Thursday, July 22, 2010

Puzzling Promos Don't Dull AMC's Rubicon

James Badge DaleCan AMC continue its original series-winning streak with a third original series after Mad Men and Breaking Bad? It's still a mystery. Or maybe it's a conspiracy.

To date, Rubicon seems to have almost everything going for it: a smart story, solid casting, and the beginning of an anxious fan base. The only miss in the equation is that not a single promo packed the same intelligence of the pilot. I passed the free download several times on iTunes.

The only other possible hangnail is the length of time between the initial run and the series, which is slated as a two-hour special set for Aug. 1. Networks want early excited fans, but not early annoyed fans. And some of them are annoyed, waiting since June to see the first installment.

A Fast Snapshot Of The AMC Series: Rubicon

The show itself appears smartly cast in the first episode, "Gone in the Teeth," with James Badge Dale playing Will Travers, a code breaker who works for a New York City think tank called the American Policy Institute. When Travers discovers what seems to be an encrypted pattern across several major newspapers, he shows his obsessively superstitious father-in-law and supervisor, David Hadas (Peter Gerety).

Hadas dismisses the pattern, promising to look into it. But as soon as Travers leaves, Hadas shows the discovery to the director, the spindly Kale Ingram (Arliss Howard). Ingram's reaction provides enough of an augur to know Hadas should have never shared it.

Rubicon"Rubicon is an incredible story about trust and power born out of the desire to find a way to capture the intensity and mystery of the best conspiracy thrillers in a series," said Joel Stillerman, SVP of original programming, production and digital content for AMC. "It is a show that appeals to everyone who has some skepticism about the relationship between big business and our government, which we think is pretty much everybody."

Dale is the perfect match in this detached, one-off role. It's reminiscent of his work as PFC Robert Leckie on the hit HBO miniseries The Pacific. (By the way, Dale will also be appearing in a William Hamilton post-Civil War film, The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford. In the movie, he plays William Hamilton.)

The rest of the cast includes Oscar®-nominated actress Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow), Dallas Roberts (Walk the Line, Flicka, The L Word), Jessica Collins (The Nine, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Christopher Evan Welch (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Lauren Hodges (Law & Order), and Howard (Full Metal Jacket, Natural Born Killers, The Sandlot).

Rubicon Episode 1 Earns A 6.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

The series is certainly worth checking out. The pace seems to create a slow burning sense of paranoia not all that dissimilar to The Prisoner miniseries, released last November. Other than that, this is a different kind of creepy, well-grounded in reality. It's a good show that could be a great success if the rest of the installments stay the course and provide intense payoffs that nobody saw in the first episode.

Rubicon is available on iTunes. You can also find Rubicon Sneak Preview on Amazon. Since the release of the pilot on June 14, AMC has also added two shorts that provide a deeper look inside the world of Will Travers and the American Policy Institute.
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