Union is exactly what student television should be: tight, realistic, well written, largely well-acted and, of course, funny. Moreover the first episode also offered a surprisingly enjoyable and accurate representation of Student Union politics.
Well meaning, but out of her depth, student union President Chloe Kennedy is narrowly elected in a surprise result. After the obligatory drunk student television interview, Chloe is thrown right into the deep end on her first day as she meets her dysfunctional team of SABs. The SABs themselves are a stereotypical and eclectic mix of the incompetent, venal and self-obsessed, obsessive and just plain nasty.
Things don’t start too well for Chloe as an argumentative student named Callum Taylor (ring any bells?) comes in to complain about a faulty tap. Despite the fact the Union has no control over the state of the University water infrastructure, they hopelessly try to deal with the situation with Callum becoming increasingly agitated, ending up ranting about “doing things” to militia in Africa. As Chloe hopelessly struggles to control the situation, she also has to deal with a disastrous newspaper interview in which she compares herself to Margaret Thatcher (not a good idea if you’re a student politician!). Things steadily reach a head with the storylines all eventually converging in dramatic fashion with, of course, this being a student union involves a huge argument.
There’s no doubt that Union is well scripted (with only a few slightly unnatural lines), well filmed and directed and for student television is incredibly well acted, I always felt that the entire cast were believable as Student Union Officers. The episode was constructed really well which each plotline well thought out, and believable. What especially work’s is the shows realism, this largely came from the show being filmed in the actual YUSU offices as well as considerable research on the part of the writers, Tom Woffenden and Kieron Moore. The show never strays too far into becoming a parody of the York student scene; it’s difficult to tie any one character or event to York (although there are certainly recognisable elements in there). This is a really good move as it gives the writers considerable freedom as they are not forced into covering only York events.
Overall Union has got off to a really solid start. With a potential gold mine of material to play with student unions nationwide getting to scarcely believable scrapes as well as a huge amount of potentially hilarious material from here in York, it could turn out to be an excellent and surprisingly informative show.
You can see the first episode of Union here-http://ystv.co.uk/watch/union/episode-1/