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November 11 2010

AMC cancels Rubicon. Zack Whedon wrote two episodes for the show.

I'm sorry for this. I watched the show weekly, mainly for the characters and the acting. I enjoyed the deliberate pace. The premise was half original, not the conspiracy aspect but basing the show on intelligence analysts working for a private contractor rather than field agents in a government agency.

I was also annoyed with the series because too often the writers were lazy; instead of Doing the Research, they had people behaving unbelievably in order to advance the plot. A recent example was having two people who had been warned repeatedly that it would be very dangerous to meet arrange a meeting to pass information, when they could just have well have set up a dead drop or an electronic transfer. The writers could have accomplished the same plot result more credibly by other means. Another instance was a professional assassin lying in wait in an apartment, who didn't use the waiting time to disable or put out of reach items that the intended victim might use to fight back.

My all time favorite espionage procedural, though it's based on field agents and is not conspiratorial, is a British series from the Eighties called The Sandbaggers.
No!!!! I loved this show. It was sophisticated, character-driven and aimed at intelligent adults.
I loved it as well. Truxton Spangler was such a great character. It's a shame we won't find out what a season two held in store for him.
Shite. I thought they might give it another chance despite its fairly terrible ratings. Hooked me from the "tie speech" in (IIRC) episode 4. Liked the setting, liked the characters and how it took its time, liked the cast. Sometimes it was maybe trying a bit too hard to be (big 'C') Clever but it's surely better to err in that direction than the other.

(and yep, 'The Sandbaggers' was great TV, making minor allowances for budget and the slower filming style of the times it still stands up pretty well today. More action oriented than 'Rubicon' but in common with most British espionage shows, it really captured the idea of the toll taken on the people who work in the intelligence services. First broadcast in 1978 BTW janef though it may well not have reached America until the 80s. And then there's the Smiley stuff of course, with Alec Guinness, superb. They're remaking 'Tinker, Tailor...' and i'm slightly dreading it even though there're some good people involved)
At times it was excellent, especially when Eliza Clark and Zack Whedon were writing. I'll miss it.
*snif* This was a really good show. The scene at the end with Spangler and Travers on the roof was awesome. I was never sure whether Spangler was going to toss Travers over the side or if he was going to jump himself. And now we'll never know what the deal was with those little clovers.
Can anyone tell me if the season ended on a cliffhanger or everything (most things) was resolved to give the story some sense of finality. I want to watch it, but if it ends without any type of resolution, I don't want to...
Well... Balls.
Thank you for the correction on the date of Sandbaggers, Saje; I haven't watched the show for awhile and was relying on memory. It barely can be said to have reached the U.S. at all. It was never picked up by the PBS network, which is where most Americans see British shows. They are never shown on commercial broadcast TV and rarely on cable.

However, my metropolitan area has several PBS stations rather than the usual one, and the second largest station makes buys of British TV series independently. This station has a weekly theme night of mystery/crime/espionage shows and they have aired Sandbaggers at least twice. They used to have a science fiction night, which is where I first saw Dr. Who, as well as Space Cops.
I have this whole series on DVR as I only found out about it at the end of the season. I'm disappointed to find out that once I reach the end, there will be no more.

I hope the same fate will not befall The Walking Dead, a series which my hubby and I are both enjoying!
Well that sucks.

@JTown: The Walking Dead already got a season 2 pick up. That show is huge in the ratings and is probably the reason for Rubicons fate.
janef--

Quite a lot of British shows are aired on BBC America, which is where I'm watching Luther right now. I've only seen the first two so far and I'm loving it. Idris Elba is an Actor (that would be an actor with a capital A). He's...um...good.
He's...um...bloody excellent in fact ;).

Found 'Luthor' to be a bit patchy myself (Elba was as mentioned - he played a guy on the edge but without too many of the tics you sometimes see in those sorts of performances, it really rang true - and Ruth Wilson was great as Alice but they held together the odd slightly dubious episode IMO) but avoiding spoilers, if you're enjoying it now just wait until you see the last two episodes. Wow. Not half bad. Didn't do brilliantly in the ratings over here unfortunately so there's some doubt as to whether there'll be a second series.

(and that's a benefit of the asymmetry of America's cultural influence on the world - in the UK if you have even a basic cable/satellite package you can see a lot of the main US shows, often within about a week of airing over there. Even in e.g the 80s when we still had just 4 channels, there were still a fair number of US series shown)


ETR a 'k' cos I doubt Elba played Luthor with ticks at all, that's an entirely different sort of performance ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2010-11-12 08:42 ]
I'll miss this show, particularly for Will's team. I was with Miles and Grant and Tanya all the way, even if sometimes I wanted to knock some sense into Will's head. This was my first extended look at Arliss Howard too and it amazes me I've gone so long without adoring him before. The writing was a little uneven, mostly in the pacing as noted earlier, but gods I just wanted Miles and the new chick to get together and Grant to take his unexpected new role and blossom and Tanya to STOP TAKING SHIT YOU'LL KILL YOURSELF GIRL!

