Utopia (2020 TV series)

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Utopia
Genre
Created byGillian Flynn
Based onUtopia
by Dennis Kelly
Starring
ComposerJeff Russo
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Jessica Rhoades
  • Dennis Kelly
  • Karen Wilson
  • Diederick Santer
  • Sharon Hall
  • Sharon Levy
  • Toby Haynes
Producers
  • Huey M. Park
CinematographyShawn Kim
Stephen Pehrsson
EditorsScott Turner
Kyle Traynor
Lisa Bromwell
Jonathan Schwartz
Running time44–55 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original networkAmazon Prime Video
Picture format4K (UHDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
External links
Website

Utopia is an American science fiction drama television series adapted by Gillian Flynn from the 2013 British original series of the same name. It was released on September 25, 2020, on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service.[1]

In November 2020, the series was canceled after one season of eight episodes.[2]

Premise[edit]

A group of young adults and a boy get ahold of Utopia, a cult underground comic book, which not only pins them as the target of a shadowy organization, but also burdens them with the dangerous task of saving the world. The titular comic is the conclusion of Dystopia, of which the group members are fans and believe it to contain clairvoyant information about diseases that have already struck the world.

Synopsis:[3] A group of comic book fans discover an unpublished manuscript for a graphic novel and come to believe that the manuscript foretells future events. Dark forces are also searching for the manuscript. The comic book fans discover a global conspiracy. The comic book contains clues of future events because is written by one of the architects of a plan designed to prevent ecological disaster as the Earth's population rises and resources are depleted. The plan consists of: (1) Convincing the world's population that there is an outbreak of a deadly new virus, (2) Once convinced of the narrative of the faux-pandemic, announce to the public the creation of a new vaccine, (3) Through the coordination between global elites and non-governmental organizations, governments move quickly to inject the world's population with this “vaccine”.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date [5]
1"Life Begins"Toby HaynesGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
2"Just A Fanboy"Toby HaynesGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
3"Tuesday's Child"Toby HaynesGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
4"not slow not bad"Susanna FogelGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
5"Order 2472"Susanna FogelGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
6"Respect Your Purpose"Courtney HuntGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
7"Talking Hurts"J. D. DillardGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
8"Stay Alive, Jessica Hyde"Toby HaynesGillian FlynnSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Utopia was ordered direct-to-series on April 19, 2018, with an order of nine episodes.[6] It had originally been set up at HBO with David Fincher to direct, but was never produced after a financial dispute.[7][8] On April 19, 2018, Utopia was ordered to series by Amazon.[9] On July 23, 2020, during the San Diego Comic-Con@Home, the first teaser for the series was released and was confirmed to be released in the fourth quarter of 2020.[10] On August 6, 2020, at the TCA virtual panel, showrunner Gillian Flynn announced that there would be less violence than in the British original.[11] The series was released on September 25, 2020.[1] On November 27, 2020, Amazon canceled the series after one season.[2]

Filming[edit]

In June 2018, it was announced the series would start filming by the fourth quarter of 2018.[12] On August 8, 2018, it was announced the series would consist of nine episodes, and probably have three different directors at work, one every three episodes, although it was later confirmed that there would be eight episodes in the first season. Flynn stated, "It won’t have a single director the entire way through. I think we’ll probably have multiple directors. It’s nine episodes, so I think we’ll do it in blocks of three, three and three, and not one director, the whole time through."[13]

On October 16, 2019, the creator of the show, Gillian Flynn, announced that the series' filming was completed.[14]

On August 10, 2020, it was revealed that Jeff Russo would compose the music for the series.[15]

Casting[edit]

During its initial development in 2015, the cast included Rooney Mara, Colm Feore, Eric McCormack, Dallas Roberts, Jason Ritter, Brandon Scott and Agyness Deyn.[16]

