Last night I had the pleasure of getting to view an advanced screening of the season finale of "The Americans".
I LOVED IT!
I usually don't watch the season finale of a television series if I have not actually watched the whole season. Unfortunately, I don't have cable and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was holding a free screening last night. One of the perks of being a member of SAG-AFTRA is the variety of free or low cost industry events. Most of these events are held at the main office in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles. However, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is in the NoHo Arts District and a few blocks from my apartment. How could I refuse? When my friend Theresa called with an extra ticket I said what the hell, let's do it!. I am not "Mr. Industry Networker" but I figured this would at least get me out and about on a Friday night.
The evening was sponsored by F/X Network (We were all asked not to give away any secrets so there will be no spoilers to ruin your viewing experience!)
I fell in love with the show. Set it the 80's, the series deals with Russian spies living in America as an everyday married couple with two kids as they do their thing during the COLD WAR. I was intrigued, partially because everything was new to me but the acting was stellar and the story lines were intelligently thought out. I actually plan to pick up the Season 1 dvd when it is available so I can catch up.
The best part of the evening was, surprisingly, the panel discussion with the creators and some of the cast. The leads of the cast are Mathew Rhys and Keri Russell. Keri was in Canada taping an upcoming "Planet of The Apes" movie but sent a clip to say hello and apologize for her absence. Matthew stole the night! I was always a fan of Matthew Rhys from his days on the ABC series "Brothers and Sisters". This character he plays, in "The Americans" is compelling and his chemistry with Keri Russell is apparent. We soon discovered he is also amazingly funny. He had the audience in the palm of his hands with his Welsh charm and razor sharp wit. Another member of the cast, Margo Martindale, who plays Claudia on the series was not only funny in real life but riveting on screen. Margo is an amazing character actress who I fell in love with while watching her sweet and moving portrayal of a lonely middle aged tourist in "Paris, Je T'Aime".
Panel discussions are often hit or miss. They could be thought-provoking or boring as hell. For a series that is so dramatic and serious in it's tone, the cast kept the audience in stitches for the entire panel discussion. You could not help but enjoy yourself.
I may need to check out a few more of these free screening events. The opportunity to ask questions of the creators on their creative vision and the actors on their process is valuable on its own, but to be able to view high quality film and television screenings for free in an industry setting can't be beat. It may also help me get over my issues with "networking" that I have on my list of business responsibilities I need to improve. Sounds like a plan.
Sittons. I went home happy and even found a new series worth checking out for both the entertainment value as well as a resource for studying good acting.
A full night and I still woke up in time for my 7 am run in Griffith Park. I couldn't ask for anything more!