12 items from 2014
This review contains spoilers.
Of the many riddles we’ve been set by Utopia’s Sphinx-like second series, one is yet to be asked: what’s Lee’s story? Episode three belonged to Paul Ready’s hit man in the acid yellow suit, but unlike Arby and Jessica, we still don’t know the first thing about his origins. Some mysteries, we suppose, need to be saved for a potential third series – if, that is, Lee survives for that long on Arby’s shit list.
The sharp-suited psycho opened the episode by committing the most unfazed, unflappable TV murder since Lorne Malvo left our screens. Lee’s soft-spoken, genial approach to villainy is pure Utopia; comical, nasty and unsettling. Never one to rush, even with a gun pointed at his head »
In the swish screening room underneath Channel 4’s London headquarters, Utopia director Marc Munden chatted to a group of Den Of Geek readers after a preview screening of the first two surprising, stunning episodes of series two.
Catch up on what was said, from big yellow bags to moral quandaries, rhino dung and more…
That first episode is quite a bold one insofar as it has none of the characters as we know in it, how hard was that to get past the channel? Was there much debate about doing it that way?
I think people were sceptical and then when Dennis started to write it people just got behind it. Once Dennis had written it, everyone just came on board and it just got better and better. »
Utopia’s series 2 opener is a surprising, bold, strikingly handsome hour of television. Here’s Louisa’s review…
This review contains spoilers. Our spoiler-free review is here.
You won’t hear that last question from us, not only because there’s a rude word in it, but also because the opening episode is superb and Kelly’s reasons for going back in time couldn’t be clearer. Documenting the beginnings of Janus, establishing the brutal scope of The Network’s power, and fattening up the emotional lives of Jessica, Arby and Milner gives Utopia series two an unshakeable foundation. Kelly’s “very odd first episode”, it turns out, is nothing short of a masterstroke. »
We're putting on a very special screening event, where you can see the first two episodes of Utopia series 2 - before they're broadcast!
Please Note: We'll be allocating tickets for this on Wednesday 2nd July. Any not able to get in will be popped on the reserve list. We've had a big response, so please bear with us!
Since Utopia first hit our screens, HBO has picked up the rights for a Us take on the material, which is being directed by David Fincher. But whilst work on that continues, Utopia series 2 - from writer Dennis Kelly and director Marc Munden - is primed and ready over here.
And we've got a very special event to welcome the show back.
A select »
Utopia’s second series will satisfy and surprise fans in equal measure. Here are our spoiler-free thoughts on the first two episodes…
Utopia’s stylish, surprising second series opener makes few concessions for newcomers; everything it does, it does for its fans. That’s your first nudge to catch up on series one before the second run starts on Channel Four in mid-July.
After some pleasing disorientation, the first episode places its audience securely back in the world of The Network and Utopia’s unwieldy central dilemma: what should humans do about impending bloodshed caused by overpopulation?
The Network’s answer to that question was the first series’ hidden conspiracy, and it’s one Utopia hasn’t finished wrestling with yet. Series two gets stuck in to the philosophical scrap immediately, staging ethical debates between characters asking the difficult questions.
Dotted amongst the speeches on moral philosophy, there are »
Utopia returns this July with a second series that promises to be stronger than the first. Its creative team discusses how it was made...
Read our spoiler-free thoughts on the first two episodes of Utopia's second series, here.
Woven into Utopia series one’s handsome game of chase was a genuine dilemma. The human population is fast outgrowing the planet’s resources. Can the inevitable be avoided, and at what cost?
The series two opener delves into that debate with characteristic daring and style. Without giving anything away, it’s a surprising and satisfying hour that fleshes out character and motive - arguably the only weak link in Utopia’s first run. As an hour of television, it’s violent, funny, often beautiful, and crammed with big ideas. In short it’s Utopia squared. Fans of series one will not be disappointed.
Improving on the first series was »
A brand new series of the darkly comic conspiracy thriller Utopia is coming to Channel Four this July, written by Dennis Kelly (Pulling, Matilda: The Musical) and lead-directed by visionary Marc Munden (The Devil's Whore, The Crimson Petal And The White).
