A lot of people want to live in Utopia but not many would want to work there. Or at least the “Utopia” that’s depicted in the eponymous TV show by the Working Dog production team. The series is a comedy one that feels so real it could have been a documentary if it wasn’t so darned funny.
The series stars Rob Sitch who also serves as the show’s director, co-producer and co-writer. The program is also written by Sitch and his Working Dog colleagues, Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner. These are the same people responsible for Frontline and The Hollowmen and this show shares a few things in common with the aforementioned, as well as The Office.
Utopia is set in the offices of the NBA or National Building Authority, a fictional government department responsible for infrastructure and planning. They should be responsible for project managing big-ticket items like urban developments, railway lines and roads including tunnels and bridges. But instead the team get bogged down in other activities like meetings, charity days, computer upgrades that don’t work and ridiculous levels of security and red tape, as well as other absurdities that are typical of white-collar work.
This fast-paced show features an excellent ensemble cast with Celia Pacquola (Offspring) playing the only person besides the CEO to get things done. There’s also the sweet but incompetent Katie (Emma-Louise Wilson), office manager Amy (Michelle Lim Davidson (Play School)), the meticulous Hugh (Luke McGregor) and the innocuous Scott (Dave Lawson). The Project’s Kitty Flanagan and Anthony ‘Lehmo’ Lehmann also do an excellent job as an image-obsessed PR manager and an oblivious and impractical government official, respectively. The show also includes some great cameos from musician, Ella Hooper, celebrity chef, Shannon Bennett and comedians, Colin Lane and Anh Do.
Utopia is a funny program showing a lot of worker bees being distracted from their jobs and having to negotiate administration and red tape, spin doctors, image makers and the egos of government officials. It shows how ideas have to be compromised and often evolve to a point where they fail to resemble anything that was originally planned. In all, this is a contemporary and topical show that features some strong acting and story lines and despite revelling in the absurdity of life in an office, is actually an accurate indictment on life as a modern, working dog.
Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
This DVD contained no special features.
Utopia Season Two is now available on DVD through Roadshow Entertainment.