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Series / Utopia Falls

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In the future, the city of New Babyl exists after a long ago war devastated Earth and wiped out life outside it. To protect denizens, a shield completely surrounds the city and no one can venture outside it. Divided into four sectors called Natura, Progress, Industry and Reform, it's ruled over by a body named the Tribunal.

When citizens turn 16, they can try out for an annual performing arts festival called the Exemplar. The series focuses on a group of these competitors plus a few others. The discovery of an ancient repository hidden outside the city named The Archive opens many of their eyes to a forgotten past and causes upheaval in their society.


  • Aerith and Bob: People in New Babyl have a mix of names common now (Gerald, Sage, Anna), more exotic but still used (Bodhi, Reia) and ones that while not invented are pretty unheard of (Tempo, Chyra, Brooklyn etc).
  • After the End: New Babyl is the only human settlement in the world, with all other life wiped out by a past great war. Little is known of the past by most people starting out, but some start to learn more of it from The Archive, a forbidden digital library that contains information from them. Bodhi says it's been four hundred years since our time based on this. However, it turns out they aren't all that was left-they've been lied to.
  • Afrofuturism: The series centers on a city in a post-apocalyptic future, New Babyl, with a fairly significant black population, while the lead character Aliyah is a young black woman. Bodhi too is a young black man, and several supporting characters are black. Part of the plot involves them finding hip-hop again, a style which had been lost, due to a digital library named The Archive preserving them along with other musical genres. They're then soon reintroduced into their society as part of the Exemplar, a major artistic competition. Along with this, they rediscover peaceful resistance against oppression and begin to defy their government, which is very suspicious about new things, based on knowledge they gain from The Archive of the civil rights movement by African-Americans.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Bodhi relates to Phydra the story of a little girl in Reform Sector who was sent there with her parents as they were dissidents. To escape, she'd turned them in as they were still active in opposing the government, and was given a junior position in the Authority, with her parents getting "ghosted". Phydra is clearly that girl all grown up, now head of the Authority.
  • Apocalypse How: All life on Earth has been wiped out except for the city of New Babyl as a result of a war. An event called the "Great Flash" was included, implying nuclear weapons were used. Or at least so they've been told, regarding life outside.
  • Appeal to Tradition: New Babyl is very big on tradition, with deviating from it being enough for some (like Phydra) to immediately deem this wrong and subversive.
  • Casting Gag: Snoop Dogg plays The Archive's voice, a digital library that includes many styles of music (including his own). At one point it recommends his work. Given The Archive, among many other things, stores music from our era, it may be using his voice too.
  • City in a Bottle: New Babyl exists inside a shield to protect it from dangers outside, with no one having gone beyond for centuries.
  • Cope by Creating: After she's traumatized by being caught in a riot, Sage learns capoeira as not only a self-defense technique in the future but to heal, which works.
  • Crapsaccharine World: At first, New Babyl appears to be a nice city with people of all races in harmony together, wearing brightly colored clothing and has a thriving cultural scene in the Exemplar, an annual artistic competition. Before long though, it's revealed they have a caste-like social system, and a repressive government which strictly controls things. People have also been lied to since the city began about the outside world, and many "disappear" regularly if they cross the government.
  • Culture Police: New Babyl's government is very suspicious about any new style of dance or music. Aliyah and Bodhi were interrogated for performing hip-hop by the police as it's potentially subversive in their view.
  • Dirty Cop: Phydra, head of the Authority, took payoffs from Moore for years and looked the other way about criminal operations that he ran in the Reform Sector...until she decides these endanger the state, having him arrested for them.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Apollo is a budding musician, but after being hit by the shield he's left in a coma and has become deaf on waking up. However, it turns out he can still play piano, but with greater difficulty since he never learned to read music and just played by ear before. This is subverted as he learns to play using one hand on the instrument, feeling its vibrations as a guide.
  • Dystopia: New Babyl is a city where everyone lives in a sector based on profession. While they believe diversity is their greatest strength, with people of all races living in harmony together, any independent personal expression isn't acceptable, deemed subversive and a cause for disunity you will be interrogated over by the Authority, the city's Secret Police who censor culture. Moving outside of the city's bounds or seeking knowledge about the past too is forbidden. They all wear uniform jumpsuits most of the time, and have a very authoritarian culture with ritual submission to their long-deceased founder Gaia, who's treated as almost like a god. Particularly defiant dissidents are given Un-person treatment, or “ghosted”. They also practice eugenics, as people who have DNA deemed “unfit for reproduction” are also labeled “dissonant” by the government, all babies being tested at birth, and prohibited from having children. The dissonant also get assigned work, usually dangerous things like mining, due to being deemed “expendable” after turning 18. Finally, it turns out that the government has lied for centuries to its people about the outside world being uninhabitable-it actually is, with two other cities, one of which secretly controls them.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Brooklyn first appears when she comes late to a class, casually apologizing without being concerned. She's soon confirmed to be a bold, confident person, quite unlike her much more quiet, shy Love Interest Sage.
  • Faking the Dead: Aliyah's mother Anna staged her death to protect her and Aliyah's father Gerald from association with her as she discovered a forbidden digital library.
  • Fantastic Caste System: People in New Babyl are divided through sectors. These are different regions of the city representing occupations where they live together. Additionally they also wear different colored uniform jumpsuits to distinguish them. The four sectors are Progress (blue, the scientists), Industry (the (industrial workers, wearing orange), Nature (green, horticulturalists) and Reform (mostly criminals undergoing rehabilitation, with gray). The government is run by the Tribunal, a body with members from each.
  • Forbidden Zone: A forest outside of New Babyl is the limit beyond which people are forbidden to go, since it contains relics from the past they consider dangerous. Aliyah and Bodhi defy this, finding The Archive, a digital library of things from the old days, rediscovering hip-hop using this.
