FX Announces Premiere Date For Cold War Spy Series, ‘The Americans’

Via Press Release:

FX NETWORK’S NEWEST DRAMA THE AMERICANS PREMIERES

JANUARY 30 

Cold War Spy Drama Starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys

Will Air Wednesday Nights At 10pm

 

FX logoNEW YORK, December 4, 2012 – The series premiere of FX’s newest drama, The Americans, has been set forWednesday, January 30, 2013 at 10pm ET/PT.

The Americans is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President.  The arranged marriage of Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell), who have two children – 13-year-old Paige (Holly Taylor) and 10-year-old Henry (Keidrich Sellati), who know nothing about their parents’ true identity – 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 spies and informants under their control.   Complicating their relationship further is Philip’s growing sense of affinity for America’s values and way of life. Tensions also heighten upon the arrival of a new neighbor, Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent.  Stan and his partner, Agent Chris Amador (Maximiliano Hernández), are members of a new division of Counterintelligence tasked with fighting against foreign agents on U.S. soil, including KGB Directorate S illegals, Russian spies posing as Americans.

Created and executive produced by Joe Weisberg (Falling Skies), a former CIA agent who went on to become an accomplished author, The Americans is produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Productions. Joel Fields and Graham Yost are also executive producers, along with Amblin Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. 

About FX Productions

FX Productions co-produces the award-winning hit drama series Sons Of Anarchy and Justified, and produces the critically acclaimed hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny In PhiladelphiaThe LeagueLouieArcherWilfred, the upcoming comedy Legit, and the late night series BrandX with Russell Brand and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. FXP currently has production output deals in place with RCG Productions, the production company of It’sAlways Sunny In Philadelphia Executive Producer/Showrunners Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton, and Floyd County Productions, the production company of Archer Executive Producer/Showrunners Adam Reed and Matt Thompson. FXP recently announced a cable exclusive, first-look pact with Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and their Color Force production company, producers of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid feature franchise and The Hunger Games.

It was the first POD deal for FX Productions that was not established through a prior existing relationship with the studio.

Tom Hardy On Board For ‘Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell’ Film Adaptation

Things are taking off right now for video game software giant Ubisoft and Tom Hardy.  Just last month we reported that Michael Fassbender had been recently tapped to star in the film adaptation of the popular Ubisoft video game series Assassin’s Creed, and in November, it’s finally been announced that Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell will be hitting the big screen, as well, with Tom Hardy cast in what can only assumed to be the role of the series’ main protagonist, the gruff super-spy/assassin, Sam Fisher (voiced by fan-favorite, Michael Ironside in the games). Eric Warren Singer (The International) will pen the script.

Hardy, who you can’t back out of your driveway without seeing nowadays, has been one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood for the past couple of years with hits such as Warrior, LawlessThis Means WarInception, and of course, he was the main villain Bane in this summer’s blockbuster finale to the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises will be assuming the iconic SciFi role made famous by Mel Gibson in Mad max: Fury Road which will be released next summer.  He’s a perfect fit for the role of Sam Fisher and like Fassbender, he brings a level of credibility to the project that video game-adaptations have often lacked.  To put it simply, if it’s going to be crap, he wouldn’t attach his name to it, because he doesn’t need to the paycheck.  As exciting as the addition of Hardy is, it also can’t be understated how cool the addition of Warren is.  If you’ve seen The International you know that this guy can certainly write a spy-thriller in his sleep.

Jean-Julien Baronnet, chief executive officer, Ubisoft Motion Pictures:

“Tom Hardy is one of the biggest talents in the film industry, and he has a phenomenal ability to take on complex and varied roles with his broad range of acting skills. His involvement in the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell movie is exciting news for movie and video game fans alike. In addition, Eric Singer is one of the most talented writers today. We’re confident he’ll bring a fresh approach and create a thrilling story for the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell movie, while still respecting all the codes and traditions of the franchise that are so important to fans.”

More Casualties of Fall 2010: ‘Undercovers’ (NBC) & ‘The Whole Truth’ (ABC) Cancelled

In two moves that were really shocking to no one, two new dramas, the J.J. Abrams series Undercovers and the Jerry Bruckheimer series, The Whole Truth have been cancelled.  Actually, to put it more accurately, The Whole Truth was cancelled outright and NBC just did not order any more episodes of Undercovers effectively cancelling the series.

I’m not surprised at all that TWT wasn’t received well by audiences.  As noted in my review of the show, it really had nothing going for it that made it stand out above any other courtroom procedurals and what made it worse is that it was a poor rip-off of another failed Bruckheimer show, Justice (2006). 

Undercovers, on the other hand… well, I’m very surprised that it failed so miserably with audiences.  It was a lot like Alias with a much lighter tone to it.  I thought it worked.  It’s unfortunate that we have to see it go.

