Utopia TV series released on DVD (3 stars)

Utopia TV series released on DVD

Peculiarly British modern-day conspiracy thriller


‘What do I have to do to convince you people I’m on your fucking side?’ For anyone who has yet to see the finale of Utopia, it would be unfair to reveal the identity of the person who utters those words, but it does nutshell the last episode’s winding intrigue. It would be negligence bordering on the criminal were there not to be stoppage-time twists and turns in a modern-day conspiracy thriller such as Utopia, but the character revelations only serve to highlight a weaker second half to a drama that kicked off in a blaze of truly icky glory.

In melding bits of the hottest US mystery TV dramas of recent times (there’s a hint of 24 in our inability to fully trust anyone at all while the somewhat arch comic bookness recalls Heroes), writer Dennis Kelly and a directorial team including Marc Munden have delivered something peculiarly British. Its collection of banal demons and sarcastic truth-seekers couldn’t really exist anywhere else as the hunt for meaning within a graphic novel manuscript gets very dirty indeed.

Paul Higgins is superb as the constantly conflicted civil servant and James Fox is sinister upper-crustness personified, while Fiona O’Shaughnessy makes for an excellent emotionless assassin. And a big thumbs-up to the design team, who have explored every possible green and yellow in their palette to instil a sense of ill-conceived optimism into the viewer as the action plunges headlong towards its dark and desperate dénouement.

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