Remote Possibilities: Not-so-idle 'Americans'

Richard Thomas plays an FBI supervisor in FX's "The Americans"

One of the great pleasures of this first season of FX's '80s spy drama "The Americans" has been the opportunity to see Richard Thomas somewhere other than the Hallmark Channel.

Wednesday's episode -- the next-to-the-last of the season -- features plenty of face time for the former "John Boy" Walton, who plays FBI agent Frank Gaad. It also includes  the return of Caspar Weinberger's clock, which fans of the show may recall as having been bugged earlier this year.

The late defense secretary remains offscreen, but his wife is briefly a character in the show. For those who wonder about the real Jane Weinberger, who died in 2009 at the age of 91, Wikipedia reports that she published more than a dozen books, many of them for children, but omits mention of any incident involving a clock planted in her home by Russian spies. (Go figure.)

On this final night before May(ish) sweeps begin, there isn't much new on the broadcast networks beyond Fox's "American Idol" and CBS' "Survivor,"  but you may also want to check out:

-- "Nova" (9 p.m., WHYY 12). "Australia's First 4 Billion Years: Monsters." "Come face-to-face with the previously unknown reptilian rulers of prehistoric Australia," says PBS, which sweetens the deal a little with the mention of the duck-billed platypus, which might be my favorite duck-billed mammal ever.

-- "Duck Dynasty" (10 p.m., A&E). Because the show is for some reason going to Hawaii. Which, if it were actually the sitcom some assume it is, probably wouldn't happen for another couple of seasons.





Read more Ellen Gray on Television