  • Gaydar: Brooklyn can tell immediately that Sage likes her, even though Sage doesn't say or do anything that shows it explicitly. They later get involved.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Brooklyn is very pretty, and knows it, drawing others' immediate attention when she enters the room (Sage notices in particular, soon becoming her girlfriend).
  • Ironically Disabled Artist: Tempo, a musician, becomes deaf from being hit by the shield. He can play piano and the drums regardless though, feeling their vibrations.
  • Land of One City: New Babyl is one city and its environs, all that's left on Earth. Or so they're told at first-it turns out two other cities exist as well, one of which control New Babyl secretly.
  • La Résistance: There is a secret resistance group fighting New Babyl's government named the Rising it turns out.
  • Lost Common Knowledge:
    • So much was apparently lost as a result of the war that in the future no one, even young black people, knows what hip-hop is at first.
    • Apollo learns that the Indigenous drumming he sees has been passed down to him by his father, but never knew until then of his heritage. From seeing this he realizes he's Indigenous.
  • Love Triangle: Aliyah is initially dating Tempo when the series starts, but then grows closer to Bodhi and kisses him.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Phydra reveals to Tempo she's his mother, who he never knew.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Reserved and more girly Sage is slowly drawn into a romance with bold, tomboyish Brooklyn during the first season.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • New Babyl is the future city in which the show's set. It's based on the idea of unity, with people of many races living in seeming harmony. Just like the biblical Babel though, all is not well.
    • Aliyah, the lead character, is a budding musician who has nearly the identical name to a famous singer (who was also black, like her). It's also the word for Jewish immigration back to Israel, which could echo her rediscovery of the past.
  • Missing Mom: Aliyah's mother Anna died of a sudden illness when she was four, according to her father. She wants to find out more, but he isn't encouraging. It turns out that she's still alive, Aliyah discovers.
  • Ms. Fanservice: While all of the girls have moments wearing more revealing clothes, Brooklyn gets the most with outfits that show off her cleavage and bare stomach.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: In the future city of New Babyl, no one bats an eye at same-gender couples, showing they're fully accepted.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: All of the characters names are followed with a number: Aliyah 5, Bodhi 2, Tempo 3, Brooklyn 2 etc.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Gaia, New Babyl's founder, is invoked with phrases such as “may Gaia watch over you” and “Oh my Gaia”.
  • Our Founder: Gaia is often invoked as the founded of New Babyl, with reverence ritually given to her such that she's basically worshiped, even invoked like God is.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tempo was raised in a "creche", apparently a place that raises children collectively, so he's never known his parents. Later it turns out Phydra is his mother, and she had his father "ghosted" as revenge for abandoning the two.
  • Police Brutality: The Authority very roughly arrest people who sell memorabilia showcasing unapproved performances for the Exemplar, which triggers a riot when people nearby protest.
  • Population Control: The government decides whether or not people can have children, and they practice eugenics, not allowing people to if they're DNA is deemed "unfit". In those cases they're sent to work dangerous jobs such as mining. They justify this on the basis of having limited resources and keeping genetic disease from spreading.
  • Proud Beauty: Brooklyn clearly knows just how attractive she is, tossing back her hair back and sticking her chest out while boldly strutting into rooms. This turns Sage's head, and Brooklyn realizes she's interested as a result.
  • Queer Romance: Sage and Brooklyn have obvious mutual attraction from the start, with their blooming romance becoming a developing feature of the series.
  • Reading Lips: Apollo learns this after becoming deaf, but it goes slowly.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Aliyah's father Gerald is on the Tribunal, New Babyl's ruling council. As a result, she's gotten a lot of strings pulled in her favor over the years, including release from the Authority's custody when she's detained for suspected subversion. Not that Aliyah's done anything bad, or even asked for this-her dad just does it anyway.
  • Secret Police: The Authority, the city's police, detain and interrogate people simply for dancing or singing in unapproved ways, while having spies everywhere.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Sage is traumatized by being caught in a riot, getting triggered afterward and having violent hallucinations.
  • Shock Stick: The Authority (police) in New Babyl use shock batons, as seen when they arrest people and break up a riot.
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: Set in a post-apocalyptic future, one continuous subplot is Sage and Brooklyn's romance. There is no indication that anyone cares if people are attracted to the same gender or not.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Phydra tells Bodhi that "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down" while interrogating him for performing a “new” song style (actually rediscovered hip-hop), as the government is suspicious of independent personal expression, as this could be subversive.
  • Trauma Button: After she's in the riot, Sage gets violent hallucinations if things remind her of it.
  • Un-person: Anybody who's too defiant of the government is “ghosted”, meaning they disappear with no trace left.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Shy, quiet Sage falls for bold, outgoing Brooklyn.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Gerald tells Aliyah lying that no one else was alive beyond the city had to be done, since it made those in New Babyl help each other as equals without regard to race, sexuality etc, making an amazing place as a result. Aliyah rejects this, since it has really created a conformist police state beneath this egalitarian veneer.
  • Villain Has a Point: Phydra, head of the Authority, believes allowing new artistic expression is just a short step to open defiance toward the state. She's a weasel, but also right-it moves almost immediately to that point (not that the dissidents are wrong in doing this of course).
  • The Wall Around the World: New Babyl is (supposedly) the last inhabited city on Earth, with a shield protecting its residents from the danger of the ruined outside world that surrounds it completely. It's in fact keeping people inside however.
  • Workout Fanservice: The good-looking, athletic young people on the show are frequently shown practicing dance (or for Sage, capoeira) while in workout clothes that show their torsos and legs in tight fabric, their stomachs often partly bared too.