The Greens Are Losing the Culture Wars. Good.

All right, so Michael Crichton got there first with State of Fear (2005) but that movie would certainly never have slipped under the net if it hadn’t had the creator of Jurassic Park‘s name attached. It’s only in the last couple of years that screenwriters have started to recognise what a good idea it is to choose environmentalists as your bad guys: pure evil draped in cuddly, fluffy sanctimoniousness is drama gold.

See, for example, Kingsman (2014) which cast Samuel L Jackson as an insane Malthusian bent on wiping out most of the human race for the good of the planet; and also Utopia (2013), the genius, black as your hat thriller (insanely nixed after its second series by Channel 4) about a similar “the Earth has a cancer; the cancer is man” type conspiracy.

Now there’s a Nordic Noir TV series I strongly recommend you watch – just out on DVD – called Follow the Money. The Guardian hated it – which is a recommendation in itself. But what’s even better is the reason why I suspect the Guardian hated it: it couldn’t quite get its head around the fact that the bad guys aren’t in Big Oil or the Military Industrial Complex or some faceless corporation. Instead, the baddies work for a renewable energy company with the caring, sharing name Energreen.

Read the rest at Breitbart.

Where is Jessica Hyde? (And why am I the world’s most useless TV critic?)

If those words mean nothing to you then I have some excellent news.

If not, then you’ll already be aware that I have failed you totally. And not for the first time, either. I was about a series (sorry, ‘season’) late to Game of Thrones; not much quicker into Breaking Bad; and now here I am again belatedly drawing your attention to something we all really should have seen last year if we were to consider ourselves even halfway in the loop…

Anyway, for what it’s worth, the show is Utopia (Channel 4, Tuesdays) and I can’t remember when I last saw a British drama series open so strongly. Probably, like, never — for how often is it, even on Channel 4, you come across a series so edgy, uncompromising and assured that it actually allows one of its main (and most likable) characters to have his eyes gouged out with a teaspoon in the first half-hour? (It’s the kind of initiative of which — one for my father-in-law, this — Tony Blair would surely have approved.)

Utopia, you can tell from the start, is not afraid to break the rules. Or, rather, it’s dementedly eager to play by the new rules as previously established by Game of Thrones: no one is safe; everyone is expendable — including cute kids; all bets are off as to where the plot might go, a) because the creator, Dennis Kelly (previously best known for co-writing the hit musical Matilda), probably doesn’t know himself and b) because even if he did, he’d deliberately do what you didn’t want just to frustrate and annoy you.

I love it and so, if you can stomach the ultra-violence and the insufferable hipness, will you. We were introduced to it by our quite straight lawyer friends from London, who don’t generally watch much TV and who infuriated us by arriving at our annual summer holiday let in Wales last week saying, ‘Sorry. Can’t play bridge for long tonight. Got to catch the final episode of Utopia.’

Read the rest – including my parody of Made in Chelsea – at The Spectator.

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