Although an inevitable, yet troublingly steady decline in ratings following its record-setting debut suggested The Americans might be headed for a Soviet Union-like collapse, to be dissolved into a commonwealth of independent state-shows where Matthew Rhys’ show has to beg for grain from Keri Russell’s show, FX has instead granted the spy drama a second season. In a press release announcing the renewal, the network acknowledges the show’s ratings decline, but also factors in DVR stats to declare The Americans to have the highest time-shifted viewing numbers of any freshman series in its history—embracing a more inclusive, socialist doctrine that rejects the capitalist lapdog’s insistence on kowtowing to Nielsen. (And, of course, critical support doesn’t hurt.) The renewal means that The Americans can now go on to dramatize arguably the most important event in 1980s U.S.-Soviet relations: Billy Joel’s historic concerts in Moscow and Leningrad. If it has the guts.
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