Starring: Rosamund Pike, Chris O’Dowd
Written By: Nick Hornby
Directed By: Stephen Frears
Studio: Sundance TV
I didn’t even know Sundance TV or Sundance Now existed until recently. I saw a glimpse of the lineup and the one series that jumped out at me was State of the Union starring Chris O’Dowd and Rosamund Pike. It’s an interesting concept and very basic in structure but it’s a good series with funny dialogue!
The structure of the show is that each episode is 10 minutes long (give or take), takes place the same day of the week as a couple meets at the pub before going to marriage counseling. Each week, they show up at the same pub, talk things out before going to see the marriage counselor…or not going to see her. The result of them going to counseling was Louise (Rosamund Pike) cheating on Tom (Chris O’Dowd), an unemployed music writer. Is this a carry-over from Juliet, Naked movie? Each episode/week shows us what their lives were like, as they put all the cards on the table before they had trouble.
I really enjoyed State of the Union, and feel like there should be more short-form TV series like this out there. Another one I enjoyed that I used to watch on YouTube was The Daly Show with Tim Daly and Sam Daly starring as themselves. They were short episodes but they were great in that style of format. The same can be said for this show because it’s pretty much 2 people talking to each other for 10 minutes. This would work well as a play too. Although, the series just won 3 Emmys for the series, and the two actors in it so they are doing something right.
You’d think listening to a couple discussing or arguing would get old quickly but not when it comes to these characters. Then again, doesn’t hurt to have 10 minute episodes so the episodes don’t outstay their welcome. Not sure if Sundance TV aired these weekly or were available all at once. I binged the 10 episodes pretty quickly and felt that was the best way to watch. You want to find out things quickly. The acting is really good, with Chris O’Dowd and Rosamund Pike getting awarded for it at the Emmys recently. Chris seems like he’s playing the same character he has played in a few shows and movies already but that’s why I like him so much. The directing from Stephen Frears is good and I liked the look of the scenes as well.
I’m not too familiar with Sundance TV or Sundance Now. Sundance Now is a subscription streaming platform and cost $6.99 a month like Disney Plus will be. Not sure if these episodes of State of the Union aired on Sundance TV or not, but you can watch them if you log into your cable provider though. I know the show premiered back in May but looking at the station now, all I see is reruns of Law & Order and the Andy Griffith Show, so not sure when new material premieres. It seems you can get a lot of TV series and some indie movies with the subscription to Sundance Now. I kind of want to checkout the docu-series Jonestown next.
But back to State of the Union. I wanted to see this mainly for Chris O’Dowd and then I heard the short-form series won Emmys last week. That peaked my interest even more and glad I spent a little bit of time to watch the series because it was excellent. Great performances and premise and makes you think about your own marriage. Like what can you do better at and things like that. Doesn’t hurt there’s a lot of funny dialogue in the episodes as well, and the writer & director of High Fidelity are behind this. Can’t wait to see Season 2, which will be out in 2020!
Bottom Line: 10 minute episodes are the perfect length to figure out people’s bad marriages