Utopia Falls Puts the ‘Diss’ in ‘Dystopia’

Utopia Falls. Available now on Hulu.

Imagine, as I suppose you have many times, Footloose set in a Stalinist work camp. Or a Hunger Games in which the weapons are not bows and arrows but manuals of Canadian Choreography for the Big-Butted. Or that you suddenly and unaccountably found yourself with a fatally compelling urge to thrust red-hot pokers into your eyes and ears while praying for a quick descent into the fiery embrace of Hell. This last one, I must dutifully report, is no longer just an amusing fantasy but a genuine likelihood should you decide to watch an episode of Hulu’s dizzying post-apocalyptic rap drama (I am pretty sure I’m the first person ever to type that phrase) Utopia Falls.

Why a reputable American entertainment company would buy an atrocity like the Canadian-made Utopia Falls, or why it would have been made in the first place, or why Canada even has a television industry, are all questions that theologians may debate for centuries. Our purpose here is merely to note that bad TV is a transnational phenomenon that transcends all technologies, platforms and business models. None of us are safe from Canadian television.

Utopia Falls is set in a dystopian world blighted by an unspecified technology run-amok (possibly the Roomba Wars). The survivors live in a giant totalitarian compound called New Babyl—in war, the first casualty is spell-checking—with Marxist undertones. (Motto: “For state, for community, for all.”) Slogans echo from loudspeakers round the clock, practically everything is in short supply, despite—or, more likely, because of—state-mandated production quotas, and most advanced technology is kept in government hands.

“We are all aware of the dangers of technology when used for personal benefit instead of the common good,” says Aliyah (Robyn Alomar, like most of the cast a veteran of Canadian TV), a government flack and daughter of a member of the ruling Tribunal.

She’s also about to become one of the 24 contestants in the Exemplar, a national arts competition that sounds a bit like those in The Hunger Games, except that, unfortunately, no one gets killed, not even in a demure Canadian way. The losers just—well, lose. This makes for a rather tepid

You can read the rest of this article at: https://reason.com/2020/02/14/utopia-falls-puts-the-diss-in-dystopia/