June 20, 2010

THE VIEWER WOULD FEEL BETTER KNOWING THE FINAL EPISODE HAD BEEN WRITTEN:

Rubicon taps into the conspiracy TV treasure trove (Ryan Lattanzio, 6/15/10, SF Bay Guardian)

Series creator and writer Jason Horwitch makes Rubicon feel strangely familiar and entirely American in linking Will to September 11. The hysteria—and paranoia—of post-9/11 America is deftly portrayed in the passing of suspicious notes, mysterious phone calls, and train crashes. These tropes might feel tired elsewhere, but here they are fresh and rather chilling. Quickly we realize Will would probably dig something like that YouTube viral documentary sensation Zeitgeist.

Rubicon is a thriller steeped in a paranoid urban milieu -- the city is the devil’s playground and it’s best to keep your head in the sand. Yet Will Travers, the kind of guy who shares tea and secrets with strangers after dark, is obsessed by the unexplained deaths of his code-cracking cohorts and isn’t willing to stay shut up about it.

Despite subtle, tightly-wound character development, Rubicon's pilot feels like watching a show for the first time in the middle of its season. There’s little to learn from the pilot, but its ambiguity is in the sly interest of bating the audience to come back. What you can see is promising, yet what exactly the series is about remains unclear. So far, it seems to focus on over-educated, conspiracy-crazed geeks who love intrigue and find espionage in the same way you might find shapes in the clouds: they're there if you’re looking for them.

Regardless of its opacity (and that’s always a good thing in the end, right Lost fans?), Rubicon is poised to be another sparkling gem in the dark trove of AMC treasures that have made recent cable so fascinating and so...adult.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 20, 2010 6:53 PM
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