The Hunger Games meets Footloose? Glee crossed with Divergent? Whatever the combination, the uniqueness of Hulu’s new original teen series Utopia Falls is attention-getting. This newly-released dystopian future-set sci-fi dance drama (yes, really) has me curious.
Utopia Falls finds us in a ravaged future Earth, where the last living colony lives in the idyllic settlement of New Babyl. Teens are highly trained in dance performance as a way of paying tribute to their founders, and with the hope of being selected to take part in the annual Exemplar competition. However, one group of champions stumbles upon a secret archive Which reveals a host of cultural artifacts erased from the history of New Babyl. Among these genres, the teens discover hip-hop and embrace the rebellious spirit of the music and dance on a journey that will upset the status quo and unravel the mystery of their past heritage.
How to watch Utopia Falls
Utopia Falls is a Hulu Original, and the entire 10-episode first season will be available to subscribers of the streaming service beginning on February 14. Not yet a subscriber? Hulu plans start at just $7.99 a month. Other plans include $11.99/month for commercial-free Hulu and $54.99/month for Hulu with live-TV of up to 50 channels and on-demand features.
A special three-service bundle is also available combining the basic limited-commercial Hulu service with the hot new Disney+, as well as ESPN+, for only $12.99 a month. Hulu can be watched through Hulu.com online, as well as apps for Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Xbox, and mobile devices. See our review of Hulu for more details.
Why Watch Utopia Falls
This self-proclaimed “genre-bending” sci-fi show really does feel unique, if a bit odd. The mix of musical performance with a dystopian sci-fi world is intriguing, as is the choice to focus on the hip-hop world musically. And while there are a lot of questions about the plot, and how exactly dance can set off a political revolution, honestly, that’s not a hard concept. Once you consider the role art and performance have played culturally and the power of dominance that can be gained by suppressing a culture’s creative expression, it makes sense. With Hulu’s focus on teen audiences, they are looking to tap into a generation that is politically active, socially conscious, and looking for a reflection of their diversity in popular television—while still feeling relevant to their interests of music, dance, and adventure in entertainment.
It doesn’t hurt that Utopia Falls looks good, visually. The production team has gathered strong names on both the sci-fi and music sides of the process, including creator and director R.T. Thorne (Blindspot) and showrunner Joseph Mallozzi (Dark Matter, Stargate franchise), who both serve as executive producers. The music and dance draw on hip hop, pop, Latin, house, classical, and Indigenous sounds and styles, and includes music by Kendrick Lamar, Alessia Cara, The Notorious B.I.G., The Roots, Jessie Reyez, Daniel Caesar, Bill Withers. The show has pulled in multi-platinum music producer Boi-1da (Rihanna, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar) to oversee music, and renowned choreographer Tanisha Scott (Rihanna, Sean Paul, Cardi B) leads the performance direction.
The range of young performers have appeared in Riot Girls, American Gods, Supernatural, Orphan Black, Dark Matter, Make it Pop, and a wide range of both science fiction and teen pop series, and hip hop icon Snoop Dogg lends his voice to the show as the mysterious Archive. With its dystopian, Afrofuturism style, well-dedicated production budget, and unarguably talented performers, Utopia Falls stands half a chance of making a splash.
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