I recently wrote that FOX’s Utopia might be the best reality show on the air.
For me, the series that has isolated a group of Americans onto a ranch in northern California and features cameras watching them 24/7 in order to monitor their abilities to construct a new society or ‘Utopia’ without any outside involvement depicts everything that is good about reality television.
I enjoy seeing a show that does not feature its cast conducting confessional interviews to explain their own rationale because it puts the focus solely on their interaction.
In a move designed to satisfy fans who felt like the show needed some stakes for the pioneers to invest in, the series that airs Tuesdays and Fridays on FOX recently introduced a twist where the current crop of pioneers must nominate two members to evict each week (and wait for a third to be nominated by America) before deciding on which one to replace. While I am still deciding how I feel about this as I preferred seeing the interactions and bonds between the contestants develop naturally, I certainly see what something was needed to spice things up.
Last week, I had the chance to visit the set of Utopia and it was certainly one of the most enlightening experiences of my career. The sheer volume of work that goes into creating the two episodes each week was something that I didn’t initially recognize until I was able to see how many people work on the series and behind-the-camera.
The set-up is also quite impressive as the show has quite literally constructed a production base in the middle of nowhere and features an impressive control room where hundreds of cameras are pointed on the pioneers’ every move.
I talked to the show’s host, Dan Piraro, about the series and the unlikely path that led to him initially only joining the series as a narrator to being promoted as the new frontman of the series.
I also caught up with the show’s executive producer, Jon Kroll, for a detailed discussion about where Utopia fits in the general landscape of voyeuristic programming. Kroll also gave me a tour of the place and offered some tips on how I might be able to win over the polyamorous Dedeker after the show.
Check out the video above!
Utopia airs Tuesdays and Fridays on FOX. An all-new episode airs tonight and will feature the first pioneer to be evicted by his fellow castmembers.
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, Utopia