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Hello Tomorrow!

Hello Tomorrow season 1





Paul Asay

TV Series Review

Jack Billings is a whale of a salesman. He could sell sirloin to a herd of Holsteins, electric guitars to librarians. Why, he could even sell timeshares on the moon.

In fact, that’s just what he and his team of misfits does.

Looney Wounds

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Not in this retro vision of the future.

Jack lives in a future world straight from 1953. Cars have big fins, lots of chrome and hover down the street. Newspapers are still a thing, but paperboys shoot ‘em out of high-tech air cannons on the backs of their bikes. Robots walk dogs, serve beer and polish the kitchen floor.

And yep, you can live on the moon, too—if you’re rich enough.

Or, at least that was the case before Brightside came to be.

Brightside, Jack tells his clients, is all about bringing the moon down to earth (figuratively speaking). It’s about putting the pock-marked planetoid within reach of everyday Joes and Janes.

“Why should the rich and the famous get the moon all for themselves?” Jack asks. And his clients agree,forking over copious amounts of cash to reserve a condo—a down payment on a dream.

While Jack peddles dreams, Shirley collects the dough, juggling upgrades and reservations and making sure the sales op runs smoothly. Grizzled sales vet Eddie (who’s also secretly Shirley’s lover) desperately tries to keep his sales up to feed his insane gambling addiction—and keep one step ahead of his violent creditors. Herb is the ultimate company man, his eye on making Jack proud and making himself a lot of cash.

And then there’s Joey, the newest member of the team. He’d dreamed of going to the moon, too—going so far as to put a down payment on a nice, cozy condo. But Jack told him to keep his money and work for him instead.

To the rest of the team, Jack’s fondness for Joey is a puzzle. After all, Joey has never sold anything in his life, except maybe the rare can of processed meat at the grocery store.

But Jack has a secret: Joey is his son—a boy he abandoned long ago. Now he means to make up for lost time. And if he can’t admit to being Joey’s father, perhaps he can become a late-in-life father-figure, which the guy could certainly use.

But that, alas, is not Jack’s only secret.

Dark Side of the Moon

The moon looks pretty enough from our vantage point. Step on its surface, though—sans Brightside’s protective glass bubbles—and you’ll find it’s a much darker, colder place.

The same could be said for Hello Tomorrow! This fun, pulpy, retro-futuristic world covers something sinister. What at first looks like a love letter to American optimism and ingenuity contorts, nightmare-like, into a condemnation of unfettered greed and deception. And oddly, these dual messages sometimes roll into one. It’s The Jetsons meets Breaking Bad.

The content breaks bad itself. In keeping with the show’s retro vibe, the language is checked—until it isn’t. (Expect a handful of f-words and other profanities in each episode.) Violence is rare, but when it does show up, it appears in a big way. And it’s all the more jarring because of its rarity and the show’s faux-optimism.

In the very first episode, for example, an automated delivery van trundles through a neighborhood, delivering packages. Its AI slams on the brakes to avoid hitting a dog—then backs up rapidly and slams into a woman collecting a box. The van happily returns to its rounds, while the woman’s body sits crumpled against the garage door, a bloody splash marking her impact.

Given that the show is centered on salesmanship, it’s oddly fitting that Hello Tomorrow! is itself a bit of a bait-and-switch. While the wrapping may make it feel like a light, witty diversion, unbox the thing and you’ll find a darker beast. And that may mean saying goodbye to Hello Tomorrow! before it even makes it through the door.

Episode Reviews

Feb. 17, 2023—S1, Ep1: “Your Brighter Future Tomorrow, Today”

Jack receives a note and tells Shirley that headquarters wants them to leave a promising market and head to Vistaville instead. But Jack has his own, more personal reasons for going. While he’s there, he meets his now-grown son, Joey. And while Jack doesn’t introduce himself as Joey’s father, he does offer the guy a job.

Joey’s mother is hit by a delivery van: Her lifeless body sits in her driveway against the bloodied and damaged garage door. (We later see her in a care facility, apparently in a coma.) A man’s finger is broken by a thug. He later blames the injury on a faulty urinal flusher.

A man drinks heavily at a bar. Several characters drink whiskey. We hear talk of broken families. Jack tells a man that he’s going to upgrade his moon condo, just in case he wants to invite his girlfriend up there. (The man tells Jack he doesn’t have a girlfriend, but he appreciates the gesture.) Characters say the f-word three times and the s-word four. We also hear “a–”, “d–n” and six uses of “g-dd–n,” along with one abuse of Jesus’ name.

[Spoiler Warning] Jack’s entire operation is fake, and he’s the only one who knows it. He’s lying not just to his customers, but to his employees. Even Brightside’s main spokesman, a former TV star, is delusional, thinking he’s living the good life on the moon when in truth, he’s in a care facility. (Jack pops in to take a few more “moon rocks” out of the aquarium that holds the star’s pet turtle and tells him that he’s heading back down to earth again.)

Feb. 17, 2023—S1, Ep2: “Great Salesmen Make Their Own Turf”

It’s Joey’s first day as a moon condo salesman for Brightside. And for the most part, it’s a terrible one at that. Jack continues to cheer him on, but his co-workers, Eddie and Herb, are less-than-encouraging. Meanwhile, Shirley uses some refund money to run some Brightside ads in Vistaville, much to Jack’s horror.

Eddie and Herb try to sell a man and woman a moon condo. Eddie quickly picks up that the woman isn’t the man’s wife (a picture of his real bride sits on a counter nearby) and coyly suggests that the condo could be a lover’s getaway. Herb doesn’t pick up on those cues, but he later visits the house again, meets the real woman of the house and tells her (in so many words) that her husband is having an affair.

Eddie breaks into a car and tries to steal some cash to make a bet on a baseball game. A woman sabotages dinner to set her and her husband’s house on fire. Eddie dips Joey’s tie in his food, ensuring that Joey will make a bad first impression on his first day. (Jack loans him one of his ties.) Characters say the s-word twice. We also hear a few uses of “d–n,” “h—”, “g-d–n” and “p-ss.” Jesus’ name is abused once.

Feb. 17, 2023—S1, Ep3: “A Traveling Salesman Travels”

After a wildly successful evening, Jack and the team prepare to leave Vistaville for new territory. But Joey says he can’t join them: He needs to stay with his critically injured mother. Jack pulls out all the stops to encourage him to come. Meanwhile, Herb lets a female customer spend the night in his hotel room. Eddie buys Shirley a spectacular bit of jewelry instead of paying off his gambling debts. And a form-pushing bureaucrat is beginning to suspect something’s not quite right about Brightside.

Eddie and Shirley flirt, with Eddie suggesting that Shirley would look good covered in money and nothing else. In a video call, Herb’s wife spots a woman’s scarf on the bed and suspects Herb of having an affair. (When she sees the woman herself, she feels her suspicions are confirmed, even though Herb is innocent.)

Jack lies and bribes Joey to get him to come with the team. He visits Joey’s mother in the hospital, and we learn that he is still married to her. It’s strongly suggested that Jack’s father committed suicide. Characters drink. Eddie insults Joey and talks to Herb about his supposed “conjugal visitor.” (“Why does everyone think I’m a sex maniac?” Herb asks himself.) Eddie is apparently injured off-camera by a thug.

Two characters kiss. Eddie talks about the trip having an aura of “miracle and salvation.” (Shirley tells him to stop with the “juju talk.”) We hear the f-word five times, the s-word once and several other profanities (“a–,” “b–tard” and “h—”). God’s name is misused a half-dozen times, three of those with the word “d–n.” Jesus’ name is abused thrice.

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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