State of the Union (British TV series)

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State of the Union
Written byNick Hornby
Directed byStephen Frears
ComposerRoger Eno
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20
Executive producers
ProducerAmy Jackson
Running time10 minutes
Production companySee-Saw Films
Original networkSundance TV
Original release6 May 2019 (2019-05-06) –
present (present)

State of the Union is a British comedy television series that premiered on 6 May 2019 on Sundance TV. It is written by Nick Hornby and directed by Stephen Frears.[1][2]

The second season premiered in February 2022.


Season 1 of State of the Union follows "Louise and Tom, played by Pike and O’Dowd, who meet in a pub immediately before their weekly marital therapy session. Each episode pieces together how their lives were, what drew them together, and what has started to pull them apart."[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Season 2[edit]


Series overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1106 May 2019 (2019-05-06)17 May 2019 (2019-05-17)
21014 February 2022 (2022-02-14)23 February 2022 (2022-02-23)

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No. in
Title [4]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [4]US viewers
11"Marathon"Stephen Frears[3]Nick Hornby[3]6 May 2019 (2019-05-06)N/A
22"Antique Globes"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby6 May 2019 (2019-05-06) (Sundance Now)
7 May 2019 (2019-05-07) (Sundance TV)
33"Syria"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby7 May 2019 (2019-05-07) (Sundance Now)
8 May 2019 (2019-05-08) (Sundance TV)
44"Plaster Cast"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby7 May 2019 (2019-05-07) (Sundance Now)
9 May 2019 (2019-05-09) (Sundance TV)
55"Normal Slope"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby8 May 2019 (2019-05-08) (Sundance Now)
10 May 2019 (2019-05-10) (Sundance TV)
66"Nigel and Naomi"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby8 May 2019 (2019-05-08) (Sundance Now)
13 May 2019 (2019-05-13) (Sundance TV)
77"Call the Midwife"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby9 May 2019 (2019-05-09) (Sundance Now)
14 May 2019 (2019-05-14) (Sundance TV)
88"Dolphins"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby9 May 2019 (2019-05-09) (Sundance Now)
15 May 2019 (2019-05-15) (Sundance TV)
99"Prison Sex"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby10 May 2019 (2019-05-10) (Sundance Now)
16 May 2019 (2019-05-16) (Sundance TV)
1010"Another Drink"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby10 May 2019 (2019-05-10) (Sundance Now)
17 May 2019 (2019-05-17) (Sundance TV)

Season 2 (2022)[edit]

No. in
Title [5]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [5]US viewers
111"The Laws of Grammar"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby14 February 2022 (2022-02-14)N/A
122"Why Quake?"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby15 February 2022 (2022-02-15)N/A
133"Big Mustard"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby16 February 2022 (2022-02-16)N/A
144"Prison Thoughts"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby17 February 2022 (2022-02-17)N/A
155"Led Zeppelin's Accountant"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby18 February 2022 (2022-02-18)N/A
166"Intimacy Kit"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby19 February 2022 (2022-02-19)N/A
177"The Road Most Travelled"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby20 February 2022 (2022-02-20)N/A
188"Facetime TV"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby21 February 2022 (2022-02-21)N/A
199"Kopi Luwak"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby22 February 2022 (2022-02-22)N/A
2010"The Last Box"Stephen FrearsNick Hornby23 February 2022 (2022-02-23)N/A



On 13 July 2018, it was announced that Sundance TV had given the production a series order consisting of ten episodes running around ten minutes each. The series was expected to be written by Nick Hornby and directed by Stephen Frears, both of whom were set to be executive producers. Production companies involved with the series included See-Saw Films.[3][6][7]

Series 1[edit]


Alongside the series order announcement, it was confirmed that Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd had been cast in the series' lead roles for season 1.[3][6][7]


Principal photography for the series was scheduled to begin in the summer of 2018 in London, England.[3][6][7] The pub used for the series was the Thatched House in Hammersmith, London W6.[citation needed]


