Utopia season 1 primer: Everything to know before you watch

Utopia - Courtesy of Elizabeth Morris / Amazon Studios
Utopia - Courtesy of Elizabeth Morris / Amazon Studios /

Before you watch Utopia season 1 on Amazon Prime Video this Friday, check out our helpful guide regarding everything you need to know before watching.

Utopia season 1 is a new Amazon Prime Video original created by acclaimed author Gillian Flynn. The series has been in development for a while now and originally was going to be another collaboration between Flynn and Gone Girl director David Fincher. Fincher is no longer involved in the project, but Flynn has taken the helm and developed it herself. The series is based on the acclaimed British series of the same name that aired in 2013.

Utopia revolves around a group of fans devoted to the comic book series Dystopia. They meet up at a convention and soon find themselves drawn into a strange world where they discover the comic book — and its sequel Dystopia — are not as fictional as they once believed. The disturbing truth is that their beloved franchise is a real person’s narrative entangled with a deadly global conspiracy.

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Utopia season 1: What should you watch or read before the show begins?

Since Utopia is based on another show of the same name, you might want to watch that first.

However, if you’d prefer to watch Utopia knowing as little as possible, then I would steer clear of the British version.  The British version is not streaming, but you can purchase it. Sometimes it’s fun to compare and contrast the original to the remake. Ultimately, it’s up to you. Watching the 2013 version is not required viewing.

Utopia season 1: A list of the main cast members and who they play

  • Sasha Lane as Jessica Hyde
  • Rainn Wilson as Michael Stearns
  • Dan Byrd as Ian
  • Javon Walton as Grant
  • Cory Michael Smith as Thomas Christie
  • Ashleigh LaThrop as Becky
  • Desmin Borges as Wilson Wilson
  • Farrah Mackenzie as Alice
  • Christopher Denham as Arby
  • John Cusack as Dr. Kevin Christie
  • Jeanine Serralles as Colleen

Happy Death Day star Jessica Rothe also has a recurring role in the series.

Utopia season 1: How many episodes? What is the runtime?

The first season consists of eight episodes. It’s not clear how long they are, but I’m guessing between 45 and 60 minutes each.

Utopia season 1: What are critics saying?

So far, the critical reviews of Utopia season 1 are fantastic. On Rotten Tomatoes, 9 out of 10 critics rated the series “Fresh.”

Nick Allen from Roger Ebert said the show is full of twists and “thrives on shocking you.”

“And that endgame is brutally imaginative, fantastical, and violent. You can’t stop watching,” said Sherin Nicole from Geek Girl Riot.

Other critics said the show is a compulsive, thrilling watch with a surprisingly massive scale and a fair share of violence.

In the spirit of fairness, though, there are a few negative reviews. The AV Club said it was one of Flynn’s first real failures and that the series that “fails to say anything unique about our current moment.”

Will Utopia return for season 2?

Right now, it’s too early to tell. However, the show has garnered good buzz, and Flynn’s works are proven successes. Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Widows all garnered awards and acclaim. I would not be surprised if Utopia earned an early renewal from Amazon.

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All eight episodes of Utopia season 1 will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, Sept. 25.