In January 2019, Sasha Lane joined the cast of the series.[17] In February 2019, Rainn Wilson, Dan Byrd, Cory Michael Smith, Ashleigh LaThrop, Desmin Borges, Farrah Mackenzie, and Christopher Denham joined the cast of the series.[18][19][20] In April 2019, John Cusack and Jeanine Serralles joined the cast of the series.[21][22] In May 2019, Jessica Rothe, Felisha Terrell and Dustin Ingram joined the cast in recurring roles.[23][24]

Reception[edit]

Many reviews were critical of the poor timing of the release of the show with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its level of violence. Positive marks were given to the pacing and twists in the plot. On Rotten Tomatoes, as of March 26, 2021, the series holds an approval rating of 50% based on 46 reviews, with an average rating of 6.17/10, with the 16 top critics giving it a 5.43 (out of 10) and an approval rating of 37%. The site's critical consensus reads, "Utopia's cast and mystery at times transcend its overtly cynical and overly violent tendencies, but even those willing to look past the torture may find the whole thing too timely—in a bad way."[25] On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100 based on 19 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yang, Rachel (August 18, 2020). "Watch Rainn Wilson and John Cusack tackle a pandemic in Utopia trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 19, 2020. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Goldberg, Lesley (November 27, 2020). "'Utopia' Canceled at Amazon". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Dessem, Matthew. "Amazon's Utopia Should Never Have Been Released in 2020". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (March 29, 2019). "'Utopia': Javon 'Wanna' Walton To Star In Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 10, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "Utopia – Listings". The Futon Critic. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 19, 2018). "Amazon Orders 'Utopia' Drama Series From Gillian Flynn Based On UK Format". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "'Utopia' Remake From 'Gone Girl's' David Fincher, Gillian Flynn Gets HBO Series Order". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 5, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 30, 2015). "David Fincher HBO Pilot 'Utopia' In Jeopardy Over Budget Issues". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 1, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 19, 2018). "'Utopia' Remake Ordered to Series as Amazon Inks Showrunner Gillian Flynn to Overall Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Lee, Janet W. (July 23, 2020). "Amazon's 'Utopia' Trailer Introduces the New Apocalypse at Comic-Con (Watch)". Variety. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  11. ^ Choe, Brandon (August 6, 2020). "'Utopia": Amazon Series Tones Down Violence From British Version – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 7, 2020. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Rose, Lacey. "Amy Adams Goes Dark: 'Sharp Objects' and a Female Antihero for a Troubled Time". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  13. ^ Radish, Christina (August 6, 2018). "Gillian Flynn on 'Sharp Objects', Amy Adams, and Writing for TV". Collider. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  14. ^ "Gillian Flynn on Instagram: "After 116 days, Utopia, my series for Amazon, is officially wrapped! Huge thanks to all the cast and crew for the ride. #UTOPIA"". Instagram. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "Jeff Russo to Score Amazon's 'Utopia'". Archived from the original on September 24, 2020. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 8, 2015). "'Utopia' With David Fincher Dead At HBO As Actors Are Released; Here Is The Cast That Had Been Rehearsing For A Month". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 29, 2019). "'Utopia': Sasha Lane To Star In Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 29, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 20, 2019). "'Utopia': Rainn Wilson To Co-Star In Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  19. ^ Petski, Denise (February 20, 2019). "'Utopia': Dan Byrd & Cory Michael Smith To Co-Star In Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  20. ^ Pedersen, Erik (February 26, 2019). "'Utopia': Ashleigh LaThrop, Desmin Borges, Farrah Mackenzie & Christopher Denham Join Amazon Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 27, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  21. ^ Petski, Denise (April 16, 2019). "'Utopia': John Cusack To Star In Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  22. ^ Petski, Denise (April 22, 2019). "'Utopia': Jeanine Serralles Joins John Cusack, Rainn Wilson & Sasha Lane In Amazon Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 22, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  23. ^ Petski, Denise (May 3, 2019). "'Utopia': Jessica Rothe To Recur In Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 3, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  24. ^ Petski, Denise (May 23, 2019). "'Utopia': Felisha Terrell & Dustin Ingram To Recur On Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 23, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  25. ^ "Utopia (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  26. ^ "Utopia (2020)". Metacritic. Retrieved November 4, 2020.

External links[edit]