So, there you have it… two more new dramas down.  Who will be next?

Watch full episodes of The Whole Truth, here

Watch full episodes of Undercovers, here.

‘Undercovers’ (NBC – Wednesday, 8:00 p.m.)

From acclaimed writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek,” “Fringe,” “Lost,” “Alias”) and executive producer/writer Josh Reims (“Brothers and Sisters,” “What About Brian”) comes a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world’s most dangerous partnership.

Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Vacation,” “Soul Food,” “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Dr. Who,” “Bonekickers”), are a typical married couple who own and operate a small catering company in Los Angeles – with help from Samantha’s easily frazzled handful of a sister, Lizzy (Mekia Cox, “90210,” “This Is It”). Secretly, the duo were two of the best spies the CIA had ever known, until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired.

When fellow spy and good friend Leo Nash (Carter MacIntyre, “American Heiress,” “Nip/Tuck”) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss and agency liaison, Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood,” “Jericho”), to locate and rescue Nash.

With assistance from resourceful CIA field agent Bill Hoyt (Ben Schwartz, “Parks and Recreation,” “Bronx World Travelers”), whose professional admiration for Steven isn’t hard to miss, the pair is thrust back into the world of espionage, disguises and hand-to-hand combat.

Following leads that take them to cities spanning the globe, Steven and Samantha quickly realize that perhaps this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides exactly the kind of excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing. – NBC

The Preview (originally posted on 9/17/2010)

Shawn:     Wow.  There is not a whole lot more to say about Undercovers than that.  J.J. Abrams has done it again and NBC has proven again that they have gone from being the worst network on TV to perhaps the best.  Do we really have to see even see one episode to be sure that this show is going to be great?  The answer is a resounding, “no.”  You’ve got a great cast with some actual chops, a relationship that I truly believe and care about from just the trailer and non-stop, J.J. Abrams-style action and spy-goodness that makes this show another moral imperative.

The Review:

8.5 out of 10

As I noted in the preview, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Undercovers than “wow.” Seriously, if it’s action, Sci Fi or mystery and J.J. Abrams is attached to it you can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be fantastic. It’s akin to when Martin Scorcese’s name is attached to projects about organized crime or if Stephen Spielberg’s name is attached to a project about World War II. We know what these greats do best and Abrams is establishing himself as one of the greats in both Film and TV.

Undercovers is no exception. It’s an exciting adventure from beginning to end on every episode. Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw have excellent chemistry and both play the role of the domesticated spy perfectly.  They both carry themselves with an air of sexiness that both male and female audiences can appreciate. 

The supporting cast is fantastic and all provide differing levels of comic relief to lighten up the episodes.  Gerald McRaney is their C.I.A. handler who’s supportive (albeit a little crotchety and annoyed by them at times) but who knows more about their reinstatement than he’s letting on. Carter McIntyre as the fellow agent who keeps it light with his sense of humor and wise-cracks and Bill Hoyt is the quirky, eager mission contact who provides the duo with operational support and can speak nine languages. He’s also an uber-fanboy of Steven and to Steven’s dismay, Hoyt has no shame about constantly reminding him of that.

The action and the fight scenes are great, the production values are fantastic with excellent CG that actually convinces you that you are in multiple foreign locales during every episode as opposed to watching scenes against an obvious green-screen backdrop, and most of all the character interaction and stories are compelling.

Undercovers is like watching a feature film every week and I look forward to many more adventures with the Blooms.

Watch full episodes of Undercovers, here.

Fall 2010 TV Preview – Fridays

Part Five of the Seven Six Part Series (This has been edited because  I realized that there’s nothing on Saturdays but College Football, COPS and America’s Most Wanted.  Do you really need a review of those?)

8:00 p.m.

The CW:     Smallville (September 24, 2010)

Vic: The final season of Smallville begins this fall and we have Clark Kent finally on the cusp of eventually becoming what he is destined to become: Superman… the ‘Man of Steel.’ This season is what we Smallville fans all have been waiting nine years for. We have all hung in there through some exceptional stories, heart-wrenching losses, great heroes and villians and now it would appear that the baddest of the bad is coming to Smallville: Darkside is looking to take over our planet it seems that Clark will have no choice now but to jump into those tights that Mrs. Kent has been saving for him all these years… or does Lois have them now? That is why you must tune in and continue hanging in with what has been one of the most enduring Sci-Fi, Fantasy Dramas in recent TV memory. Smallville still has the chops. The performances are still great all the way around. Tom Welling still proves that season after season he can command every scene he is in and even in lighter moments he shows us an endearing and clumsy side. Erica Durance as Lois is quick, sharp and she has range. She proves that she has mettle as Lois up against Welling’s Clark. I can’t say enough about Allison Mack as Chloe. I just can’t wait to see how this all turns out this season. I for one hope to see the big guy finally fly and soar this season and hope you all watch as well.

