I'm soooo down for 'Rubicon'

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm soooo down for 'Rubicon'

Following June 13th's third season finale of "Breaking Bad," Cable AMC quietly plopped in an episode of a new series, "Rubicon."

Perhaps unprecedented in television-land, it was a real deal "sneak preview," i.e., it was unannounced.

This proved to be a very effective strategy on AMC's part as it instantly hooked me as well as a whole slew of profes­sion­al TV watchers who either stumbled onto it, or were tipped off.

A sampling: IGN and New York Times... and both reviewers not only share many of my sen­sibilities, but references as well.

I've always been a sucker for the inexplicable and sinister... the first color season (fifth over­all) of "The Avengers" (even though it was played with a light touch and its main appeal was Diana Rigg in her black leather fighting suit... wuff!), and 1974's "The Parallax View," one of the best conspiracy/paranoia films ever made.

(On the way home from seeing it at the old SunWave Twin that Sunday evening in September 1974, on the radio Presi­dent Gerald Ford was announcing his pardon of Richard Nixon... I had to pull over near the William Floyd Parkway to walk around the car several times, the hair on the back of my neck erect.)

That preview of "Rubicon" played again last evening, and it was no less compelling this time as it had been six weeks earlier.

Words like "moody" and "enigmatic" only begin to describe the pilot episode about an emotionally isolated young intelligence analyst whose wife and daughter were awaiting his joining them atop one of the Towers when the first skyjacked jetliner struck.

Like Robert Redford's title role in "Three Days of the Condor," while toiling at his job at New York City's Ameri­can Policy Institute, a federal intelligence agency masquerad­ing as a research center, "Will Travers" (James Badge Dale) seems to uncover some disturbing clues and patterns con­cealed in crossword puzzles of four separate newspapers.

When he shares his troubling discoveries with his co-worker, mentor and father-in-law (Peter Gerety), the man thanks him and disinterest­edly mumbles that he'll "look into it."

The look on the man's face, however, suggests that he's learned that the end of days is nigh.

After passing the information onto his own boss (Arliss Howard) and in response to a direct question says that no one else is aware of the linked puzzles, the very next morning the father-in-law is killed, with a score of others, in a terrible passenger train "accident."

Though that occurred in the middle of the pilot, I was already scrambling to set the DVR to assure no future episodes might be missed.

I love it... the tone of the script, the develop­ing tension of the direction, and the enigma of it all.

AMC officially launches "Rubicon" this Sunday as it repeats the pilot at 8:00 pm and shows Episode 2 in its regular slot at 9:00 pm.

Yeah!, I'm down... for the duration.


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