<p>The Americans</p>

The Americans

Credit: FX

'The Americans' producers: 'We're thinking about a long story that we're telling'

Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg on weather, Paige vs. Henry, Margo Martindale and the series' endgame

From its first season to its second, FX’s “The Americans” went from being a very good drama to one of the very best things on television, a show I ultimately ranked #2 overall for 2014. I’ve seen the first four episodes of the third season, which debuts tomorrow night at 10, and while there hasn’t been a comparable huge leap in quality, the show also hasn’t backslid at all. The start of the new season feels very much of a piece with season 2, pushing forward the storyline about Philip and Elizabeth being ordered by the KGB to recruit their daughter Paige to be an asset, and finding creative new ways to portray the brutality of the spy trade in the early ‘80s. (There’s a scene early in next week’s second episode that you may need to “watch” from behind the couch.)

On an unseasonably warm day early last month, I paid a visit to the Brooklyn soundstages that play home to the show, where controlled chaos was the order of the day. They were simultaneously filming scenes from four different episodes; when I spoke with Matthew Rhys, he wondered if they were perhaps setting a record for cable drama production. Over the course of the day, I got to interview Rhys, Keri Russell, Holly Taylor, the show’s hair and makeup people, and showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. Look for the Taylor interview tomorrow and Rhys, Russell and the hair and makeup people in later weeks, as some of what we discussed involves spoilers for upcoming episodes.

I had a good stretch of time to speak with Weisberg and Fields about the logistics of production — including how the first two seasons were impacted by, respectively, Hurricane Sandy and the polar vortex(*) — how they try to incorporate real events (and real TV footage) from the period into the show, why they’re yet another cable family drama where the teen daughter has a lot to do and the teen son doesn’t, early thoughts on the series' endgame, and a lot more.

(*) While the show had to that point dealt with a mild winter, it feels appropriate that this interview is publishing on the morning of Snowmageddon 2015, which forced the cancellation of last night's red carpet season 3 premiere, and at least temporarily shut down production... again. Ah well; as Weisberg and Fields note below, it'll probably lead to some gorgeous footage.

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Ask Alan, Episode 5: Can '24' be reinvented like cartoons?
Credit: Warner Bros.

Ask Alan, Episode 5: Can '24' be reinvented like cartoons?

And will a network like CBS go online-only anytime soon?

Happy Monday, boys and girls! Dan is still at Sundance, which means no podcast this week (we recorded both a podcast and a video show special while we were together in LA). So while the bulk of the HitFix staff is off in Park City, I figured I would record a new edition of Ask Alan — albeit a bit more lo-fi than usual, since the impending northeast blizzard meant I was working from home and using my iPhone instead of the usual camera.

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<p>Mad Dogs</p>

Mad Dogs

Credit: Amazon

'Mad Dogs' producer Shawn Ryan on his Amazon pilot

If Amazon orders a series, how will it differ from the UK version?

Amazon released its latest batch of pilots a couple of weeks ago, in the midst of press tour, so it took me a while to get to them, and I still haven’t had time to watch “Point of Honor.” But I saw all the other adult scripted series, and two clearly stood out as the ones I hope go to series: “The Man in the High Castle,” about a reality where the Axis powers won WWII, and “Mad Dogs,” about four middle-aged friends (played by Steve Zahn, Romany Malco, Michael Imperioli and Ben Chaplin) whose vacation to visit a fifth old pal (Billy Zane) goes terribly awry. Both are adaptations with top-notch U.S. producers involved: “Man in the High Castle” with Frank Spotnitz working from the Philip K. Dick novel, “Mad Dogs” with Shawn Ryan teaming up with “Mad Dogs” UK creator Cris Cole.

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<p>Shameless</p>

Shameless

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Shameless' - 'The Two Lisas'

Sheila and Mandy consider moving on, Fiona enjoys some music, and Debbie throws a party

A review of tonight's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I play you something worth dying over...

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<p>Girls</p>

Girls

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Girls' - 'Female Author'

Adam and Jessa become 12-step pals, Marnie and Desi fight, and Shosh interviews for a job

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I Google the one month where Woody Harrelson and Glenn Close were a couple...

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<p>Brooklyn Nine-Nine</p>

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Credit: FOX

Review: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - 'The Defense Rests'

Eva Longoria, Chris Parnell and more stop by a guest star-heavy episode

A quick review of tonight's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" coming up just as soon as I guess how tall you are in eggrolls...

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<p>Better Call Saul creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan</p>

Better Call Saul creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan

Credit: AMC

'Better Call Saul!' creators: 'It was not just a joke, but a potentially good idea.'

Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould on the long, strange journey of the 'Breaking Bad' prequel

As I said in my review of AMC’s “Better Call Saul!” I approached the “Breaking Bad” prequel with some skepticism about whether it could work, before ultimately being pleased with the first three episodes. Two other men who had deep and long-lasting concerns about the viability of the project? That would be “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan and producer Peter Gould, who wrote the episode that introduced Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman.

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<p>Banshee</p>

Banshee

Credit: Cinemax

Review: 'Banshee' - 'A Fixer of Sorts'

Nola and Burton have a ridiculous battle, and Hood travels by truck

A quick review of tonight's "Banshee" coming up just as soon as I grab that hood ornament...

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<p>Parenthood</p>

Parenthood

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parenthood' - 'We Made It Through the Night'

Zeek makes a decision about his health, Adam and Crosby fight, and Sarah and Amber duet

A review of tonight's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I have my second wedding at a volcano...

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<p>Melissa Benoist</p>

Melissa Benoist

Credit: AP

CBS' 'Supergirl' casts 'Glee' alum Melissa Benoist

How will the 'Whiplash' co-star do as the DC Comics' heroine?

CBS has its "Supergirl" star, and it's... "Glee" alum Melissa Benoist?

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