Ya know, this television thing is getting good. What's it taken, fifty, sixty years?
The Americans finished up recently and I finished watching it last night. Damn I love a good espionage story. There are so few of them. I think the trick is, it takes a long time to tell a story about spies. Movies can't quite do it. It takes novels, comics or television, but movies seem to try it more often than anyone else.
The other trick is, what makes a good spy story isn't what the spy is doing, but what it takes to be a spy.
The Americans digs so deeply into the complexities of being a decent person who has to do terrible things, presumably for a greater good, but a greater good that is awfully far away. There is no character in the show that doesn't break your hearty a little.
The story takes five season. It ends, because stories end, but it ends the way chapters of a life end. The lives of all involved have to keep going the way real lives do. We endure the past while facing an uncertain future, wondering if we did the right thing.
It makes me want to write a spy story. I'm not sure I have the ability. I don't have a particularly deep understanding of international politics, and what I do know keeps me up at night, so maybe that won't happen.
In any case, stop reading this and go watch The Americans if you haven't already. I kind of have to re-watch it. Spy stuff always has lots of little details I miss the first time around, so I spend a good amount of time not really knowing what's going on, but liking it anyway. Much like the rest of my life.
Hmm. If you miss the Americans you might want to check out a comic series (It's been published as collections too) called Queen and Country. It won an Eisner award and it too is a great spy story.