Fifth-episode verdict: Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon's Carusometer4-Major-Caruso

Well, you can’t say I didn’t give it a chance. I hung in there for five episodes. To be fair, Flash Gordon has got a lot better since episodes one and two, which were pretty appalling.

But even with three straight episodes in a row that were officially “not that bad”, according to The Carusometer, thanks to improved characterisation, more exploration of Mongo (there are Hawkmen now!) and better humour, it’s still a bit on the tat side. It’s the kind of programme that you’d end up with if you took up a couple of teenage boys, thrust a camcorder into their hands and said “Here, shoot a science fiction series. You’ve two days, $100 and all the babes and iMovie effects you need.”

It is amusing. It is starting to overcome its problems. But it’s still nothing remarkable. If it maintains its current levels, it could be a diverting way to spend an hour at most – kind of like something shown during a “the worst of Stargate” evening.

The Medium is Not Enough hereby declares Flash Gordon is a 4 or “Major Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Major Caruso corresponds to a show that David Caruso might exec produce or star in. After channelling all the effects budget into buying the most powerful trailer in the world for himself, he will use glove puppets to depict the denizens of the alien world. Production will have to be stopped when, after insisting he do all the stunts because he’s a “world class athlete”, he finds he needs a body double to do the far too taxing “going upstairs” scenes.


  • 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.