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October 10, 2015

Top 12 Ways to Pay Tribute to the Late, Lamented 'Rubicon'

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 12th 2010 10:15AM
News emerged on Thursday that AMC will not be making a second season of 'Rubicon,' a thoughtful drama about a collection of misfits and geniuses who work as intelligence analysts.

Perhaps this Sunday night, 'Rubicon' fans can pay tribute to the show's passing in one of the ways below. It would only be appropriate for 'Rubicon' lovers to:

-stare out a window

-do a crossword puzzle

-go up on a roof

-surround themselves with pieces of paper

-eat cereal

-send someone a four-leaf clover

-carry around a DVD of a classic Judy Garland film

-have an illicit smoke next to an annoyingly small office window

-spy on someone else's apartment (actually, don't do that, that would be creepy)

-walk around lower Manhattan carrying a messenger bag and a melancholy expression

-wear sunglasses as cool as Kale Ingram's

-bring beignets to work

In all seriousness, the cancellation of 'Rubicon' is sad news, to be sure, but a second season was always a long shot. The show's ratings were bad and it seems as though once 'The Walking Dead' proved to be a big hit, 'Rubicon's' days were numbered. I wasn't a fan of the show's season 1 finale, though, and if I'm honest, I do wonder if a second season would have ended up being a pale imitation of the first.

Still, it was no fun to hear that API and its strange and compelling employees won't be back. This was a thoughtfully made, beautifully filmed story with an atmosphere, look and vibe all its own.

What I'll miss most about 'Rubicon' are its indelible characters. So many shows struggle with this basic and necessary building block -- the creation of characters that the audience will remember from week to week. I don't know about you, but I'm unlikely to forget Truxton Spangler, Kale Ingram, Will Travers, Miles Fiedler, Tanya MacGaffin and Grant Test any time soon.

Television, like intelligence analysis, is "a failure business," as Kale once told Will. The shows that don't work out, for whatever reason, far outnumber the ones that do. That doesn't make it any easier to get used to the idea that we won't see this great cast inhabit this moody world ever again.

In my mind, the 'Party Down' crew is catering API's going-out-of-business party. And everyone's up on the roof, of course.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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I liked the fact that you had to really think what was going on and who the good guys were versus the bad guys. But we got "The Walking Dead" instead, more pablum for the mindless.

December 19 2010 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In a world where almost all TV shows run to a pop, rock, and occasional jazz beat; Rubicon unfurled its treasures in a measured way like that of classical music.

I appreciated the contrast.

November 14 2010 at 7:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The saddest thing about AMC's cancellation of _Rubicon_, and preservation of _Walking Dead_, is the extent to which the audience of the xxzombie show was boosted by _Rubicon_ fans hoping that by watching _Walking Dead_ they would encourage AMCTV to continue Rubicon!
Second saddest thing is the loss of excellent writers and actors and production people who a) have already been snapped up elsewhere, or b) will be out of work when they should not be.

For people who read, and who liked the riveting world of _Rubicon_, a world that gave the sense of its own ongoing existence, whatever AMC decides, I recommend _CYTEEN_. By the final third of the novel, you cannot rid yourself of the feeling that, when you pause to do something else, the world keeps on going while you are not reading!

November 12 2010 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angela Siegfried

Mo, You said it perfectly.
Here's my favorite line, "In my mind, the 'Party Down' crew is catering API's going-out-of-business party. And everyone's up on the roof, of course."
This makes me smile. I hope you don't mind if I quote you to others who enjoyed both shows a lot.

November 12 2010 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wanted it to get stronger. Fun to watch the struggles, but also hard sometimes. Excellent cast and look. Yes, the few of us who watched it lovingly will always have a spot in our hearts for the API folk and their periphery.

Loved the troubled Tanya, cool Kale, all the analysts. In the end I guess the snake really did swallow its tail.

November 12 2010 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks Mo for your tribute. I will miss the characters and dark atmosphere of Rubicon.

I would have definitely loved a second season to see where the show could go and possibly grow.

My hopes were dashed.

November 12 2010 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This had way too smart written all over it from the getgo.

November 12 2010 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for writing such a great tribute to Rubicon. It had the greatest number of very interesting characters of any show I can think of. Too bad we won't get to see more of them. I'll have to be content with the image of Party Down catering their party on the roof!

November 12 2010 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Kinsella

I think you should just watch the movies that inspired it:
The Conversation
Three Days of the Condor

November 12 2010 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ellen Ryan

Thank you for composing this wonderful memorial service keynote for the passing of a truly great show, Rubicon.

I am really disappointed that I will not see what happens to these iconic characters and you are so right about the fact that they were created with a depth and nuance that you barely see on any tv show. It would be hard to come up with a story arch to rival the one we saw this season but I would put up with that if I could see these characters again.

I have nothing against Walking Dead but so far I am not captured by it. It's not bad but it hasn't hooked me like Rubicon.

Without a doubt, AMC is producing some really great television these days and I am very grateful for that. But I wish they could plow some of their profits from hits like Mad Men, Walking Dead and Breaking Bad into smaller-ratings gems like Rubicon. Sort of like when a big star does a blockbuster film so they can do an indie project here and there.

This is one viewer that will not be making a must-see-appointment on Sunday evenings with AMC these days. I'm just not that compelled by their other shows.

Here's to Will, Kale, Miles, Grant, Tanya and the truly iconic Truxton Spangler, who may be sending a whole lot of four-leaf clovers out to certain folks at AMC.

November 12 2010 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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