Dystopia, a comic book with a cult following, is believed by some to contain predictors of the virus outbreaks around the world and Utopia, the unpublished follow up to the book, has just been found. Several factions want it and will stop at nothing to get it.
SPOILER LEVEL: Mild
A young couple inherit her grandfather’s house. While cleaning out the clutter he left behind, they discover a manuscript for a comic book called Utopia. Thinking it might be worth some money, they attempt to sell it. They arrange viewings of the book at a comic convention and sell it to the highest bidder. And so begins a shocking, wild and violent adventure in which a comic book may hold the secrets which may determine the fate of the world. Unbeknownst to the couple and even most of the fans of the comic, there are those that theorize the book contains portents of virus outbreaks and the unpublished manuscript could be used to save thousands of lives if not all of humanity.
Five fans (Ian, Becky, Wilson, Grant and Pam) who are part of a web group dedicated to Dystopia, the comic which preceded Utopia, finally decide to meet up at the convention and try to buy the book. Four of them eventually meet, but Grant never shows up. They are ordinary “Fan Boys” who think the book holds hidden secrets. At the same time, a new virus has broken out in three different cities and seem to be tied to a pharmaceutical company who has just marketed a synthesized meat that is being served in several schools.
The previews for Utopia made me think this was going to be a lighthearted romp about a comic book that was actually real and the everyday people who comically try to save the world. In reality, the show is far from that. It is more of a dark comedy, lighter on the comedy and heavier on the dark. The plot is gritty and disturbing in a very timely way. It is hard not to compare the story to real life, a conspiracy about a virus ravaging through humanity, sounds very familiar (writing this review while sheltering in place). The thing is this is a remake of a 2013 British show of the same name, so it was not intended to be a reflection of the current world situation.
I found the show engaging and intriguing, giving us breadcrumbs and foreshadowing of future events. The writing was smart with many twists I did not see coming. The characters are quirky and mostly endearing. Some of the “Fan Boys” in the first episode were a bit clichéd, but I believe that was intentional. The production value is good and the acting believable. I would like to say I am hooked and will continue watching the show, but I am undecided and here is why: I am tired of senseless and gratuitous torture and killing. Main characters that we sympathize with being abruptly killed. Gore for the shock value. This reflects our time, but I miss the good old days, that when a main character was killed, it was a huge deal. In today’s television, it is just expected and I long for nice characters to win and survive a series. But that is just me.
Overall, the show is well done and intriguing with a good plot that fits right into today’s world. I will probably continue watching, as I can’t stand not knowing how it resolves and where the breadcrumbs that have already been dropped leads.
Where is Jessica Hyde
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Acting - 9/109/10
Music - 8/108/10
Production - 10/1010/10
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