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Utopia, Channel 4 - TV Review

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Mystery, intrigue, agony and bloodshed has captivated us over the last six weeks with this truly epic, almost real, drama.

Channel 4's Utopia, written by Dennis Kelly, follows a group of Internet geeks who find themselves in possession of a manuscript of a cult graphic novel called Utopia, which is rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. This leads them to be targeted by a government organisation known only as 'The Network', which they must avoid to survive.

This builds and builds, episode by episode, and we gradually learned more and more about 'The Network', the graphic novel Utopia and, of course, the identity of Jessica Hyde.

I have to say, Utopia is simply the best television series I've watched in a long time. There are so many elements of its writing that makes it a poignant piece including the future of man kind, the secretive nature of government for our greater good and, ultimately, man's struggle for knowledge. What is funny, or not so, is that this type of secret governance could actually be going on without us knowing; perhaps horse meat is a way of keeping the population, how apt.

The superb dialogue keeps us gripped from the very first minute of first episode right through to last thirty seconds of episode six. It is beautifully shot, generously directed and features some stunning performances from actors that are not yet on our radar. It is this brilliant combination that has kept our eyes super glued to this glorious, harrowing and almost real work.

The cult graphic novel Utopia, once shrouded in mystery, is about a scientist who makes a pact with the devil for infinite knowledge in return for his soul. Though the legend of Faust, indeed a man who traded his soul for knowledge, is not the primary story running through the series, it seems that this turned into a dark, futuristic sequel to the legend that has captivated audiences for hundreds of years.

Through Twitter, I was able to ask writer Dennis Kelly how much of the story is based of the legend of Faust and his quest for knowledge, he replied:

"@DramaOn4: #AskUtopia @pauljguest Yeah quite a bit. I love that whole deal with the devil stuff i think we humans are always guilty about our knowledge"

I started to wonder which of the protagonists in the series could be our Faust. Kelly proves that Faust, in the present, still remains relevant and valuable. This is because the ideas and thoughts of the work will never have an expiration date and these thoughts can be used and analysed even in the modern world. Our quest for knowledge spans our lifetimes and are never satisfied and Faust's exploration for satisfaction is a journey we will all take in some form - perhaps this was Jessica Hyde's mission - she gave up any sort of life in order to search for answers.

Away from Faust.

There was real suspense from start to finish but I suppose the ending was fairly obvious; however, even in that last bit of short dialogue between Milner and Jessica Hyde I doubted myself, which is crazy, but our expectations were clouded by mystery and unexpected turns throughout - that was the true magic of Dennis Kelly's superb writing.

I'm left with two things: Do I want to know anymore?

And where is Jessica Hyde?

Around the Web

Utopia: episode six – series finale | Television & radio | guardian.co.uk

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