Utopia series two reunites what's left of the gang to tackle the big, unanswerable questions of the first, with just as much style, just as many surprises and grimly comic moments, and - judging by episodes one and two - even more bloodshed. For fans of the first run, it's simply not to be missed.
Here's the first trailer for Utopia series two, or 'Utopia Squared' as the new logo would have it. Not a bad description, that.
Read more about Utopia on Den Of Geek, here.
One of the most vital cogs in the television machine is the people who make it all come to life so, as every year, we’d all like to pass on our huge congratulations to all those who picked up an award last night at the BAFTA Television Craft Awards! It was hosted by Stephen Mangan at The Brewery, City of London for the second year running where presenters included Lennie James, Kara Tointon, Emilia Fox, Arthur Darvill, Patsy Palmer, Victoria Wood and Reece Shearsmith.
Reaffirming the strength and depth of talent working in the British television industry today, a wide range of outstanding television was recognised across the awards with no single programme dominating the ceremony. Historical gangster epic Peaky Blinders received two BAFTAs, one for Otto Bathurst, winning the award for Director: Fiction, and one for George Steel, winning for Photography & Lighting: Fiction. An Adventure in Space and Time, »
- Dan Bullock
A year after it's run on C4 in the UK a year ago, the 6-part, 6-hour series Utopia, which co-stars Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits), is now available in the USA, on Blu-ray. Paul Higgins, Alexandra Roach and Neil Maskell join Stewart-Jarrett in a series directed by Marc Munden, from a script written by Dennis Kelly, which tells the following story: The Utopia Experiments is a legendary graphic novel shrouded in mystery. But when Ian, Becky, Grant and Wilson Wilson, a small group of previously unconnected people find themselves in possession of an original manuscript of the fabled book, their lives suddenly and brutally implode. Targeted swiftly and »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Black Sails, Season 1: Episode 7 – “VII.”
Written by Michael Angeli
Directed by Marc Munden
Airs Saturday nights at 9 on Starz
It’s amazing to see the differences between an exposition-heavy episode of Black Sails in its seventh episode and an exposition-heavy episode in its second or third. By now, most of the characters are fleshed out so that even if you might not be invested in them and their conflicts, their intentions are clear. The problem with the information dumps earlier in the season were mainly that the there wasn’t much in the way of action and thus the stakes were ambiguous. Now that we’ve seen plenty of people die along the way, the stakes couldn’t be more evident, making the drama surrounding Flint’s crazed mission both compelling and exciting.
That’s not to say that the exposition here is terribly interesting, as “VII.” functions much »
- Sean Colletti
Black Sails, Season 1: Episode 5 – “V.”
Written by Doris Egan
Directed by Marc Munden
Airs Saturday nights at 9 on Starz
Much of Black Sails‘ first season has been methodical character-building, and while “V.” doesn’t let up on putting effort into constructing these people and their lives, its centerpiece is something the season has been needing since its opening moments – a battle on the open seas. This is a series about pirates, after all, and the payoff for waiting for a sequence like this is surprisingly effective. Just on the technical level, this is something that a lot of viewers will have been waiting to see. The strategy that Flint executes to get his ship in position to board another is the kind of risk-reward move that fits with the captain, who is constantly in danger of losing everything. Using a pirate prototype of a sniper, the crew weathers a »
- Sean Colletti
News Louisa Mellor 13 Feb 2014 - 07:50
Utopia, currently in production on series two, will return to Channel 4 later this year. Wait a little longer, and like Broadchurch before it, the series will also have a Us twin. It's been that announced Fight Club and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo's David Fincher will be continuing his collaboration with Gone Girl's Gillian Flynn to produce a remake for HBO.
If Channel 4's Utopia was going to end up anywhere on Us TV, then HBO is the place. Depending on how faithful a remake the Fincher/Flynn version of the 2013 series will be, there are a handful of scenes that the networks might find very difficult to swallow.
The premise of the series, »
12 items from 2014
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