Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fiction For Political Geeks: Rubicon

Before we begin, I would like to introduce Fiction for Political Geeks. This is a segment of my blog where I will introduce a work of fiction that I believe is necessary reading or viewing for my fellow political geeks. The work can be a movie, book, or television show.

When I think of Rubicon, I immediately conjure up depressing memories of a show that showed enormous potential in it's first season (13 episodes), but was never allowed to grow due to a swift cancellation caused by low ratings. The show was a conspiracy thriller that followed brilliant intelligence analyst Will Traverse (James Badge Dale), who finds himself embroiled in a government conspiracy involving his own intelligence organization, after the death of his step father, the leader of the organization, causes him to investigate. The show was glacially paced, meaning viewership for the show tanked despite fantastic acting, beautiful cinematography and an intelligent plot, leading to the inevitable cancellation of this thrilling political drama.

The reasons I would recommend this would be the following: First, the shows depiction of intelligence gathering is highly realistic, as the show features intelligence analysts looking at stacks of paper trying to find information over foreign threats in an archaic manner, unlike the high tech method in which shows like 24 do. This is also true in the manner that these analysts fight terrorism, as they spend a majority of their time thinking, with nearly no fight scenes or action taking place during the entire show, again unlike 24. What makes Rubicon even more realistic is the way it depicts terrorism, exploring the causes of it and the various reactions that the government has to it. Rubicon is definitely a show for those who love to spend lots of time thinking about these topics, rather then wondering when the car chases are going to take place. (Hint: There are none.)

Secondly, Rubicon features a conspiracy plot, while less realistic then the intelligence gathering plot, that is still very interesting due to the many subjects it deals with, its intelligent writing, its great acting and the remarkable tense mood that steadily builds up as a results of its fantastic cinematography and paranoia that the main character feels due to fear of being silenced by the conspirators. The pacing is very slow initially, but speeds up steadily, rewarding the audience with shocking plot twists in the second half of the show.

Their is only one huge flaw with this potential masterpiece: It never ended. The first season ended on a cliffhanger, meaning that the cancellation of the show resulted lots of dissatisfaction. With a second season never to exist in the future, I do hope they at least create an alternative ending to the first season or a least a webisode to provide the ending so desperately needed to satisfy those who watched it. Sadly, Rubicon has still yet to get even a DVD or Blu-Ray release date, despite it being a year since the show aired on AMC, making an alternative ending or webisode an unlikely prospect.

That being said, I still do recommend that you watch Rubicon. The lack of a conclusion may be a big problem, but it's a thriller that political geeks will come to love. It's a show relevant in our current time due to its accurate depiction of terrorism and intelligence gathering. Do not pass this up.

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