Channel Flippin'

Monday, November 15, 2010

Channel Flippin'

Updated 11/15/2010 – 05:40 pm

Cable AMC's "Rubicon" had me at the 15-minute mark of its sneak preview last June.

So it is with great dismay that I learn that the cable channel has decided not to re­new the series for a second season.

I had felt fairly optimistic about the show's chances three weeks ago, more so than did a cautious executive producer Henry Bromell:

"Bromell says that finale, fittingly titled, 'You Never Can Win,' gives the show much more drama to play in a second season, should the show be renewed."

"Nope!" said the powers who run AMC... little surprise that it tracks all the way back to the Dolans, those media moguls who conspired with Fox to deny every Cablevision subscriber Channels 5 and 9 for two weeks last month.

It's the same cable network which stayed with both "Mad Men" and the quirky "Breaking Bad" as they slowly de­veloped their audiences, but showed no such patience with "Rubicon."

I know what AMC said in its press release:

"Rubicon gave us an opportunity to tell a rich and compelling story, and we're proud of the series. This was not an easy decision,"

...but what could they really have been think­ing, that a show about zombies... freakin' zom­bies?! would better serve their viewers?

"The Walking Dead" where AMC is trying to do for Atlanta's zombies what HBO's "True Blood" is doing for vampires in rural Louisiana, has al­ready been renewed for a second season based on just the debut show.

Responding to news of the "Rubicon" cancella­tion, viewer Herbert Windel commented:

"I am saddened but not surprised. Any TV series on U.S. television that is more 'interesting' and requires a little bit of intelligence will have a very short run."

I concur... in its 13 episode run, I counted exactly two (2!) gun shots (the first of which was an off-screen suicide) and z-e-r-o chase sequences either on foot or by vehicle. The "chase scene" requirements were met by a handful of wonky brainiacs sitting in a room spit-balling random bits of seemingly unrelat­ed information at one another until a larger geo-political pattern emerged.

(I note with rue and irony that's how meaningful "intelligence" is developed!)

It wasn't an "action" show, but a cerebral series, moody and tension-filled, so it appears the bulk of American TV viewers are content with "boob-tube" fare.

Other shows untimely wrenched from view: HBO's "Deadwood" CBS' "EZ Streets," "Big Apple" and "Brooklyn South."

But "Rubicon" joins yet another CBS show, "Coronet Blue," (1967) at the only two series which were yanked before the "big whatis" was revealed!

Sadly, AMC/Rainbow Media seems intent on returning television to being the "vast waste­land" described by FCC Chairman Newton Min­now almost half a century ago.

On a separate issue... favorite television industry quote of the Millennium so far, courtesy of Pat Sajak:

"Mea Culpa: I put Keith Olbermann on national TV. I was the the person who introduced Keith Olbermann to America."

Lotta people out here... me! me! me!... aren't in a real forgiving mood, Pat, not where Olber­mann's involved!


1. Rob F. said...

And you can add to the list of shows-that-were-canceled-but-shouldn't-have-been the excellent BSG prequel "Caprica." But what else can we expect from what is probably the worst cable network: SyFy? They'd rather fill their prime-time lineup with schlock made-for-TV movies like "Sharktopus" ("A half-shark, half-octopus creates a whole lot of havoc in Mexico"). The channel is a parody if itself!

I thought you were kidding about "Sharktopus;" sounded like a late '50s Roger Corman Grade Z B/W deal, and then I see that Corman is actually in it!

I rarely ever see the SyFy network, so I'm totally unfamiliar with "Caprica" (or "Battlestar Galactica," for that matter), but it's clearly not a Grade Z cast!

I'll try to Netflix it, but they need to sort some things out first, it seems.


2. Hampton West said...

I missed the beginning of "Rubicon" and as best I could I couldn't quite catch up to it but I see the attraction. Reminded me a bit of another one-year wonder a while ago called "Nowhere Man."

I always felt the latter was most similar to "Coronet Blue."

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