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November 03, 2006

The shoddy production values State Within

What do you get if you put Doctors on in Primetime?

Answer: The State Within, the new serial drama on BBC One.

Now you might think I’ve gone barking mad, as the show had nothing to do with doctors and was indeed about a transatlantic conspiracy.

But what I mean is what happens when you put the daytime TV soap Doctors on in Primetime?

Because despite my high hopes for this show, it had more in common with a cheap British soap opera than the glossy American drama it aspired to be.

Principally, the direction was abysmal. Camera angles were predictable, static and so blindingly poor that you noticed them. That’s not supposed to happen. There were virtually no tracking shots, and as a viewer I felt like my eye-lids had been stuck together with glue because it was all so uninteresting to watch.

The script was unbelievable. A U.S. air marshal apparently goes up and down the plane telling people to turn off their laptops. Wrong. The governor of Virginia rounds up Muslims. Wrong. Two men start kissing despite showing no interest in each other beforehand. Wrong.

The editing was shite. There was one scene change that was so badly done you didn’t realise they’d moved to a different room! One minute the U.S. Secretary of Defense is giving a press conference, the next she’s addressing one man. What?!

Some of the actors, such as Jason Isaacs, did their best with the appalling material they were given.

But essentially this show was hackneyed tripe. If only they’d bothered to watch a few episodes of CSI, Prison Break or 24 they’d have realised how it’s done. Instead they seem to have tried to create an Americanised drama without actually checking it out first.


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