Updated: Apr 30
Starring: Sasha Lane, John Cusack, Rainn Wilson, Jessica Rothe, Dan Byrd, Desmin Borges, Ashleigh Lathorpe, Javon Walton, Farrah Mackenzie
Streaming: Amazon Prime
Review: Klep Napier
Rating: 3.5X’s out of 5X’s
Amazon Prime has had an amazing run in the past year with original content and this coming year promises to be even greater. This year Amazon picked up the rights to an underdog series from the UK titled Utopia.
Cancelled after only two seasons in the UK, ths popular series gained controversial press due to its graphic nature of violence and vulgarity. But that didn’t stop Showrunner Gillian Flynn [Gone Girl, Widows] from snatching the reigns to recreate and release her own US version here in the States.
Utopia follows a group of conspiracy theorist nerds who believe that a comic-book holds predated hidden secrets which have predicted numerous pandemics through the years. Once word gets out that there’s an unreleased sequel to this book making its way to the next comic book convention they all band together to auction this book in order to any future predictions yet to come!
That’s where I'm going to stop folks, because I’ve said too much already. Let me break down the reasons this series works. Yes of course the foundation has already been laid, but Flynn manages to capture the essence of the original Utopia’s eerie tone, character traits and humorous moments and somehow give us an original adaptation that we can sink our teeth into. The series finds a way to distract you from taking sides of each character while still keeping you engaged in the moment. Fan Boys & Girls who Comic book hunt will jump on board immediately during the opening scene throughout the first episode. This is completely your world.
But story isn’t the only thing driving forces into this episodic conspiracy thriller. No, There are a couple of familiar faces thrown around the mix, but it’s the few newer faces that keep this thing grounded. Sasha Lane, [Jessica Hyde] the character name you will never forget, is a sure shot leading lady who brings a "balls to the wall" attitude from the moment she’s introduced. She’s complimented by the colorful group of Nerds along the way like ‘Happy Death Day’s’ Jessica Rothe, Ashleigh LaThorp [Becky], Dan Byrd [Ian], Desmin Borges [Walter Walter] and young boxing sensation Javon “Wanna” Walton [Grant] who’s the MVP of the series for us, considering the character depth he reaches at the age of only 13 years old. Walton and Lane have the most mysterious character arch’s throughout the first season which will keep you engaged for sure. And to top it all off with a cherry, you have veterans John Cusack and Rainn Wilson, who's no stranger to UK television reboots [The Office].
Outside of this great cast and amazing rewrite Utopia [US] simply fails only with the fact that such greatness comes from someone else’s idea. Show runner Gillian Flynn, however, manages to wow us in the Amazonian Prime traditions such as “The Boys” with edgy, and savage underworld violence and relatable characters in a not so relatable world. We hope that in the future more original ideas come from our own back yard. But without a doubt (Utopia) is very much worth the price of streaming!
And as an added bonus, hear what cast members John Cusack and Rainn Wilson had to say to our very Klep Napier about working on the new series below!