Remember that brief period where it almost seemed like Survivor actually involved people trying to survive? Well Utopia is the next generation of that concept, where 15 Utopians – bleh – will head off for a year to try and develop their own society. If you’re thinking this is just figuring out what to eat and drink and picking out a sleeping spot, think again. It’s actually about survival, guys. For reals. Plus, like, playing music and partying in swimsuits and socializing. It's Darwin's survival of the coolest. It's Utopia.
While this concept may sound like a progressionist hippie's dream way to spend a year, Utopia has one of reality TV's most successful pioneers behind it: Dutch media mastermind John de Mol, the Endemol co-head responsible for such worldwide megahits as the voyeur-friendly Big Brother and the singing competition The Voice. With the original Dutch Utopia already a hit, this Americanized social experiment will namely do what most non-competition reality shows already do: stick a bunch of random people together and watch them try to co-exist in the warm sun. ("When people stop being polite.") Only instead of a banging beach house in Miami, Utopia takes place on an undisclosed location far from WiFi signals (maybe) and tall buildings.Sound familiar?
Here are just a few of the questions Fox is hoping audiences are already asking themselves about this project.
Will they choose democracy or dictatorship? Fidelity or free love? Will they punish or forgive? Choose religion or rationalism? Share with others or hoard for themselves? What conflicts will emerge, what leaders will arise? What principles will guide their daily lives and inform their deepest decisions?
Fox isn’t the only place you can watch this brave pioneers, either. The cameras will be on these people all day, every day, so you’ll also be able to catch up with them online. The press release teases some interactivity by saying viewers will “have the chance to become a valuable and powerful asset to the community” in determining whether or not this is truly a utopia or just a flophouse outside the city. Is that just a wordy way of saying that viewers will be able to vote people off the
Here's my big question, though. Go to this website and you can apply to be on Utopia, which apparently has yet to go into production, though Fox's Simon Andreae has already picked out the sunny California shooting location. So who the hell are the people in the video? There are absolutely 15 of them, as you can see here, but they all kind of just spout generic scripted ideals about what Utopia could represent. To, like, society.
Any way it goes, this will be interesting for at least a week, as Fox is giving Utopia both a Tuesday night slot and a Friday night slot this fall. Double the edited social gathering, double the fun. You can find the full Fox 2014-2015 schedule here.