'Allegiance' Vs. 'The Americans': All The Ways These Shows Are Different... And Exactly The Same

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When NBC airs a drama this Thursday night about a seemingly all-American family where mommy and daddy are actually covert Russians spies, you'll be forgiven for thinking for a moment that the network is airing reruns of The Americans. After all, Allegiance does bear many striking similarities to FX's critically acclaimed Cold War drama series. The comparisons are inescapable, as evidenced by the multiple times The Americans is mentioned in every single review of Allegiance . "To get the obvious out of the way, the new NBC drama Allegiance clearly suffers from cable envy. [...] The basic Russian-moles-among-us plot sounds an awful lot like FX's Cold War homage The Americans ," says Variety's Brian Lowry.

These comparisons don't tend to be kind. The Denver Post: "If there were no The Americans on FX, then Allegiance on NBC would be a welcome new drama. But there is, so it isn’t, since there are so many quality dramas vying for attention these days." Cleveland.com: "One might be tempted to categorize Allegiance as The Americans -lite, because that's pretty much what is. The NBC newcomer doesn't have its cable cousin's depth in cast or storytelling." SFGate.com: "It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the success of the FX drama The Americans has begotten imitators — that’s the natural order of things in television. What’s rarely clear, though, is why the imitations rarely seem as interesting as the originals."

So what are the differences between Allegiance and The Americans? Are they really so similar? Or are these comparisons just scratching the surface? Does Allegiance deserve to stand on its own merits? Or should it be taken to task for so blatantly capitalizing on a successful show? Let's compare and contrast The Americans with what we know about Allegiance so far to determine whether or not it's really worth our time.

Image: NBCUniversal

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