While the US networks are busy with its comic books adaptation and whatnot, the Brits on the other hand created a unique show called Utopia.
The series centers on a group of people who find themselves targeted by a shadowy organization called the Network after possessing a graphic novel manuscript. When Becky (Alexandra Roach), Ian (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), Wilson (Adeel Akhtar) and Grant (Oliver Woollford) plan to meet up to look at the second volume of ‘The Utopia Experiments’ graphic novel, little did they know that their lives are going to change. Becky and Ian got arrested for porn crimes the next day, Wilson is abducted and tortured, while Grant an eleven year old boy hides after witnessing a murder. With nowhere to run, the four strangers have to quickly rely on each other to survive as well as to figure out the mess they are into.
The idea of ‘hunted down by a shadowy organization’ is a common plot on TV, but creator Dennis Kelly managed to stretch the idea by adding crazy conspiracy, tons of violence, engrossing action and one of the best TV background score in recent memory by Cristobal Tapia de Veer. The Network’s plan is revealed by episode 5 and it is not the usual twist for TV series. I mean to “sterilize” the entire human race cause by overpopulation is the thing you mostly read in graphic novels. The violence in the series had also causes controversies, where a young girl saw her mother’s murder, or a torture scene where an eye-ball got plucked out!
The characters diversity in Utopia is also worth notice. Actor Nathan Stewart-Jarett (best known for Misfits) returns to TV as one of the lead, Ian, and as usual he rocks the character. Alexandra Roach stars as Becky, your usual twenty-something girl who has a troubling past. Wilson Wilson, a hacker, played by Adeel Akhtar is another character to root for. His sudden switch to antagonist is a great nod to the writer’s creativity. However, Oliver Woollford as the trouble young kid is the one that stands out. I can’t recall other series that managed to write a complex child character, like ever?
Keep in mind that the synopsis above is just the tip of Utopia’s iceberg, since the series also include multiple subplots: the peculiar Jessica Hyde (daughter of Philip Carve who created Utopia graphic novel), the annoying Michael Dugdale (who is forced to work for the Network out of his own stupidity), the creepy Arby (Network’s killer who is interested in Jessica), Milner (an MI5 agent with ulterior motive). The way these subplots intertwined with the main characters is so interesting and thus making Utopia a series I highly recommend.
PS: I just learned about David Fincher’s plan to reboot this series on HBO. I love Fincher and HBO, but really? We shall wait and see.