Amazon’s pandemic thriller Utopia has been canceled after only one season, joining the rapidly growing list of streaming shows canceled too early.
Amazon’s Utopia has been canceled after only one season. The show was a remake of a British television show of the same name, originally created by Dennis Kelly who recently co-wrote HBO’s The Third Day. Gillian Flynn, writer of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and both the subsequent film and television adaptations of those same novels, was the writer and showrunner for the American adaptation of Utopia. The Amazon adaptation of Utopia is quite different, having been described as less violent and not as artistically striking, suffering from its overall easy-going tone.
Utopia follows a group of young adult online friends who uncover an underground comic book, titled Utopia, that tells the story of a pending pandemic which soon garners the attention of a cloak-and-dagger organization, jumpstarting an unsavory and dangerous mission for the friends. David Fincher, director of Gone Girl, was originally set to direct and executive produce the show while it was at HBO but after budget issues, Flynn brought the show over to Amazon with Fincher’s name removed. Regardless of company hopping, the show still ended up with a few well-liked stars like John Cusack as Kevin Christie and Rainn Wilson as Michael Stearns, though it is ultimately made up of younger faces and character actors.
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According to THR, Utopia has been canceled at Amazon after only one season due to lukewarm reviews and the unknowable timing of releasing a pandemic show during a pandemic, even though it was “a more than six-year journey to the screen.” Amazon will continue to focus on its multiple other shows, like Hunters, fan-favorite Jack Ryan, and surprisingly Carnival Row, while still pursuing some of their newer prospects like The Lord of the Rings adaptation, which aims to be in the vein of Game of Thrones.
Utopia, while still in its television infancy, seemed to not be hitting the right numbers for Amazon’s liking and fell victim to the act of slaughtering shows that a lot of streaming platforms seem to be practicing, like Netflix with shows like I Am Not OK With This and The OA. Unfortunately, both versions of Utopia were canceled a little too early for their dedicated fans, who have since built a cult following, much like fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, out of the 12-episode British adaptation.
It’s hard to tell precisely how a streaming show is doing. There’s the little information that companies release about how many people watch a popular show or movie, social media word-of-mouth (whether they are positive or negative), and reviews. Regardless of its still growing fanbase, most reviews for this television adaptation didn’t do it any favors. Most viewers see it as too grim and cruel, violence-laced, and untimely. While Utopia may have the opportunity to be picked up by another production company in the future to continue the series, it seems that at least for now this comic book is staying closed.
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