Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Hulu

Hundreds of years into the future, a community called New Babyl will find themselves forever changed by the discovery of a lost culture called hip-hop. Created by R.T. Thorne, Utopia Falls imagines an environment where peace is entirely contingent upon the people’s total, infallible trust in its governing authority. It would be a shame if a bunch of impressionable, curious teens stumble upon a forgotten archive of art that doubles a blueprint for rebellion. Oh look, a locked hut in the woods!

The series trailer, which Hulu released to today, previews a series that is essentially a blend of Hunger Games, Fame, and America’s Got Talent: At the center of New Babyl is an elite talent competition called The Exemplar, which chooses young contestant from each “sector” to compete for fame and guaranteed success. Aliyah (Robyn Alomar), the privileged daughter of a respected authoritarian, intends to honor the Progress sector with her brand of government-approved dance. Her plan is upended when she and fellow competitor Bohdi (Akiel Julien) find a secret archive in the woods that houses old records, paintings, and an extensive library of buried music. Very suddenly, the teens are immersed in the wonders of hip-hop, which are briefly illustrated by the 1998 video for Busta Rhymes’ “Gimme Some More.” (“Whoa. How is he [rapping] so fast?” It was a mystery to us too, Bohdi.) Through the spirit of a lost culture, the contestant begin to see the major flaws in their government and use the power of performance to spark change.

Utopia Falls features a cast of young talent and an impressive soundtrack that includes Notorious B.I.G., Daniel Caesar, Alessia Cara, and many others. Snoop Dogg is the very distinctive voice of Archive, the computerized gatekeeper of all of New Babyl’s forbidden knowledge. The musical drama begins streaming on Hulu February 14.

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