Here’s a daring premise for a sci-fi thriller: The future is better.
The new six-episode series Moonhaven is set in a future when Earth has been rendered almost uninhabitable, but a colony of humans — with the aid of a powerful artificial intelligence — have transformed a patch of the moon’s surface into a lush paradise.
Over three generations, the people of Moonhaven have found a way to live in harmony with each other and their environment, all with the purpose of using their technology and culture to restore Mother Earth. But a murder case on Moonhaven leads to the discovery of a dark conspiracy and sinister forces that seek to control Earth’s last hope.
Moonhaven creator and showrunner Peter Ocko (Lodge 49) sought to create a compelling mystery set within an ultimately optimistic vision of the future. “I don’t think that being hopeful is a sign of weakness, and I feel that’s the way the world is tilting these days,” Ocko says. “Telling stories where hope still exists — the tagline for Moonhaven is ‘The future is better’ — so many shows could have that tagline and have it be ironic or dystopian. For me, that’s not the case.”
When the series begins, Moonhaven has been isolated from Earth long enough to have developed its own laws and customs, and much of its history is explained in hints. “I wanted to drop people into this very different world and have them explore it as the mystery unfolds,” Ocko says. “I wanted to create a utopia that felt like it was different, but made sense. Our mantra in the writers’ room was, ‘Let’s create a place that’s weird as hell, but you want to live there.’”
One of Moonhaven’s many themes explores how technology will fail without a culture to support it. “It’s not crazy to imagine that we’re going to be doing some miraculous things in the not-too-distant future,” Ocko says. “But the question is: Are we able to handle it? As that power increases, can we as a species handle that power? The point of Moonhaven is to create a culture that’s been actively working to be able to handle the kinds of technology that will save the Earth, but it’s not as simple as just bringing tools back to the Earth. You have to bring back a culture that will support those tools.”
Moonhaven premieres on AMC+ Tuesday, July 7, with the first two episodes, and subsequent episodes debuting Tuesdays. Dominic Monaghan, Emma McDonald, Joe Manganiello, Kadeem Hardison and Ayelet Zurer star.