Remember the days of ABC’s Alias, when all Jennifer Garner needed to spy was a great wig, the latest technology, and a hereditary gift for defeating any opponent mentally or physically? It’s been almost ten years since the series ended (and creator, J.J. Abrams, has had a few other projects since) but that tradition isn’t completely lost. FX’s The Americans, which returns this March, takes a more grounded in reality (if not personal reality) approach to this very scenario.
Yet in the latest crop of TV spy dramas, spying is anything but the natural career path of the protagonists featured. Rather, it is a career path that gets thrust upon them when their lives take an unexpected turn… towards espionage and secrets. These characters don’t want to be spies and, once upon a time, TV would’ve agreed with their unfitness. Instead, today they stand as beacons for the everyman and woman who’s always dreamt of becoming the next James Bond. A job in spying has never seemed more tangible. The question is: will you still want to be one after watching these two entertaining, mortal shows?