Er, um. Yes. I'll miss it. Richard Robbins did say they'll post their outline for next season, maybe even flesh it out a bit for us. And if we cross our fingers really tightly, maybe the production company will release it on DVD with lots of extras. No guarantees though. :(
No!!!! I loved this show. It was sophisticated, character-driven and aimed at intelligent adults.
TawnyJayne | November 11, 22:19 CET


Which is no doubt why it got canceled. Although I have to admit, I expected better from AMC. You really need to give this kind of show a better chance.

Well... Balls.
Caroline | November 12, 02:27 CET


X2. Nothing like succinct. :_)
I really liked this show, reminded me a lot of 3 Days of the Condor. I hate that my loving Walking Dead is the reason this show won't be back, but I had fears for it all along as it was a show that you had to think. Not like most of the dribble we Americans like. BTW, Luther is also one I watch and The Wire was great.
I don't think it's the reason, just a contributing factor. 'Rubicon' did badly numbers wise so it was always going to be borderline to return, it's just that 'The Walking Dead' being such a huge hit out of the gate probably made AMC's mind up (at least that's definitely coming back for a second season, good news because i'm liking it a lot so far, particularly the direction - gets said of a lot of TV shows but it really does look like a movie. The pilot had a crane/helicopter shot from directly above towards the end of the that was just amazing - scary, thrilling and evocative all at the same time)
It's a real shame to a very good show, with a James Marsters double sink.
The penultimate episode was amazing. They could just ended the season ther in a giant cliffhangger (jesse, it ended in one, but nothung that could spoil your pleasure to see the show.)>
Luther is also great. I can't decide what was the best "debut" of the year, Luther or the new Doctor. Bith shows even make me in love with theirs red heads, Amy and Alice (Ruth Wilson, also amazing).
The Silence was another police show with a good start, but unforntunattely, the conclusion was more ordinary.
At least we know Will Travers landed on his feet, set up by the witness protection program as a Spanish teacher/show choir adviser in western Ohio.
Happens all the time. Every time I am enjoying a show, it gets canceled. The Walking Dead is truly horrible in my opinion. I keep thinking I have seen it before, so derivative.Can't believe people would prefer this to Rubicon. At least we could have both, couldn't we? Any chance they will change their minds?
Any chance they will change their minds?

Sure, they said they would just as soon as FOX brings back Firefly.

I kinda have to agree with you on The Walking Dead. I don't really get all the love for it. It's cool to have zombies on t.v. (even though they don't call them zombies for some reason) but I would have thought there would be some kind of fresh angle to it by the way both the comic and now the show has been praised. But it's pretty much the same old thing.
The Walking Dead had a built-in advantage in that the marketing was easy -- premiere a show about zombies on Halloween night! It's the acting that's keeping people tuned in (with the caveat that I've only seen one episode so far) but the Halloween connection got people to watch in the first place. With both Rubicon and Terriers, it's not that people hate the show, it's that they're not watching in the first place.
Saje--

Thanks for getting me excited about the end of Luthor! And making me a little wary about the middle. ;) I praise actors all the time, but you're exactly right about Elba's performance. His reaction in the pilot when is just perfect. I believed every second. He is amazing to me, as I've now seen him in four roles (The Wire, The Office, The Big C, and now Luthor) and he's been a different person every time. As you said, bloody excellent. ;)

Back to Rubicon... the acting and characters definitely helped, especially when the episode was even more slow-moving or confusing than usual. I will miss it.
Aaargh, quickly wipe my comment from your mind guidedby, I can't take the pressure of your potential "meh"ness ;). And yep, he was good in 'The Big C' too.

(and it was the first 2-3 eps I had most issues with so if you're over that hump it's probably all gravy from here. Or we like totally opposite things in which case prepare yourself for a terrible last two episodes ;)

...but I would have thought there would be some kind of fresh angle to it by the way both the comic and now the show has been praised. But it's pretty much the same old thing.

We're two episodes in. What we've seen has just been taking care of "the same old thing", from what i've heard about the comics the zombpocalypse isn't really the point, it's what comes after, the human drama of surviving.

But even if 'The Walking Dead' carries on in exactly this vein, i'm kind of fine with that - how many genuinely new TV shows are there ? 'Rubicon' certainly wasn't new for instance, it had new elements (the commercial analyst setting) but if you like espionage TV it pretty much ticks the boxes (didn't detract from my enjoyment of it). Originality is just one quality I look for, probably not even the most important one (i.e. implementation counts for a lot and TWD is, so far, very well implemented IMO).

[ edited by Saje on 2010-11-13 09:24 ]
My cable provider (Comcast) carries BBC in America but it offers very few scripted series. I don't recall seeing Luthor offered. We get the news, Graham Norton show, Dr. Who, some reality shows. After watching some of the best of British TV over the years on PBS, I've been quite disappointed.
Love Walking Dead.

It had many things going for it - Comic-Con launch, it's a zombie thing (everybody knows what zombies are), it's horror (go to a movie theatre and check out the lines for horror movies), they did a good launch (they staged a zombie invasion in 30 cities worldwide, they launched a Halloween)... If you're pitching a series and somebody walks in with that, you've got a sizable first week audience.
Any day now I expect to see a network executive walk into my home and demand all seven seasons of my Buffy DVDs, claiming the series has been cancelled expo-facto.

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