Third-episode verdict: Quantico (US: ABC; UK: Alibi)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 4

In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, ABC
In the UK: Acquired by Alibi

If I were American, I’d be afraid – at least if I believed for a second that Quantico had any resemblance to reality. Essentially How To Get Away With Murder but with FBI trainees rather than law students, it posits that the US’s future first, best line of defence in intelligence and crime fighting are a bunch of idiotic, pretty children who spend more time squabbling, playing at being mean girls and dealing with their personal backstories than training to stop the bad guys. That’s when they’re not too busy flirting with their implausible instructors, who have their own personal backstories and squabbling to do, too.

It’s perhaps only natural that it turns out that one of these trainees (or maybe even instructors) is secretly a terrorist who blows up Grand Central Station. Who is it? Well, if it was obvious, there’d be no mystery, so this class of elite idiots includes all manner of potential security risks, including a pair of twins who swap hijab at night but pretend to be one person, a guy who’s been to Gaza and pretends to be gay, a woman who has secret phone calls at night in Arabic, and our supposed heroine who killed her own father and spent 10 years in Mumbai.

To be fair to the show, Quantico‘s central mystery has become almost interesting over the past two episodes and it hasn’t been as stupid as it was in the first stupid – or at least the average density of stupid has decreased, even if it still hits the same peaks. Who is the secret terrorist? I’d almost care if I didn’t have to watch such a complete bunch of whiny, brain dead children the whole time.

However, as well as the intense stupidity of the show, there’s its woeful miscasting, particularly of Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra. As well as her sheer implausibility at pretty much every level as a top FBI recruit, it’s the fact that the show makes it quite clear she’s the star and uses the other characters to make her look better. Chopra also appears to be acting in a different style from everyone else and clearly knows she’s the star of the show, too, despite being the emperiled heroine.

Quantico has gone from being excruciatingly awful to merely painful to watch.You can tell why Dougray Scott cleared off before the pilot even aired, can’t you?

Barrometer rating: 4
Rob’s prediction: Should make it to the end of the season but no more than that


  • 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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