Future Imperfect: “Hello Tomorrow” reviewed
In Hello Tomorrow!, Apple TV+’s latest, Jack Billings (Billy Crudup), a traveling real-estate salesman, is trying to sell the moon. For just $150 a month, courtesy of Brightside Lunar Residences, you can buy a piece of the universe. Unbeknownst to his customers, but given away to the audience far too early, is that Jack is just a flim-flam man, selling innocent people a lie and then fleeing after the big fleece.
Of course, Tomorrow questions whether this is really all worth it, as neither Jack nor any of his co-workers have much to show for their lies in their personal life. Eddie (Hank Azaria) is an unlucky gambler who believes that “desperation is a salesman’s greatest asset.” Herb (Dewshane Williams) is an anxious expectant father of twins. Shirley (Haneefah Wood), Jack’s right-hand woman, puts up with his lies but is herself cheating on her husband with Eddie.
Jack, meanwhile, abandoned his wife and son years ago. In the pilot, a tragic accident leads Jack to his old hometown, where he reconnects to his grown son, Joey (Nicholas Podany). When will his personal and professional lies come to the forefront, and what will happen when they do? Like a soap opera, those questions hover over the series.
But creators Amit Bhalla and Lucas Jansen don’t really envision Tomorrow as a long-form series; the show is really a movie, chopped up in ten pieces but without enough growth or interest to verify the individual installments. A separate storyline involving a housewife (Alison Pill) and an investigator (Matthew Maher) with an ax to grind stays too far along the periphery. Crudup is fine here, a slick veneer masking an undefined inner pain, but the show evades real grit, wanting Jack to be a flawed guy but not a lech or a loser. To really work, Tomorrow must be a true character study, and make Jack unsympathetic. Otherwise, isn’t the show just fooling itself?