Amazon’s Utopian Vision

(Photo source: IMDb)

Any show whose trailer features R.E.M’s 1987 “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” has got me hooked from the start, as that song’s been number one on my playlist since the pandemic began. So, are we ready for Utopia?

The eight-episode Amazon Prime series, debuting tomorrow, September 25, was created and written by Gillian Flynn, of Gone Girl and Sharp Objects fame. Unlike that theatrical movie and HBO series respectively, however, Utopia isn’t a crime mystery but a conspiracy thriller.

Utopia is about a group of five fans obsessed with a comic book called “Utopia” who discover hidden meanings inside its pages that threaten humanity — with, it seems, a man-made viral pandemic called the “Stearns Flu.” They get joined in their mission to save the world by the comic’s central character, who turns out to be as real as its conspiracy plot.

John Cusack and Rainn Wilson play a couple of guys with the title of doctor, the comic book hero is played by Sasha Lane, and the comic fans turned adventurers are Ashleigh LaThrop, Dan Byrd, Jessica Rothe, Desmin Borges and Javon “Wanna” Walton.

Flynn based Utopia on a British series of the same name that aired for 12 episodes over Channel 4 in 2013 and 2014, winning an International Emmy for best drama. The original, whose pandemic was christened the “Russian Flu,” is not available on any US streaming service, but here’s the opening scene of episode one:

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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