TV boxset of the week: Utopia

A WEEKLY guide to the best TV boxset available to stream right now. This week, we examine the brutal graphic novel stylings of Utopia
Spoonfuls of drama from Channel 4's Utopia. Picture: Channel 4Spoonfuls of drama from Channel 4's Utopia. Picture: Channel 4
Spoonfuls of drama from Channel 4's Utopia. Picture: Channel 4


To dish out a full plot synopsis of Utopia is to really spoil the fun of the mystery.

The action stems around the members of an online forum, who find themselves in possession of a manuscript of an unreleased graphic novel said to have predicted a number of disasters of the last century. After being targeted by a number of shady characters looking to reclaim this text, the group go off the grid in order to survive.

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There’s a cartoonish attitude to violence and a black comic edge - creator Dennis Kelly faced stark criticism as as well as rave reviews over this pulpy juxtaposition.


Unlike many other big boxset series, there’s no big-name draw when it comes to hooking you in.

From the very first episode, however, you’re presented with a number of fascinating characters - none so more than Raisin Boy (portrayed by Neil Maskell), an asthmatic assassin with a shuffling gait and a monosyllabic vocabulary. There’s something so menacing and unhinged about Maskell’s zombie hitman that you’re twisting in your seat just at the sound of his heavy breathing.


Easily one of the most near-the-knuckle dramas on British television in a number of years, Utopia danced between light and shade with an elegance that made it unmissable television. There was genuine mystery and a creeping paranoia which meant that you were never one step ahead of the upcoming twists and turns.


Sadly, shows which become the centre of Ofcom attention and critical newspaper headlines never seem to last long. It was revealed last October that Utopia would not be returning for a third series. After much talk of an American HBO remake with David Fincher at the helm, these plans were cancelled in July 2015 due to budget issues. You can catch both series on Channel 4’s on-demand service.