Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

We’ve all seen the superbly cryptic adverts. Filled with running actors, ominous voice over and a whole lot of yellow, Channel 4 has done a great job in making us know about the show itself, but nothing about its plot.

Behind the brilliant marketing campaign though, is something utterly different. A pitch black conspiracy thriller based around a comic book that could just be one of the most controversial shows of early 2013.

The basis of the story is a small group of utterly ordinary people (an 11 year old, a disgruntled IT technician, a conspiracy nut and a student) getting themselves caught up in a terrifying conspiracy around the manuscript for a cult graphic novel and having to run from a pair of agents who will stop at nothing to get the manuscript back.

“Why is this controversial though?” we hear you ask, and the answer lies in the menace threatening our protagonist. These are two characters without any notions of right or wrong, no moral compass. The first episode alone makes that perfectly clear in an absolutely horrific scene of torture involving a spoon. That’s probably all we can write here.

It’s not just the occasional graphic outbursts that will leave you drained, as Utopia absolutely nails a feeling of insecurity. No characters ever feel safe, even passers-by could find themselves dead at any moment.

What makes the utter terror bearable though is that Utopia has a wicked sense of humour. It may be pitch black, but the show is genuinely funny, taking many cues from fellow Channel 4 production Misfits. Like that massively popular show, Utopia excels in making the ineptitude of its central characters a great source of humour.

With a brilliant mix rip-ticking comedy and drama that will make you hide behind the cushions, Utopia has all the makings of being another cult hit for Channel 4.


Utopia starts tonight on Channel 4.

FemaleFirst Cameron Smith

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