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August 19, 2010

Rubicon 1.1: "Gone in the Teeth"

TV: Rubicon

I know everyone else in the universe watched this as a preview or online, but I didn't. And then - bonus! - I waited two weeks to watch it at all, so this post is really timely. But if you want to know what I thought, keep reading . . .

I'm getting the impression from, you know, Twitter and various headlines I've glimpsed that people are mostly not liking this show, and maybe finding it boring. Boring! I'd like to say that I can't imagine why they would think that, but I suppose I can. I mean, depressed guys in sweaters doing crossword puzzles is BASICALLY my idea of the perfect TV show, but I guess that may not be a popular opinion. Really, though, this is exactly the sort of thing I like. Spies! Codes! Figuring things out! Conspiracies! Chess!

Aesthetically, too, I like it - it's dark and moody and snowy and wet, and again, I suppose I can see why it would not be for all viewers. But it went very well with my knitting and giant mug of tea. The setting is contemporary, but it felt old-fashioned compared to other tech-focused spy shows like Covert Affairs; everything seems to be paper-based, with books and newspapers and, God help us, card catalogs abounding. It's probably not very realistic but I'm not sure I care. (And that globe-with-hidden-chess-set? I totally want that, even though I don't really play chess.) The music fits the rest of the aesthetics, with lots of overwrought cellos.

This first episode was rife with little moments clearly designed to set up the characters. Some of these were annoyingly simplistic: Will can figure out crosswords and reads about string theory, so he's smart! One of the characters (Grant? I think?) tells Tanya that bringing the doughnuts to the meeting is her most important duty, so we are to know that her job is lower on the totem pole and he is kind of an ass. I liked the subtlety of the newspapers - characters read what looks like the New York Times or the Post depending on who they are, and really, the choice between those two says a lot.

I guess I haven't really mentioned the plot, but I'm not sure we know enough about it yet to say much. There's some sort of conspiracy, perhaps involving a secret fourth branch of government, and it seems that in his new position Will will try to discover what's going on and/or be recruited to join in. Good times! It's not yet entirely clear who's on which side, or who the bad guys are, or what anyone is actually trying to do, but I'll be patient. That's the fun of the slow-burn spy show, after all.

Posted by Kat at August 19, 2010 11:00 AM
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