Watch full length episodes of Smallville, here.

FOX:     Human Target (October 1, 2010)

In this drama based on a graphic novel of the same name, Mark Valley plays Christopher Chance, a for-hire bodyguard and private investigator who integrates himself into his clients’ lives so that he becomes a target instead of them. Assuming a new identity for each job, Chance relies on the help of his associates Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley), but he can’t outrun his past — or the secrets driving his odd choice of work. -FOX

Shawn: Alright, so this is a little out of the norm because I normally don’t put show descriptions in with previews of returning shows.  I’ve made the exception with Human Target because I think it’s a show that too many people are unaware of because it was a mid-season replacement last year and unfortunately, FOX will most likely kill it by putting it on Friday night where they put all shows to die.  I cover this sad state of affairs in my column regarding the changing network attitudes towards Friday night prime-time and how FOX is, as usual up to the same old bag of tricks (read it here).  So, it’s basically like this: I am on a crusade for the critically acclaimed Human Target because it was one of the best new shows on television last year and needs everyone’s support.

The description is a little misleading.  Chance doesn’t just have a mysterious past, he’s a former freelance assassin who was a really bad dude, completely amoral who had a seminal moment in his life that made him reevaluate his own personal morality and vow to use his skills to protect people from now on.  It’s a fast-paced action show based on the DC Comics Graphic Novel and  they couldn’t have picked anyone better for this role of Christopher Chance than Mark Valley as the dashing yet compassionate former assassin (…and I’m just thrilled to see that Mark Valley finally has regular gig!).  The supporting cast is fantastic with Chi McBride (Boston Public, The Nine) as Winston, the gruff, former San Francisco police detective who works with Chance to keep him ahead of the game and regularly uses his connections from the old job to help Chance on his missions.  Then you have the other, more mysterious and far more deadly Guerrero, played by Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, A Nightmare on Elm Street) who is a hi-tech wizard and a former associate of Chance’s in his prior profession but unlike Chance, really hasn’t had a change of heart, he’s just helping out an old buddy, but he does have a very strict personal moral code that abides by religiously.

Great action, unique stories, wonderfully written and compelling characters are the hallmarks of this show.  I highly recommend that you set time aside on Friday for Human Target (or at least Divver it).

Watch full episodes of Human Target, here.

ABC:     Body of Proof (Later this Fall – TBD)

Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) was in a class of her own, a brilliant neurosurgeon at the top of her game. Her world is turned upside down when a devastating car accident puts an end to her time in the operating room. Megan resumes her career as a medical examiner determined to solve the puzzle of who or what killed the victims. Megan’s instincts are sharp, but she’s developed a reputation for graying the lines of where her job ends and where the police department’s begins. It turns out her career isn’t the only thing that will need to be rebuilt; Megan’s family has taken a backseat to her ambition, and now she’ll discover there’s a lot of work to do when it comes to dissecting her relationships with the living. – ABC

Shawn: If it hasn’t become abundantly clear by now, I really dislike procedurals in general.  It doesn’t matter if it’s police, law, medical, detective… whatever, I really have no use for them.  And it’s not that this show looks particularly awful, because it doesn’t.  It’s just the same thing I’ve seen time and again which is also one of the big reasons I have no use for sit-coms.  There’s just no originality in any of these programs and with the incredible batch of new shows that have come out this season, it’s not like there is a lack of originality in Hollywood, it’s just not being utilized enough.

What bugs me the most is that the procedurals don’t have to be unoriginal.  Hollywood producers  and execs choose to go that route because it’s safe and easy to pitch to advertisers and the general viewing audience.  For example, NCIS is by definition a procedural, but it’s still a good show because of how original it always has been.  Body of Proof doesn’t have anything resembling an original premise.  Not even the title is original, which like most procedurals and sitcoms reverts to the use of cringe-worthy “clever”  double-meanings for phrases and words to convey a commonly known phrase to attract the audience’s attention, e.g., House, The Whole Truth, Outlaw, Grey’s Anatomy, Rules of Engagement, Raising Hope, Running Wilde, The Biggest Loser, Bones and Blue Bloods.  That’s just from this Fall.  I didn’t even mention the stupidest one of all, HawthoRNe (well… now I have).  This show literally is a hybrid of Quincy, Crossing Jordan, CSI, House and Everwood.  Like I said, Body of Proof doesn’t look awful, and it does have a good cast, but it just looks ordinary.

FOX:     The Good Guys (September 24, 2010)

From Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”), comes THE GOOD GUYS, a new action comedy about what happens when an old-school cop and a modern-day detective expose the big picture of small crime.

