Third-episode verdict: The State Within

The State Within Carusometer3 Minor Caruso

So we’re up to episode three on The State Within and I reckon we’re ready for a third-episode verdict.

After a really dismal first episode, things got better in the second episode, and improved still further with the third episode. Most of the stupidity has gone and the things that suggested they thought we were stupid have gone, too. It’s not so overblown; and the action they intended to be exciting in the first episode has been replaced with action that actually is exciting.

But the constants throughout have been the multiple, over-complicated plot strands; the ridiculously stereotypical US characters; and the generic British characters. The decision to make up countries, airlines, etc, mean that we might as well be observing the parallel universe’s planet Aaargh for all its relevance to the real world – at least 24 can accuse China or thinly veiled versions of Iran of being evil without worrying too much; here we have to deal with Tzazarazzakastan – who cares if fictional made up country with no real-world parallel is up to no good? Borat has more to say about former Soviet Republics’ human rights records.

So it’s getting better, but I think individual episodes are going to top out at a two on The Carusometer at most. On average though, it’s earned a three, so that’s what I’m awarding it.

The Medium is Not Enough has declared The State Within to be a three or “Minor Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Minor Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might guest star after having demanded script approval, as a result of which all lines in which he’s not referred to as ‘big man’ will be rewritten by both his personal psychic and his agent. During filming, he will call his co-stars ‘actors’ in a sarcastic tone of voice, maybe with air quotes”.

In other words, it’s not worth getting into, you probably shouldn’t hang around for any further episodes if you’ve already started, and if you’ve taped them, you can dump them now without having watched them.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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