The State characters, preparing to become ISIS soldiers.

1. It moves quickly 

The series is only four episodes in total, but the story takes place over a period of several months. There’s action from the first minute, and character depth is established within the first thirty.

2. It’s the year’s most topical series

With ISIS frequenting news bulletins regularly, The State addresses the increasing global awareness of terrorism. 

3. It’s eye-opening 

Syria is a part of the world that we Westerners rarely see, at least not in reality. It sheds a light on a whole other religion and way of life.

4. It’s confronting

The story is rooted in truth, so it doesn’t skip the violence. Yet there are moments of deep emotion amidst the brutality. 

5. The cast will transport you

Exceptional performances, from Sam Otto and Ony Uhiara in particular, will have you believing everything you see. Their pain is your pain, the heat, the dust, the explosions, you’ll feel close to it all. 

6. It’s not too complicated

Despite the political premise, it won’t drag you into the gritty details. It’s essentially a tale about finding yourself. Simplistic storytelling, done well, in a unique and fascinating setting. 

7. It holds a mirror to society

The lives of these characters are extreme cases - but you might still find yourself reassessing your own values, or else appreciating what you already have.  

8. If you don’t speak Arabic, don’t worry 

Majority of the dialogue is in English, with a smattering of subtitles. Translations are provided for the commonly used religious terms too, which is a thoughtful and interesting addition to the screenplay.

You can stream the full season of The State right here, from Thursday 1 February