Where is Jessica Hyde?

Friday, January 18th

Where is Jessica Hyde?

That question was asked repeatedly, throughout the scariest and most stylish thriller I've seen in a long time.  And now, I've got to wait until Tuesday (I think it's Tuesday) before I can watch the second episode.  Which is probably a good thing, because it's going to take a couple of days before I relax after the scene with the chillis, sand, bleach and teaspoon.

If you really want to scare yourself, you should download it, watch it and then go to http://utopia.channel4.com

Friday, 25th January

You know how… sometimes… you watch a really cool TV series?  You’re just on episode two and you’re dying to know how it’s all going to turn out.  You hope it’s a fairly short series, so you don’t have to wait too long to get to the conclusion and get some answers.  And you know that if it’s a short series, then… when it’s all over… you’re probably going to be frustrated that it was so short, because you were enjoying it.

I just watched episode two of Utopia.  It’s a whole week before the next episode and it’s six episodes long.  This is going to seem like an eternity.

Saturday, 26th January

Never underestimate the power of good background music in a TV series.  I think it’s this, more than anything else, that keeps me gripped and makes me think ofTrainspotting.  Although I’m not quite sure what the connection is.

Follow the link and listen to the music.  Especially the first track.  It's beautiful... and sinister and quirky and threatening... just like the series.

http://cristobaltapiadeveer.bandcamp.com/album/utopia-coming-soon

Wednesday, January 30th

****!

I don’t have a TV and I didn’t see last night’s episode of Utopia, so I’ve been waiting for someone to upload it and nobody has done so, which means I can’t download it and people are talking about it on Tumblr, which means I can’t read anything and it’s driving me up the wall so much that I can’t even form coherent sentences any more.

   
Thursday, January 31st

I finally managed to see Utopia on YouTube - but only with a lot of hassles with the constant buffering.  Frustrating as ****, but the programme has me addicted.

So... more questions than ever.  And some fascinating characters.

I'm just a little concerned... that when it's all done... the quirkiness of the plot and the various characters is going to be overwhelm the actual resolution.  Perhaps it's all just going to go mental, leaving us with a culmination that's action packed, violent and spectacular, but will just leave us feeling cold and underwhelmed.

You know those horror films that used to be popular in the '80s?  Where a bunch of people would be stalked and slaughtered and it would culminate in a showdown with the final survivor and the killer?  And as the credits roll, you're left with the final image of some poor victim who's left battered and bruised and traumatised.  You're left wondering if there's any possibility that she could ever (and it usually is a "she") rebuild her life after all that.  So you're left wondering what she achieved, simply through surviving.

The brutality... the people being continually caught in the crossfire... is going to leave the survivors of Utopia incredibly damaged.  If there are any survivors.  And that makes me a bit worried that ultimately, it's all going to leave me comparing them to that last, battered survivor in an '80s horror film.

Wednesday, February 6th

Well, that was part four of Utopia.  We're more than halfway through the series, and despite earlier reservations, I'm more hooked than ever.

I can't remember the last time a TV series captivated so many people in this way.  The few that spring to mind are those that were televised before we routinely turned to the internet to discuss it, but I'm sure there must have been something more recent than that.

My favourite example would have been The Crow road.  But even that was a television adaptation of a book, so those who had already read it probably weren't able to take part in those conversations at work or (in my case) on the latest Employment Training course on a Monday morning.  They must have been biting their tongues.

This one, though... Utopia... this one doesn't have any pre-existing format going on.  It's brand new, so everyone is coming to every episode completely fresh and we're all bewildered and hooked.  The lurid and washed-out colours, the eery and sinister music, the characters we love, but... well, we don't trust any of them.  Which is great, because they don't trust each other.  They keep secrets, they hide things and they have conflicting motivations which aren't even entirely clear.

And one character in particular has revealed himself to be deeply loathsome in one key respect.  For the sake of spoilers, I'm not going to go into specifics, but he was threatened in episode three.  The threat was foul and chilling.  And yet... his actions since then... well, there's no way he could avoid any complicity in what happens if the threat is carried out.  It's just not possible.

Fair enough - you could make an argument for "the greater good" or "the needs of the many", here.  And if the odds seemed any less insurmountable, I might agree.  In this case, though... this was a threat that should not have been ignored.

Wednesday, February 13th



Episode five of Utopia has finished.  Just one more to go, and that's our lot.

 

It's been compulsive viewing since the very first episode.  Both compulsive and chilling within the first five minutes, in fact.  And completely baffling - to the extent that I wasn't sure whether there would be any real answers, or just a lot more confusion along the way.  It left me warily anticipating something containing an amalgam of the very worst points of Twin Peaks and Lost.

 

But the answers are trickling in, bit by bit.  The nature of the conspiracy is revealed, and it's both credible and logical.  Arby and Jessica have a lot to talk about and some of the revelations aren't exactly unexpected, but one telegraphed moment isn't exactly devastating.  Becky's secret is revealed and that one probably should have been anticipated, too - the clues were definitely there.  It ultimately leaves her with a bit of a dilemma - albeit one that probably wouldn't be too difficult to overcome.  Wilson has a decision of his own to make and it involves making a difficult moral choice.

 

The conflicts and the betrayals are coming in thick and fast, now.  Morality is becoming harder to identify and the dynamics of the group are definitely frayed as they have to make some hard choices that they don't all agree with.  But actions still have to be taken and decisions still have to be made and they still have to work together, so there's a sense of them being carried along with the momentum at times.

 

One more episode to go.  And now, my main fear is that Channel Four may have decided that Utopia is good enough to warrant a second series - and therefore a continuing story.  This is not one that can be repeatedly extended, because resolutions need to be found and the story needs to conclude.  To drag it out would be to run the very real risk of simply diluting what made it so compulsive in the first place.

TheNakedPoet TheNakedPoet
46-50, M
1 Response Jan 20, 2013

Now I have to go check this out....

It's worth checking out. I thought it was great. Very disturbing too, though.