Once upon the 1970s, DAN STARK (Bradley Whitford) and his partner, Frank Savage, were big-shot Dallas detectives. So big, in fact, that they were lauded as American heroes after saving the Governor’s son. Thirty years later, Dan Stark is a washed-up detective who spends most of his time drunk or re-hashing his glory days. A stranger to modern police work who would much rather trust his old-school police instincts, Dan has the reputation as being a bit of a wild card. Able to skate by on the heroic deeds of his yesteryear, he is still a semi-active presence on the force, and with the help of his liquor of choice, occasionally comes through to solve a petty crime.

Dan’s new partner, JACK BAILEY (Colin Hanks), is an ambitious, by-the-book and overall good detective, but is sometimes a bit too snarky for his own good. His habit of undermining himself has earned him a dead-end position in the department, and he is stuck solving annoying petty theft cases that nobody else wants. Worse, he’s been given the thankless task of babysitting Dan, the drunk pariah who can never keep partners for long. Jack may not see it, but he has little chance of getting out of his situation; his knack for making enemies at the station has assured he is not going anywhere.

His only ally is ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY LIZ TRAYNOR (Jenny Wade), a quick witted former girlfriend whom Jack hasn’t quite gotten over and the one person he turns to for help with his current professional predicament. Until Jack finds his way out of this situation, he is stuck awaiting the day when he can turn everything around, get back to solving actual cases and return to being a real detective.

On one fairly typical day, as Jack and Dan are pursuing a Code 58, the Dallas police code for routine investigations, which puts them hot on the case of a stolen humidifier, they inadvertently become engaged in a shootout over a stolen golf bag belonging to a notorious drug smuggler. This starts Jack and Dan on a wild chase to retrieve the bag, recover the contents inside and go after the drug smuggler – all while dodging his hired assassin!

The excitement of the case reminds Dan of the way he and Frank busted punks back in the good old days, and he convinces Jack to go along for the ride. Needless to say, many departmental rules are again broken in the reckless pursuit, showing their boss, LIEUTENANT ANA RUIZ (Diana Maria Riva), that Jack and Dan will be spending many more days in the Property Crimes Division, assigned to investigate seemingly minor crimes in order to keep them out of major trouble.

Shawn: Yep, I broke the rule again about not posting show description in regards to returning shows (well… not technically as this is just a continuation of the first season that went on hiatus at the end of August.).  But again, like with Human Target, I have to do this to counteract FOX’s continued insanity regarding good shows left to die on Friday night.   For the point of brevity (and because copy and pasting is a helluva lot easier) here’s the skinny on how FOX is abusing this show as I mentioned in the same column that I discussed Human Target.

It’s not even remotely fair what they’re doing to The Good Guys even by FOX’s idiotic standards, premiering it on a Monday in the middle of May when all of the other shows are wrapping up, letting it run for nine episodes over the summer and then dumping it into Friday night because it didn’t catch fire fast enough for them.

Simple, but to the point… it’s the same standard operating procedure that they’ve used with Human Target and countless other shows.

Now that the rant is complete, I really like The Good Guys.  It is very funny and full of action and Hanks and Whitmore play off each other brilliantly.

Watch full episodes of The Good Guys, here.

10:00 p.m.

CBS:     Blue Bloods (September 24, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

­BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York City Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry, during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny, a seasoned detective, family man, and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin, is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family’s “golden boy;” however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop. Jamie’s life takes an abrupt turn when he’s asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family’s legacy.­ – CBS

Shawn: Blue Bloods is one of the most anticipated dramas this Fall for good reason.  Simply look at this cast.  Your leads are Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynihan… all television and film superstars (Len Cariou is no slouch either).  Superstars like that don’t just arbitrarily sign on to do a show if they don’t already know it’s brilliant.  The concept is definitely unique.  An original cop show that focuses on a multigenerational family of cops and all of the dynamics that go along with that.  I’m very excited about Blue Bloods.

Watch full episodes of Blue Bloods, here.

NBC:     Outlaw (September 17, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

Few jobs are guaranteed for a lifetime, and a Supreme Court appointment is a position that no one ever quits – unless he is Cyrus Garza (Smits). A playboy and a gambler, Justice Garza always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now, he’s quit the bench and returned to private practice.

Using his inside knowledge of the justice system, Garza and his team will travel across the country taking on today’s biggest and most controversial legal cases.

Garza’s team includes his best friend since childhood, Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey), a brilliant defense attorney with liberal beliefs; Mereta Stockman (Ellen Woglom), a hopeless romantic who is Garza’s loyal law clerk; Lucinda Pearl (Carly Pope), a wildly unorthodox private investigator who uses her sex appeal and wit to gather information for Garza; and Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford), a tightly wound, rabidly ambitious Yale-educated attorney, recently hired as Garza’s law clerk. – NBC

Shawn: I’ve already done a complete review for Outlaw, here.  It is by far the worst drama on television.

Watch full episodes of Outlawhere.