‘The Americans’ gets to end on its own terms with two-season final renewal

The Americans showrunners, Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, have been saying for a while that their FX spy drama – one of the very best shows on television – has maybe one or two more seasons’ worth of story left to tell. When I spoke with them earlier this year, in fact, they said they were starting to break the final arcs of the show, however long it took to let them play out.

Well, now we have our answer, as FX has renewed the show for two more seasons – a traditional 13-episode season next year, and a 10-episode one for 2018 – the latter of which will bring the story, and The Americans, to its conclusion.

“It’s hard to believe we’re heading into the final stretch on The Americans,” Fields and Weisberg said in a statement announcing the renewal, “and we”re so grateful to know we”ll be telling the story to its conclusion.”

The series has always drawn modest ratings, and never turned into the kind of awards magnet it should be (3 of the show’s 5 Emmy nominations – and its lone win – have gone to Margo Martindale for her recurring role as KGB handler Claudia), and in its early days, there seemed to be danger that the story wouldn’t get to play out to its conclusion. But FX boss John Landgraf has been very vocal for several years now that he wanted to let Fields and Weisberg wrap up the show on their own terms, whether that took five years or six. Whether that slightly shorter sixth season is a budgetary concession for a show that was never a huge hit, or the creative team realizing they don’t exactly have two full seasons worth of plot left, the show won’t leave its viewers hanging.

But just because the writers are getting a happy ending, doesn’t mean the characters will. As Weisberg put it in that mid-season conversation – echoing the words of their Russian technical advisor, Sergei Kostin – “Anything could happen at the end of the series. Look out. We’re hard men.”

What does everybody else think? Given where the story is now (an excellent new episode airs tonight at 10), do you feel like two seasons isn’t enough to wrap things up? Too much? Just right?