Arriving next week on DVD and Blu-ray here in the UK comes Dennis Kelly's triumphantly conspiratorial series 'Utopia'. A wonderfully written and directed show that once again highlights Channel 4's astute eye for such unique televisual projects. Channel 4 are brilliantly selective about their projects especially when it comes to original drama and in just the first couple of months of 2013 it has already showcased this keen eye.
'Utopia', along with the excellent second season of the Charlie Brooker penned 'Black Mirror', brings together an overwhelming number of modern day themes and paranoid sensibilities. Unlike 'Black Mirror', which focuses more on a technology based paranoia within a singular episodic set up, 'Utopia' is an excellently crafted drama serial which slowly unravels themes of global conspiracy and organisations whom act outside of governmental bodies and above society.
The story follows a small mixed group of fans of a cult graphic novel called 'The Utopia Experiments'. The novel itself is said to have predicted disasters over the last century and acts as a great catalyst for conspiracy theorists and paranoid delusionists to come together and discuss its validity. When a group of forum members decide to meet up after the revelation that a second follow-up novel has been published things start to take a turn for the worse and the group soon find theirselves targeted by a mysterious organisation known only as 'The Network'.
Aside from the quality in direction, cinematography and even sound 'Utopia' is highlighted ever further by the use of increased contrast and vivid colouring throughout. The whole show, from the marketing to the overall on screen visual experience, is all encased by this unique look and 'branding' that makes it all the more impactful. The style choice is a wonderfully welcome move especially when you think that the action being set in Britain could have quite as easily gone the other way and reflected its subject matter more by introducing bleak, unattractive and dull colour schemes. Yet 'Utopia' is vibrant and glossy and truly stains the retinas.
There's plenty of British talent on show here in the form of Nathan Stewart-Jarrett of 'Misfits' fame, 'Four Lions' star Adeel Akhtar, Welsh actress Alexandra Roach ('The Iron Lady'), Fiona O'Shaughnessy and excellent child star Oliver Woollford. And of course Arby the hired hitman played by Neil Maskell, who previously starred in Ben Wheatley's terrifically macabre British crime thriller 'Kill List', who is outstanding.
The show is gloriously violent, within its own context, and really attacks the senses and lives long in the mind episode to episode. Whether there's enough scope to bring around a second season is yet to be seen but with the creative talent whom have been involved in this project it should definitely receive more exploration.
'Utopia' is clearly a conspiracy theorists wet dream but more so it's a well written thriller that never lets up, keeps asking questions and slowly disentangles the truth. It’s epic like qualities and visual style give it a real cinematic feel and it’s superbly executed on all levels. It lands on DVD and Blu-ray here in the UK from Monday 11th March and we have a copy of each up for grabs in our latest giveaway as well as an exclusive copy of 'The Utopia Experiments' graphic novel itself! Check them both out at the links below.
'Utopia' Giveaways here at the Horror Asylum:
- Utopia Blu-ray and DVD Giveaway
- Exclusive Utopia Comic Book Giveaway