Roger Eno scored the soundtrack,[8] which was performed by jazz musicians Jack Pinter, Sebastian Rochford (drums) and Steve Watts on saxophone and recorded at AIR Studios in London, according to the trailer.[citation needed]

Series 2[edit]

On 25 January 2021 the series was renewed for a second season,[9] starring Brendan Gleeson, Patricia Clarkson and Esco Jouléy.[10]


On 10 October 2018, a "first-look" image from the series was released.[11] On 28 January 2019, the series received its world premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.[12]

In the UK, the first series aired on BBC Two in September 2019,[13] and the second series followed in May 2022.[14]


In a positive review, Variety's Daniel D'Addario praised the series saying, "State of the Union pulls off a neat trick; given both its short running time and its fleetness of dialogue, we never get tired of hearing this couple's arguments, which could in other contexts be tiresome and circular."[15] In another encouraging criticism, The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg described the series as a "clever and beautifully acted piece" and declared that "Stephen Frears and Nick Hornby's perceptive two-hander is still well worth seeing."[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Nick Hornby, Stephen Frears, Jamie Laurenson,
Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning, and Emile Sherman
Won [16]
Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Chris O'Dowd Won
Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Rosamund Pike Won
2022 Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Short Form Live-Action Series State of the Union Nominated [17]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Brendan Gleeson Nominated [18]
Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Patricia Clarkson Won
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Short Form Series Kathleen Chopin, John Ort Won [19]


  1. ^ "SundanceTV Marries Short Form Innovation with Premium Scripted Drama in "State of the Union," Starring Award-Winners Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd". The Futon Critic (Press release). 27 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Clooney's Catch-22, Fleabag Returns, Five-0 Finale and More". TVLine. 17 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f White, Peter (13 July 2018). "Rosamund Pike & Chris O'Dowd To Star In Stephen Frears-Directed, Nick Hornby-Penned Comedy Series For SundanceTV". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "State of the Union – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "State of the Union – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Clarke, Stewart (13 July 2018). "Rosamund Pike, Chris O'Dowd Have a Marital Crisis in Nick Hornby's SundanceTV Comedy". Variety. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b c O'Connell, Michael (13 July 2018). "Rosamund Pike, Chris O'Dowd to Star in 10-Minute Sitcom From Nick Hornby". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Roger Eno Scoring SundanceTV's 'State of the Union'". Film Music Reporter. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Back for a Little More, The Emmy Award-Winning Short Form Series "State of the Union" Renewed for a Second Season on SundanceTV" (Press release). Sundance TV. 25 January 2021 – via The Futon Critic.
  10. ^ White, Peter (27 January 2021). "'State Of The Union': Short-Form Series Renewed At SundanceTV For Season 2 Starring Brendan Gleeson, Patricia Clarkson & Esco Jouléy". Deadline. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (10 October 2018). "'State Of The Union': First-Look Photo Of Rosamund Pike & Chris O'Dowd In SundanceTV Comedy Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  12. ^ a b Fienberg, Daniel (28 January 2019). "'State of the Union': TV Review | Sundance 2019". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  13. ^ Mangan, Lucy (8 September 2019). "State of the Union review: a brutal, tender and perfectly curated portrayal of marriage". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  14. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (24 May 2022). "State of the Union review – Brendan Gleeson and Patricia Clarkson lift a sticky, slovenly script". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  15. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (29 January 2019). "Sundance TV Review: 'State of the Union'". Variety. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  16. ^ "State of the Union". Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  17. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (7 July 2022). "'This Is Us,' 'Succession,' 'Severance' Lead 2022 HCA TV Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  18. ^ "State of the Union". Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  19. ^ Jones, Marcus (17 October 2022). "Netflix and HBO/HBO Max Lead TV Nominations for Casting Society's 2023 Artios Awards". IndieWire. Retrieved 1 November 2022.

External links[edit]