Utopia

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Emily Clark

TV Series Review

Years ago, comic book enthusiasts became enthralled with a series called Dystopia. It told the story of a young girl named Jessica Hyde and how she was kidnapped by the nefarious Mr. Rabbit in order to blackmail her father (a brilliant scientist) into creating horrible diseases to unleash upon humanity.

However, a few conspiracy theorists realized that if you looked a little more closely at the pages of the story, these diseases weren’t fictional at all. In fact, Dystopia predicted some of the worst epidemics our world has ever seen—MERS, Ebola and Zika to name a few.

Utopia was supposed to be the sequel (and supposedly the cure to all these diseases), but the manuscript got lost.

Found years later in the home of a dead man (who may or may not have also been the author), Utopia is sold at a comic-book convention—but with one tiny caveat. Everyone who sees the book is killed shortly after.

A few fans hope to change that trend.

Stay Alive, Jessica Hyde

Sam, Becky, Ian, Wilson and Grant (who met each other online through Dystopia’s fan sites) are fortunate enough to escape the carnage with Utopia in tow. But it’s now a race to figure out the clues hidden within the pages to uncover Mr. Rabbit’s true identity and stop him before he can unleash another deadly virus.

Luckily, they’re not alone on this quest. Turns out that Dystopia’s heroine, Jessica Hyde, is a real person. Like her character, she’s trained in martial arts, advanced weaponry and wants to kill Mr. Rabbit. But also like her character, she’s a wanted woman.

It seems the mysterious Mr. Rabbit will go to any lengths not only to prevent people from revealing his evil plan but also to reclaim Jessica. And as everyone is about to discover, the consequences for failure will alter the future of the whole world.

Utopian Mindset, Dystopian Future

Generally, when we think of “utopia,” we picture an ideal society—one where religions and politics don’t collide, where disease has been outridden and everyone has plenty of what they want and need—not unlike the fictional society depicted in Thomas More’s novel of the same name.

However, in the show Utopia, the name has quite a different meaning…

It still refers to an idealistic society, but one created not through order and cooperation but rather through chaos and mass genocide. And as our heroes discover as they attempt to help Jessica save the world, sometimes it’s actually better to be content with what you already have.

This is clearly a show that is made to make you think and see similarities between this story and what is happening in our world today. So much so that every episode starts with a disclaimer that the events in Utopia are fictional, not real.

But besides the show’s philosophical queries, we find plenty of other questionable content: cursing (including the f-word), underage drinking, sex and violence—lots of violence.

For a heroine, Jessica Hyde is surprisingly trigger-happy. And she’s not particularly picky about whether or not the people she kills are good guys or bad guys. If you get in her way, then you’ll wind up dead.

This disturbing violence extends to some of the show’s younger characters as well, with a young girl named Alice shooting a woman in self-defense and later expressing that doing so made her feel good (if only briefly). And that’s nothing to say for the violent (albeit hands-off) actions of Mr. Rabbit, who is responsible for innumerable deaths through his pandemics.

When it comes down to it, Utopia is an imaginary place we could all probably do better to forget—and the same could be said of this show.

Episode Reviews

Sept. 9, 2020, Episode 1: “Life Begins”

Five online friends travel to a comic-book convention to meet each other and purchase the original manuscript of their favorite comic book.

A couple makes out. Another couple enters a hotel room kissing (and it is heavily implied they mean to have sex). Some outfits bare midriffs and cleavage. (We also see a woman’s underwear beneath her short skirt.) Someone talks about masturbation. Some men cross-dress for a comic convention.

People have drinks at a bar and inside a hotel room. One man says he is drunk. A child drinks from a bottle of champagne but spits it out. Someone vapes. A man talks about being a “crackhead.”

Nearly a dozen people are shot point-blank in the head and we see lots of blood splatter. Five people are forced at gunpoint to receive lethal injections before being staged to look as though they died of drug overdoses. A man hits a woman in the face, knocking her out. A man is stabbed in his hand with a statue. We hear that 18 children have died at an elementary school as the result of a deadly flu strain.

We see pictures from the comic books Dystopia and Utopia depicting cannibals, people bleeding from their eyes, a woman in a revealing dress lying dead on the floor and giant rabbits killing and eating people and their entrails.

A girl with an unknown disease has a seizure and falls to the floor. A girl says that rallies make people feel better for doing “nothing.” Someone calls people who believe in God “ignorant.” We see a cross drawn in the background of a comic strip. A child lies to his family to travel to a comic book convention and then lies again in order to gain access to a hotel’s penthouse.

We hear multiple uses of the f-word and s-word. “H—,” “a–,” “b–ch” and “d–n” are also heard. And we also see the f-word, “a–” and “b–ch” written on screen. God’s name is misused a few times as well.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

Latest Reviews

Drama

Helstrom

I’m not exactly sure who knocked on Hulu’s door to request yet another demon-themed show, but I’m not sure it was a door that needed to be opened.

Crime

Swamp Thing

A few nice elements are not bright enough to illuminate the problematic issues within these muddied waters.

Drama

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access does indeed take the franchise some places it hasn’t been before.

Comedy

One Day at a Time

This re-imagining of the 1970s sitcom has been critically acclaimed, but it comes with more than one problem.