New Show Alert: The State

I haven’t reviewed a new show in what feels like ages (except you count Better Call Saul). Anyway, I was looking through the BBC’s culture page (you should try it too!) when I saw a feature on the State and I thought it looked interesting enough. Art usually imitates life with these things. I remember watching the first Die Hard movie when I was a kid. At the time, the terrorists were German. Since September 11, terrorists have been portrayed as middle eastern guys with funny English Accents – see homeland, 24 and even Tyrant.

The State sort of continues in that vein but adds a little twist. Yes the show is about “terrorists” but early on, it is clear that they want you to take a sympathetic view towards these people. The show is produced by Channel 4 so I guess they don’t have a huge budget so the meat of the action is in the story. That’s one thing I like about British shows. They make up with talent what they lack in budget.

The show tracks 4 different people making the journey into Isis territory. The first thing I thought was that British people escaping to Iris territory isn’t the most topical thing in the world. It is something that was very “popular” a few years ago. But then I remembered that it is set in 2015 so they get a pass for that.

In my head, it was difficult to set apart my opinion of Isis from what was being portrayed. One of the ladies took what must have been her 11 year old son with her. I was like yikes! One thing that is apparent for both the men and the women was the culture shock they had to endure. One of the guys had to delete pictures of his mum from his phone L. Of course the ladies aren’t allowed to use phones and one of the girls didn’t tell her parents where she was going and now she couldn’t even call them!

I have only seen one episode but I am curious to see how certain things play out. All women need to get married before they can get any degree of independence. Now, on the one hand, the reason given for this “marriage” is strict compliance with Islamic tenets. I was looking at some of these guys and all I could see in their eyes was sexual gratification being their main reason for wanting to get married. I wonder if this plays out and I wonder how the lady with the son will accept it. She seems a bit older and looks like she is all out of sexy time.

I also hope they show what people have to go through to escape. The girl who couldn’t call her parents looks like a prime candidate for that. I say this because she was even uncomfortable using the kind of toilets they had. I’d also like it if they showed some sort of background into each of the characters so we can get a sense of what their motivations for wanting to escape their normal lives are.

I say all of this because there are only 4 episodes and I wonder how much they can realistically fit in in 4 episodes. I’ll try and run through everything then do a wrap up post.

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