Spy drama The Americans was the surprise winner of the major prize at the 5th annual Critics' Choice TV Awards on Sunday, beating out rivals Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black and Empire to score best drama series.

The AmericansMatthew Rhys stars in The Americans

Elsewhere, Silicon Valley was voted the best comedy series over rivals Mom, Broad City and Veep, while in the acting categories, Taraji P. Henson received the award for best actress for Empire and Bob Odenkirk took home the award for best actor in a drama series for Better Call Saul. Jeffry Tambor was named best actor in a comedy series for Amazon Prime's Transparent, while Amy Schumer took home the award for best actress in a comedy series for Inside Amy Schumer.

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Set during the Cold War period in the 1980s, The Americans follows Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), two KGB officers posing as an American married couple in the suburbs of Washington D.C with their unsuspecting children and their neighbour Stan Beeman - an FBI counterintelligence agent.

Over its three seasons, the show has received widespread critical acclaim and it regularly named as one of the greatest shows on television.

Of its third season, Vox's Todd VanDerWerff said: "The Americans is also the best show on television, by a fair amount...The show now has the best of its first season - when Philip and Elizabeth were often at odds -blended with the best of its remarkable second--when the two found common cause but discovered that made them less effective spies"

The Critics' Choice Awards are voted on by members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, representing 300 radio, TV and online critics in the U.S and Canada. 

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