Utopia Falls

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Utopia Falls TV Poster Image
Dance meets sci-fi drama in unique dystopian teen series.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Messages are thought-provoking, complex. The will to survive, the fragile relationship between a dictatorial government and its oppressed people, rebellion as a preferred option to obedience, and distinction between image and reality are all addressed. Many discussion-worthy themes touch on everything from the micro/personal to the macro/political. Courage, self-control, perseverance are all themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual identity, age, socioeconomic status. Aliyah and Bodhi are strong, resourceful, talented young people who work hard to bring glory to their loved ones. There is some ageism, like when it's implied two characters in their 60s are mentally foggy because of their age.

Violence

Characters are in danger under authoritarian government, but they fear being ejected from the city rather than death or prison. 

Sex

Characters are young and interested in romance; expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, flirting, dating, relationships. A male character says a female one is "flames" (beautiful). 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Utopia Falls is a drama in which teens in a futuristic society compete in talent battles under an authoritarian government. Characters are diverse (in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, race, age, and sexual identity), and two characters in particular show courage, self-control, and perseverance in examining humanity's history and then addressing political abuse and unfairness. Teen characters are in danger, but they fear being kicked out of the city -- not death, injury, or prison. There is some ageism (like when two older characters are called "mentally foggy" due to their age), and many competitions (the talent battles appear in each episode), but characters primarily compete with their own performances. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, flirting, dating, and relationships.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byReina_ramore22 March 17, 2020

Best tv show to watch!!

This is the best tv show so far i have seen, and would love to have a season 2!
This show is incredible to watch and even learn about lqbtq,heritage, culture e... Continue reading
Adult Written byRapier11 February 24, 2020
Teen, 16 years old Written byClexaftwayhaught April 2, 2020

Must Watch Show!

I really enjoyed watching the first season of Utopia Falls! The show is kind of like a mix between The 100, Hunger Games, and Dance Academy being that the show... Continue reading

What's the story?

As teen sci-fi drama UTOPIA FALLS opens, disasters and war have made earth uninhabitable, but the surviving humans have set up a city, New Babyl, that exists under a protective force field and seems like paradise on earth. All citizens live in harmony, with every person provided for, and all are encouraged to think about what's good for the group, not for the individual. That is, except for during the Exemplar, an annual talent contest in which teen singers, dancers, and musicians compete, with the winner crowned New Babyl's cultural ambassador. But when contestants Aliyah (Robyn Alomar), a privileged girl whose father is a member of New Babyl's powerful Tribunal, and Bodhi (Akiel Julien), a boy from the underprivileged Reform section, find a repository of music from pre-New Babyl days, the two start to discover new things about the past that shed light on mysteries of their present. 

Is it any good?

This genuinely odd series is both a futuristic dystopian drama and a dance competition, melding tropes from both YA sci-fi and reality battles in a way that's alternately flat and fascinating. As Utopia Falls opens, it seems like New Babyl is a pretty cool place to be. "No one wants for food or work or a sense of community," we're told in the monologue that opens the show. It's a society where everyone has a purpose. But since a show about heaven on earth would be pretty boring, it's not really a surprise when the illusion of the fair and just authority begins to fall away, and the fascism beneath is slowly revealed. 

The group of teens at the center of Utopia Falls' drama, who hail from different segments of the Hunger Games-style divided society, are similarly depicted as the best of New Babyl at the start of the series, before they find artifacts from the past that make them question the present. Only Aliyah and Bodhi are given the screen time to develop into convincing characters. There are too many other Exemplar candidates vying to make a strong impression (and though we're told they're each super talented, the scenes in which they're shown singing and dancing don't demonstrate that). But the narrative is such an unusual one that viewers will be content to drift along to see where this strange show is headed. Utopia Falls doesn't score on all levels, but it's arresting -- and peculiar -- enough to hold your attention. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the "last man standing" premise in Utopia Falls compares to current reality shows. Which shows pit people against each other? Why is it so much fun to watch the alliances and drama unfold in these programs? 

  • Use the movie's depiction of New Babyl to discuss totalitarian governments and dictatorships. Why are there more bleak portrayals of the distant future than optimistic ones? What are some other books and movies that feature a post-apocalyptic or post-war future?

  • How do the characters in Utopia Falls demonstrate courageself-control, and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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