Utopia may be one of the most self-aware conspiracy dramas out there. Seeming to have carefully studied LOST, Fringe, Prison Break and the like, Utopia cuts through all the weight and mystery by revealing its back story at a heavy pace from pretty much the first episode and continuing as it started. There is no hanging around to find out what the hell the polar bears were supposed to be there for.
It concerns a graphic novel written by a patient in a mental hospital that turns out to be a scientist who was working on some pretty dodgy stuff. A group of fans stumble onto the manuscript for the sequel to The Utopia Experiments and suddenly they are on the run, fighting for their lives and trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
Surprisingly for a conspiracy thriller, this is answered pretty quickly. It doesn’t go down the route of Lost by drawing out all the mysteries, instead the threat is revealed pretty quickly and the suspense is maintained through the chase. The ultimate question Utopia asks is how can our protagonists, and the rest of the world, face down an enemy with almost unlimited resources who believe they are working for the greater good? Later on the question evolves to become should they even be trying to stop them?
The show tackles some terrifying political and social concepts without being heavy handed with them and being darkly funny in some places with the sheer horror being punctuated with great lines. The main cast turn out solid performances that handle the subtle changes in tone brilliantly. It also ends with a great twist and plenty of room for the second series that has recently been commissioned.
The entire first series can be viewed on 4od or on DVD and I suggest you give it a watch!