Beware: ‘The Americans’ may ambush the Emmys

There’s a fascinating nomination on the list released today by the Television Critics AssociationMatthew Rhys (“The Americans“) as one of the five award contenders for Best Individual Achievement in Drama. That means he got hailed above Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards“), Billy Bob Thornton (“Fargo“), Claire Danes (“Homeland”), James Spader (“The Blacklist“) and Woody Harrelson (“True Detective“).

Such lofty recognition for “The Americans” makes us wonder why the FX series doesn’t get more Emmy nominations. Obviously, it deserves the kudos, according to many TV critics who give the second season an impressive 88 score at Metacritic.

“This is the brightest and best young series on television,” crows Andy Greenwald of Grantland. Adds James Poniewozik of Time: “I’d consider ‘The American’ the best season of TV I’ve seen so far in 2014, and it will take some work for another show to displace it.” Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter calls it “one of television’s finest dramas.”

Season two just ended with a wallop of a twist that wowed viewers. We thought we knew, roughly speaking, who killed a family in a hotel room months ago: one of the typical shadowy soldiers in the Moscow vs. Washington D.C. skullduggery. But, no. The truth turns out to be a shockeroo that’s thrilling as plot turns go. And it sets up a terrifying cliffhanger for the next season: Could Matthew Rhys’ and Keri Russell‘s kids become the next casualties of Cold War?

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Last year “The Americans” just missed out being nominated for Best Drama Series at the Emmys, according to Gold Derby’s predictions. It ranked seventh in a six-show race. Ditto for Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich in the acting contests. However, we did forecast a nom for Keri Russell, who ended up getting snubbed. We correctly foresaw the bid for Margo Martindale in the guest-acting slot. The only other Emmy nomination “The Americans” received was for main title theme music.

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So how will it do this year? Watch out: “The Americans” could ambush the Emmys in most major categories. It might be the next “Seinfeld” or “Everybody Loves Raymond” – a TV series that didn’t get discovered by voters until after its first season.

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