Beverly Hills. Guests in attendance were invited to Vodka-tasting in Nic’s 28-degree chilled VodBox. Attendees were also treated to Americans inspired “Cold War Cosmos,” custom laser-etched phone cases, Russian Ushanka hats, as well as an opportunity to chat with Executive Producers of The Americans – Graham Yost, Darrel Frank, and Justin Falvey.

Season 1 Is Available On Blu-ray and DVD February 11th
(Review Next Week)

Season 2 Returns to FX February 26th

Pre-Order Your Copy of Season 1 Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

1 Response to “‘The Americans’ Season 1 Blu-ray/DVD Release Party”


  1. Brian White

    Excellent coverage of this Aaron. Fox has to be proud! I almost feel like I was here this is so in-depth!