HELLO TOMORROW! Season One
UK/US Apple TV+, Fridays
Creators Amit Bhalla, Lucas Jansen Cast Billy Crudup, Hank Azaria, Alison
Pill, Nicholas Podany
Come the next Emmy season, Hello Tomorrow! demands to be nominated for Outstanding Production Design.
It takes place in some sort of alternate universe late–’50s/ early–’60s where it’s as if God’s clicked their fingers and made ad men’s visions of a push-button future a reality. Household robots are everywhere – delivering mail, waiting, gardening. Automobiles remain all sleek lines and gleaming chrome, but hover above the ground. There are transcribing typewriters and holograph tables.
Sci-fi that never quite takes us into space
Most importantly, finned rockets regularly blast off into space.
Enter Jack Billings (Billy Crudup), head of a team of salesmen pushing a new life on the Moon, courtesy of Brightside Lunar Residencies. He radiates sincerity, but the property he’s selling doesn’t actually exist. And that lie is not the only plate he must keep spinning: eager new recruit Joey (Nicholas Podany) is unaware Jack is the father who walked out when he was a toddler.
Crudup excels in the leading role, selling the emotion as adeptly as Jack sells dreams. It’s quite the challenge to maintain any degree of sympathy for a conman. It helps that Jack is also a victim of the web of deception he’s spun, having clearly swallowed his own hype.
Haneefah Wood is equally good as straight-talking office manager Shirley – but we could do without Hank Azaria’s Eddie, and his tussles with a debt collector. And immaculate though the mise-enscène is, this story could arguably just as fruitfully have unfolded in a true-life ’50s milieu, and centred on, say, beachfront property in Hawaii. Ultimately, this is a sci-fi series about lunar travel that never quite takes us into space. It’s hard to resist the feeling that, like Jack’s customers, you’ve been a victim of mis-selling. Ian Berriman
The slogan “Hello tomorrow” was used by both Adidas (in a 2005 TV ad) and the airline Emirates (in a 2012 campaign).