Immersed in the bright and sunny style of the 1950s, the new Apple TV Plus series is all about deception and deception.
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Everything seems idyllic when Hello Tomorrow begins. Apple TV Plus' new half-hour sci-fi series is a vision of the future with the hope and optimism that 1950s-style Tomorrowland could embody. perfect. people drive around in flying cars like Cadillacs, robots deliver mail and deliver beer, businessmen use jetpacks to get to work, and all sorts of contradictions make household chores nerve-wracking. There's even a cartoon bird driving a delivery truck that lets the world know it's "smiling."
But soon cracks began to appear. Hello Tomorrow uses this contrast between dreams of a better future and the dystopia of today to tell a surprisingly tense story about the challenges of living with the choices we make. It starts out bright and hilarious, but when reality hits, the show is like Uncut Gems , filtered through previous Fallout moments.
Note: This review is based on the first three episodes of Hello Tomorrow. Contains very light spoilers for these episodes.
The story revolves around Jack (Billy Crudup), a traveling salesman who leads a small team selling buildings for a lunar colony called Brightside. They go door to door making big promises about life in space before heading to the next small town. Jack is particularly good at this. In one of the play's opening scenes, he manages to sell land to a drunken, lonely stranger in a bar. The lifestyle suits most of the team. This keeps Eddie (Hank Azaria) on the hunt to pay off his gambling debts while Herb (Dushane Williams) just tries to build up savings for his soon-to-expand family home. Shirley (Hanifa Wood) does her best to hold everyone back as she climbs the corporate ladder.
But their nomadic lifestyle came to an abrupt end. It turns out the eloquent Jack has a few secrets, including 20-year-old boy Joey (Nicholas Bodani) who doesn't even know he exists and doesn't want him to know. A mess with Brightside's sales team causes Joey to stay in his hometown for a long time, where sales are poor, but Jack manages to get into the boy's life for a bit.
What quickly becomes clear is that almost everything in the world of Hello Tomorrow is fake. You can see this in many potential Brightside customers who, despite this amazing technology, are often very dissatisfied. Some have lost their jobs, replaced by this technology, while others have drifted away from family and friends in pursuit of a sci-fi dream. No one epitomizes this better than Jack, whose job has kept him out of all the real trouble in his life. For years, this has included her son, but that changes as she subtly tries to be a part of Joey's life without hinting at their true relationship with each other.
Things are getting very tense. Jack's world, both personal and professional, is built around a dangerous card game. When she lies about her relationship with her son, her professional life also begins to crumble. Soon, getting to know Joe isn't enough for her, so she ends up offering her estranged son a job as a salesman. He invests his time, energy and money in this new venture, much to the dismay and annoyance of his colleagues. With everyone ready to move to a town with better sales prospects, Jack keeps finding excuses to stay.
This happens even when Brightside launches rockets, which in three episodes I'm not sure really exist outside of holographic video sales, the delay continues, forcing customers to wait for the next launch or request a refund. (Reminds me of the Simpsons train episode, but without the musical numbers.) You can feel the house of cards starting to weaken, but at least in the early episodes Jack manages to keep it from falling by the force of his will. :
The idea of a better remake really sells part of what (besides Jack's emotional commercials) is how beautiful Hello Tomorrow is. First-class production design. Robots and floating cars fit right into 1950s life, and everywhere you look there are plenty of hyper-designed little gadgets everywhere, from individual popcorn bins that pop up during a baseball game to a typewriter attached to a typewriter. There are video calls on black-and-white TVs and cylindrical robots doing all sorts of menial work you can think of. Some, like the hotel waiter, have a hint of sarcasm. The functional and tangible nature of these technologies makes them plausible, even if none of them actually exist. And on the surface, they make this 1950s version seem more prosperous than ours, especially since (at least for now) they avoid talking about real issues like race.
It's hard to say exactly where Hello Tomorrow will go at this point (the full season consists of 10 episodes). But that's definitely not good, at least for the actors. Watching Jack's life is like watching a car wreck in slow motion, especially when there's no doubt that everything is about to go wrong. The only question is how bad it will be and if anyone will come out unscathed.
Hello Tomorrow will premiere on Apple TV Pluson February 17, with new episodes every Friday.
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