Your Brighter Tomorrow, Today
Hello Tomorrow! Season 1 Episode 1 introduces us to a retro-futuristic world. Robots with pithy catchphrases serve drinks at 50s-style bars. Women in vintage dresses and coiffed hairstyles see off their husbands as they head to work via jetpack. Self-driving vans, seemingly operated by an animated pelican, deliver packages. “I’m out delivering smiles,” the bird states cheerfully–even while the van runs over a woman and drives away.
The hit-and-run is passed over like in a blip in the radar of this otherwise perfectly picturesque society. No matter that technology seems to be rapidly replacing people’s jobs and ruining their livelihoods.
Salesman Jack Billings would rather set people’s focus on dreams of a brighter future. With his office manager Shirley and salesmen Eddie and Herb, Jack sells timeshares on the moon for the company Brightside. With his charisma and charm, he’s rather good at it too.
After several successful sales, Jack shares with his team that a letter came from the moon. It’s from their boss, Brightside founder Stan Jenkins. He wants them to pack up and go to Vistaville. Shirl scoffs at Jenkins being so out-of-touch. There are perfectly good sales where they’re at. But Jack reminds her in what feels like a permanent sales-voice–Don’t the people of Vistaville also deserve brighter futures?
On the way to Vistaville, Shirl and Eddie talk about going up to the moon themselves. Shirl thinks it might be nice to live up there–with Ed, rather than with her husband.
Once they get to Vistaville, it’s clear to us that Jack lied: the letter wasn’t from Jenkins. It was from his mother Barbara, who claimed to Jack she was dying. She’s not, but does have news for Jack. Marie, the mother of his child, has been run over by a delivery van and now remains in a coma. Jack doesn’t see why this concerns him. He hasn’t seen Marie or his son in 18 years. By now, his son will be 20.
The idea of a perfect family is a concept Jack often uses in his sales pitches, and he gets to thinking of having a family of his own. These thoughts color the next speech he gives to potential buyers. He asks them why they are all waiting to live their best lives. The time is now. In addition to his speech, he shows everyone through a video-call how a man named Buck is loving his life on the moon.
This particular speech doesn’t speak to many except for one young man named Joey. And when Jack goes to see Marie in the hospital, he runs into him and recognizes him as his son. As Joey thanks him for his inspiring speech, Jack doesn’t say anything about their relation to each other. He claims he must be on the wrong floor. After upgrading Joey to a nicer unit for his future life on the moon, he leaves.
Back at the presentation space, a man twists and injures Eddie’s hand for not having all the money he owes his employer.
Jack, meanwhile, delivers Joey a rejected application and a refund. Joey then finds him at his hotel to plead with him. He has to go to the moon; there’s nothing for him down here. Jack insists his problems will still be waiting for him on the moon.
But Joey is persistent. So persistent, that Jack tells him it might be time for him to find a new dream. He’d be a great addition to the Brightside team.
Later, Jack checks in on Buck–who doesn’t actually live on the moon as Jack testified to his customers. Rather, he lives in the same building as Jack’s mother. He talks to Jack as if he believes he is on the moon, and it’s all thanks to him. Buck then advises Jack pay his respects to Mr. Jenkins, who happens to be a turtle, rather than Jack’s aforementioned boss.
The episode ends with Jack introducing Joey onto the Brightside team. A team that likely has no idea of the actual inner-workings of their company.
The Episode Review
Hello Tomorrow! eases us into its odd, aesthetically beautiful world without answering any questions about its retro-futuristic setting or how it came to be. No–like Jack, the show is more interested in where it’s going.
Buck’s delusions are certainly interesting. It makes one wonder: If Jack can lie about Buck and Mr. Jenkins, what else is he lying about? He promises that the moon offers affordable living for the common person, and not just the rich one percent. But does anyone ever actually get there? Or are they all deceived and hidden away like Buck?
There’s some intrigue here, but all in all, this premier episode doesn’t give us much of anything concrete to latch onto. Billy Crudup at least might draw you in with his magnetic charisma as easily as his character draws in unsuspecting clients. But will it be for Jack’s same empty purposes?
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!