Third-episode verdict: Painkiller Jane

The Carusometer for Painkiller Jane5-Full-Caruso

Oh the pain. If only there were some way to end it! Fortunately, there is. It’s called the off switch.

After three not terribly good episodes of Painkiller Jane, I’m throwing in the towel. It’s not without its charms: at its heart are some intriguing ideas; it feels at times like a 21st Century version of the rather good 80s show Max Headroom (the US sci-fi version, not the UK chat show); Kristanna Loken is?��Ǩ�� pretty; and it does look good.

But style can overcome only so much lack of substance. It’s appalling in execution. The writing is leaden and cliché d, with dialogue that makes you feel like you’ve got Ebola; there’s no real sense of place or time, so allusions to “Brad and Angelina” make absolutely no sense whatsoever in context; there’s no characterisation and even Jane only gets to be something more than a cipher because she does the ridiculous voiceovers; the plots are bizarre mishmashs of effortlessly poor detective investigations, action thrillers and homely moralising (the bad guys turn out to be lonely teenagers or well meaning little old men); and the actors are blessed with less talent than a computer-generated console game interstitial.

So The Medium Is Not Enough has great pleasure in declaring Painkiller Jane has scored a five or ‘Full Caruso’ on The Carusometer quality scale. A Full Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might be responsible for every aspect of production. In an attempt to make the show futuristic, he will force the cast to wear sunglasses, even when it means they’ll fall over in the poorly lit sets he will insist on. He will also insist they end every sentence with the word ‘hip!’ because ‘People will talk different in the future’. All their shirts will be made from PVC.”


  • 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.