Why six seasons is enough for The Americans

The Americans season 6 will be the show’s last, but that’s enough for the critically acclaimed drama to go out on its own terms.

When The Americans season 6 begins next year, it will also be the show’s final season. And that is just fine.

As much as we love the show and everyone involved in it, The Americans was never a series that was designed to go on forever. It’s telling a story about a very specific period in American history, and when that story is done, it’s time to go.

Stretching the Jenningses’ tale into the 90’s would just be strange. (Remember That 80’s Show? That’s what happens when you try to stretch a story too far.)

The series has a finite amount of story it can tell, and we’re getting to the end of that material as we speak. The arc of Paige (Holly Taylor) knowing her parents are spies has taken up a large part of two whole seasons, and will presumably be at least a portion of Season 6. It’s already gone on long enough, before we even get to the final season.

And then what? Would the show just repeat itself with Henry (Keidrich Sellati) finding out the truth as well? How long could Stan (Noah Emmerich) really live next door without catching on? How long does Philip (Matthew Rhys) have to dig into his childhood? There’s only so much more that the show can do with where it’s currently settled.

The writing is also on the wall from a business perspective. The Americans has had a very tough time in the ratings this year, hitting series lows. Multiple Season 5 episodes were well past the low point of Season 4, and ratings have been declining for a little bit now.

Whether that’s because people are losing interest or the competition is getting tougher, who knows, but the show just isn’t bringing in eyeballs like it used to. As we pointed out this week, the current numbers are a far cry from what the series used to command in its first season.

With FX having moved on and developing newer series (the recent Legion, Feud and American Crime Story, plus the upcoming Snowfall), our show is now the old hand of the network. And at least in the ratings it’s showing its age.

At least by going out with Season 6 and knowing that season will be the end, the show gets to tell its own story and plan out its ending instead of being prematurely cancelled. It leaves when all the major actors are still part of the show, instead of many series that lose main cast members over the years and have to write past them.

And most importantly it’s going to go out when it’s finally getting the awards recognition that it deserves. The Americans came, saw, conquered and there’s nothing more an audience could ask of it, so it’s the best course to let it end while it’s still on top.

The Americans season 6 will begin on FX in 2018. You can catch up on the first five seasons of The Americans by clicking here.