Third-episode verdict: Meadowlands

The Carusometer for Meadowlands2 Partial Caruso

Long-time fans of Charlie Brooker will no doubt recall the “Daily Mail Island” section of TV Go Home. The idea of “Daily Mail Island” was that a bunch of people were stuck on an island with only the Daily Mail to read. Naturally, they ended up attacking immigrant pigeons, etc, etc.

Meadowlands is sort of a Daily Mail village, except rather than being filled with people who have frighteningly misinformed opinions, it’s filled with people from Daily Mail headlines. Imagine what it would be like if the only gynaecologist you could see was a scary stalker who’s unhealthily obsessed with you and who blurts out declarations of love at inopportune moments. Imagine a world where all working class people are rapists and murderers who can’t be sent to prison because they’re underage. Imagine a world where the only cop in town is brutal and corrupt and liable to beat you to extract a confession.

This, pretty much, is how Meadowlands works. Every character is someone you should be scared off.

It didn’t look like this at first. The first episode, while having quite a dark underbelly and being a bit confused, was also filled with comedy grotesques you could laugh at. But by the end of the quite absorbing second episode, it had all gone very badly wrong and comedy had made a quick retreat for the exit in case it was assaulted by rabid paedophiles. The third episode was darker still.

With the comedy downplayed, it’s a much better show, albeit one that is slightly nightmarish viewing. The protagonists aren’t exactly appealing and the supposed high-functioning autistic son (who’s played like he’s low-functioning) is pretty irritating. But it’s pretty entertaining on its own terms, even if it doesn’t have any more relevance to the real world than the Daily Mail does.

Heaven knows where it’s going if it’s already this full of evil with another five episodes to go. I’m hoping it’s going to be quite horrific. That would be nice.

The Medium is Not Enough has great pleasure in declaring Meadowlands a two or “Partial Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Partial Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might volunteer to cameo. After forgetting what comes after ”I’m going to be your judge, jury and…’ in his supposedly threatening speech a total of 47 times during the audition, he will instead ad lib ‘I’m going to get you’ while clenching his fist. The producers will hire Ray Liotta instead.”


  • 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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