After a strong premiere in which it seemed like it could become a new cable drama superpower, FX’s The Americans crumbled in its second week, dropping from 3.22 million viewers to just 1.97 million—a decline of nearly 40 percent. As Deadline points out, that’s far more viewers lost than, for example, American Horror Story, a show that the 1980s spy series had initially bested in its debut, but which suffered only a 23 percent fall-off in its second week. Of course, it’s obviously too soon to say that the show is in trouble, and some decline is normal as a new series stabilizes to find its true audience, etc. But to put it in Soviet Union terms, it’s as though the first episode was the beginning of the prosperous Brezhnev Era, a time of soaring growth and optimism, while the second episode rapidly skipped ahead to the Chernobyl disaster. Hopefully this isn’t a prelude to it becoming a sloshed Boris Yeltsin, stumbling outside in his underwear to get some pizza.
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