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Utopia is a cult graphic novel rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the late twentieth century. Dismissed as the fevered imaginings of a madman by most, and idolised by a handful, only one thing seems certain about Utopia: come into contact with it and you won't be safe for long.
When a small group of normal people (including an IT consultant, student and child) find themselves in possession of the manuscript of Utopia, they realise they are at the centre of a nightmarish conspiracy turned real. Targeted by a shadowy organisation known only as The Network, they are left with one option if they want to stay alive: they have to run, avoiding even being caught even on CCTV. The Network is everywhere: in government, in business, in charge. A secret organisation constrained neither by borders nor common morality. Nobody knows what their plan is, just that they will stop at nothing to find the original manuscript of Utopia.
Utopia asks what if the conspiracy nuts are right? What if people are trying to control our lives, doctor our food, experiment upon us, kill us? Fast, terrifying, funny and brutal, it is a massive new drama/conspiracy thriller.
The central concept of Utopia remains, right to the end of the final episode, its strength. The idea is that the Utopia of the show's title is a cult graphic novel, one that's said to have predicted a collection of terrible disasters. The manuscript to it finds its way into the hands of a group of seemingly everyday, normal people, and the problems start from there. Are the group being paranoid? Are they being followed and watched? Are the conspiracy theories correct?
It's an interesting collection of questions, and Utopia is happy to tackle them. Set across six episodes, the plot tends to be a little all over the place at times, but there are so many interesting threads to follow, that that's an easy thing to forgive. Furthermore, the execution is strong, with some excellent direction eking the most out of the concept.
When you get to the last episode of Utopia, there's much to ponder and discuss. And there's an argument that the show doesn't ultimately live up to its intriguing concept. However, it does deliver, and delivers very well. At its best, it's gripping television drama, and it arrives on a disc packed with interesting extra features. The highlight? Try the audio commentary that comes with the first episode, or The World Of Utopia feature. You get a good deal for your money here... --Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an unusual example of a distinctly niche programme delivered with confidence, conviction and a decent budget. The initial scenario relates to a missing graphic novel, which should narrow down the potential audience dramatically, the first episode includes a lot of violence, including the most sympathetic character being tortured in uncomfortable detail, though not full-on torture porn detail.
Often on screen violence is actually quite entertaining, instead here we have seemingly endless innocent bystanders murdered, sometimes interrogated first. The eventual effect is that we risk becoming as brutalised as the characters themselves. The mix of brutality with casual expediency, is convincingly unsettling and probably much closer to how the world actually operates than the far more usual dramatic heroics.
Apparently viewing figures dropped very dramatically after the first episode. However this is unfair, if you can make it to the end of the first episode, then this is definitely worth sticking with. It does drag at times, and is uncomfortably tense viewing pretty much all the time, but it gives us characters, situations and twists that engage and provoke. This probably sits with Shadow Line as demanding but rewarding fare, but with a far more satisfying conclusion.
Although billed as season one, it is not yet clear whether there will be another series, if there is, it will be hard pressed to keep up the quality of this one.
It also has an 'evil masterplan' that makes you pause for thought about how evil it really is.
The real masterstroke however comes in it's final episode, quite often the 'journey' in these twisty turny things is more involving than the destination but the conclusion is almost entirely satisfying and surprising in its tone- there are a few threads left dangling, certainly enough to warrant a second series...which has just been announced.
Not for the faint hearted and some people may find its ultra stylised tone offputting but personally I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I think a special mention must go to the actor Neil Maskell - the character of Arby is a really interesting mix of chilling and childlike. As I said though all the acting is first class! Please, please, PLEASE give this a watch - you will not be disappointed.........
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I couldn't get into this series. Jessica Hyde was just too irritating and I got bored with the style and the story.Published 8 months ago by Jenny (South Africa)
Conspiracy theory series that seemed to be better the first time around although still immensely enjoyable.Published 11 months ago by N. M. Fletcher
Just brilliant, intelligent, absorbing, compelling viewing. One of the few series that I've watched more than once. Series 2 is just as good.Published 17 months ago by Medulla