Gillian Flynn’s Utopia: this Amazon Prime thriller series is must-watch TV

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If you loved Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, you’re definitely going to want to watch Gillian Flynn’s pandemic-themed thriller when it comes to Amazon Prime this autumn.

Gillian Flynn – the macabre mastermind behind Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places – has always made a point of not just toying with our darkest fantasies, but exposing our deepest fears (both rational and irrational), too.

Essentially, she’s incredibly good at getting under our skin. And this usually results in the sort of addictive psychological puzzle that keeps us compulsively reading (or watching, if it’s a film or TV adaptation) all night long.

It makes perfect sense, then, that Amazon Prime has decided to join forces with Flynn in order to channel her dark magic into a pandemic-themed series for its streaming service.

And Utopia – based on the British drama of the same name – already sounds like the sort of twisty thriller that is going to have us hooked from the get go.

Here’s what you need to know about the must-watch TV series.

What’s the plot of Utopia?

The TV series follows a group of die-hard comic fans, who meet online and bond over their obsession with a seemingly fictional comic called (you guessed it) Utopia. However, it’s not long before they wind up unearthing hidden meanings within the comic book’s pages, predicting threats to humanity.

They realise these are not just the makings of a conspiracy; they are very real dangers coming alive right now in their world. The group embarks on a high-stakes adventure, bringing them face-to-face with the comic’s famed central character, Jessica Hyde, who joins them on their mission to save the world… or so they assume. 

Utopia is guaranteed to be a pretty unnerving watch – particularly in today’s Covid-19 climate.
Utopia is guaranteed to be a pretty unnerving watch – particularly in today’s Covid-19 climate.

You guessed it: Hyde is harbouring a deep secret of her own. 

Is there a trailer for Utopia?

Indeed there is, and it’s pretty unnerving – particularly in today’s Covid-19 climate.

Because, as it turns out, the threats our heroes find within the pages of Utopia turn out to be… well, of the coronavirus-esque variety.

Check it out:

Horrible viruses galore, eh? No wonder they selected REM’s It’s End Of The World As We Know It for the preview.

Who makes up the cast of Utopia?

When we say this series is star-studded, we mean it. Sasha Lane, Ashleigh LaThrop, Dan Byrd, Jessica Rothe, Desmin Borges, and Javon “Wanna” Walton lead the cast.

Elsewhere, we have John Cusack as Dr. Kevin Christie, in his first series regular role for television. Rainn Wilson, meanwhile, stars as Dr. Michael Stearns, Farrah Mackenzie as Alice, Christopher Denham as Arby, and Cory Michael Smith as Thomas Christie.

What has Gillian Flynn said about Utopia?

Flynn has been honing this TV reboot for years, and has poured her heart and soul into it. As such, she’s promised fans of the original 2013 series that her version of Utopia will be far grittier than the first.

“At its core, it’s about a group of comic book nerds who are out to get Utopia because they think it has different answers to their problems, some of which are very personal, some of which are fighting this pandemic that they believe possibly is going to change the end of the world,” she told SyFy

John Cusack stars in Utopia as Dr. Kevin Christie, in his first series regular role for television.
John Cusack stars in Utopia as Dr. Kevin Christie, in his first series regular role for television.

Flynn added: “I would say Dennis Kelly’s [series] is a very Brit pop, very colorful, very sleek version of this story. I really was inspired by the 1970s conspiracy thrillers and paranoia thrillers, stuff like Parallax View and Marathon Man.

“In fact, when I was pitching this, I said it’s The Goonies meets Marathon Man.”

We’re into that.

How many episodes of Utopia will there be?

The series will be made up of eight bingeable episodes, making it perfect for those who want to shut the curtains and blitz through the whole thing in a weekend.

When will Utopia be available to stream on Amazon Prime?

Utopia is coming to save the world on 25 September, making it an autumn TV essential.

Will you be watching?

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Images: Amazon Prime Original

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.