Apple TV+ is treating us to another interesting series in the form of Hello Tomorrow! which ponders a utopian alternate reality. A visual feast of set, decor, and costume designs is masterfully crafted and sparks the idealized outlook for a “better tomorrow”. An amusing cast, and a mostly transparent story, craft a charm I haven’t felt since Mad Men ended in 2015. Half-hour episodes and a cheerful narrative make this show one worth adding to your weekly rotation.
[Warning: Spoilers from Apple TV+’s Hello Tomorrow! season 1 premiere are below!]
Billy Crudup as Jack Billings and the rest of the cast
Our opening introduction easily sets the tone of the entire show, and it’s driven expertly like an F1 car by Billy Crudup as the lead Jack Billings. Hello Tomorrow! features the function-over-form aesthetic of retro-futurism.
It felt like I was transported to the world of Fallout – big body cars of the 1950s (that have no wheels and float in place), single-servings of self-popping popcorn, and robots that can dispense beverages and walk dogs. But even with these pioneering technologies, the crux of real life remains the most important element in this story.
The delightful employees at Brightside Lunar Residences are a welcome addition to Crudup’s charm. Television legend Hank Azaria as oily gambling salesman Eddie shows his decades of experience throughout every scene. Eddie swivels between shepherding the two fresh salesmen Herb (Dewshane Williams) and Joey (Nicholas Podany), and his lovely relationship with Shirley Stedman (Hannefah Wood) who runs everything behind the scenes for Brightside Lunar Residences.
Launch of a salesman
Like any good salesman hawking a product, Crudup always captures his customers’ attention and extends that to the audience. While he may be the lead, he’s definitely not the best guy. A casual prep scene early on shows that there is definitely more going on with the premise of living on the moon. Every monologue from Jack made me want to sign up for the next launch to get my own residence in Brightside.
While Jack Billings butters up the crowds, we are treated to the typical sleazeball in the form of Eddie, who darts and dodges the loan sharks he owes. As the ‘elder’ of the group, Eddie’s seen it all in the world of sales and his experience shines. At his side is Shirley, who is clearly the essential employee with her many hats. Shirley is steadfast as the keeper of the books and the happiness of potential clients, so it falls on her to make the calls when the launches to the moon continue to be delayed.
Then we have Herb, who I found a tad bit unnerving as his mannerisms make me think he could be a robot in disguise. He comes off as very unnatural, which is a stark contrast to the newcomer Joey. As the newest member of the team, Joey still has lots to learn. He is a welcome addition to the screen as his eagerness to sell is equal to his motivation to impress.
The ritualistic hazing of Joey was a highlight of Eddie and Herb getting along together. Seeing the whole team bond at a Jetball game (yes, baseball with some interesting upgrades) sold the nostalgic ‘50s image of the traveling salesman going into new territory.
Generational oddities in Hello Tomorrow!
I found the retro feel and bits very fascinating, even with the advanced technology to assist. Joey has a transistor radio hanging on a loading cart while he works shifts at the grocery store. During an ad break in between innings of Jetball, the screen displays in black and white. Floating cars have analog dials, and a voice-to-text recorder operates using a typewriter.
Even with all these innovations, it is refreshing to see a society assisted by advanced technology without being reliant on it. Yet nothing is perfect and it’s interesting to see what failures the characters have, and what those failures could mean in this world.
Although Hello Tomorrow! portrays an alluring and idealistic community, the imperfections of humanity still shine through. Troubled marriages, stressful family relationships, and the struggles of being a dad are at the front line of this story. Since the episodes are quite short, the conflicts are enjoyable without overstaying their welcome.
While it’s billed as a dramedy, the comedy takes a comfortable leather-covered back seat, which I feel grateful for. There aren’t any moments where something honest is undercut by a bad joke.
One last thing to mention is the use of music, in episode three, there is a scene between Eddie and Herb that has ‘Lazy Day Blues’ (Fallout New Vegas for those wondering where they recognize it from) playing in the lobby. Crooning from The Dreamliners and Andy Williams leaves strong impressions that make you want to pull into a drive-in and order a 50-cent cheeseburger with a milkshake.
All in all, I will be lining up every week to see exactly where this inventive series ends up. The story isn’t quite there yet, but it was a boost to start off with three episodes. While lately there has been zero news about the Fallout TV adaptation, Hello Tomorrow! can fit as a good palate starter.
Are you into the retro-futurism aesthetic in games like Bioshock or Fallout? Need something a little light-hearted and simple for a weekly watch? Check out new episodes of Hello Tomorrow! as they air on AppleTV+ every Friday! Will you be watching? Let us know what you think of the show on Twitter or The Cosmic Circus Discord!