TV Review: You, Me and the Apocalypse (Episode Two)

you me and the apocalypse review nbc sky atlantic rob lowe mathew baynton jenna fischer megan mulally joel fry pauline quirke hulu iain holland

You, Me and the Apocalypse is a bold, adrenaline-fuelled comedy-drama about the last days of mankind – boasting a relentlessly entertaining mix of action, adventure, romance and wit set against a backdrop of apocalyptic chaos.

The story follows an eclectic group of seemingly unconnected characters around the world as their lives start to intersect in the most unexpected ways, all triggered by the news that a comet is on an unavoidable collision course towards earth.

So, another episode of this fun comedy-drama series. We’re still following the stories of our protagonists from last week – Jamie & Dave, Rhonda & Leanne, and Father Jude & Sister Celine – but we also meet some new ones (Paterson Joseph as General Gaines, and Kyle Soller as Scotty), and see the overarcing plot move forward.

A real strength of this series, I think, is the multiple perspectives and different strands that the story takes. The narrative progresses at a fairly strong pace, and they maintain a level of intrigue with the little introduction at the start of each episode. Making the ending clear, but not quite the details of the ending, gives them an anchor to each episode, which works quite effectively, I think. There was another new character shown to us in the bunker at the start this episode – a wounded soldier. He’s not been introduced in the present yet, so I’m interested to see where that goes.

It’s worth singling out Joel Fry as Dave, who was consistently the funniest character throughout this episode. He’s got a great double act going with Mat Baynton, which is a lot of fun to watch. The majority of the best lines and moments this episode came from him – the sequence with the elderly people was quite funny, as well as the car surfing. It’s also nice to see another approach to the idea of the apocalypse; the show’s done pretty well with displaying a fairly diverse set of circumstances and attitudes amongst the different characters.

Something that also stood out to me was the question of Father Jude’s faith. Admittedly, watching Rob Lowe read the Bible isn’t the most interesting thing I’ve seen on TV before (though they made a fairly good effort), but the fact that, despite all his vices, Father Jude has a strong faith and belief, seems to me to be a fairly compelling character.

Episode two wasn’t, admittedly, quite as good at the opener, but it was still an enjoyable way to spend an hour of my time. Which is really all I want from something like this!

8/10

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TV Review: You, Me and the Apocalypse (Episode One)

you me and the apocalypse review nbc sky atlantic rob lowe mathew baynton jenna fischer megan mulally joel fry pauline quirke hulu iain holland

You, Me and the Apocalypse is a bold, adrenaline-fuelled comedy-drama about the last days of mankind – boasting a relentlessly entertaining mix of action, adventure, romance and wit set against a backdrop of apocalyptic chaos.

The story follows an eclectic group of seemingly unconnected characters around the world as their lives start to intersect in the most unexpected ways. All triggered by the news that a comet is on an unavoidable collision course towards earth.

I have been looking forward to this show for quite a few weeks now, ever since I saw the first adverts. There’s a very impressive cast here; Mathew Baynton, Rob Lowe, Pauline Quirke, Megan Mulally, Paterson Joseph and so on and so forth. (Obviously, there are lots more people – Jenna Fischer, Joel Fry, Gaia Scodellaro – who are very talented, but the aforementioned are the ones I was immediately aware of.)

That, and it’s a great concept. 34 days until the end of the world? Sure. Apocalypse situations – anything that changes the status quo – always interest me in stories, because when done well, they can be really great character pieces. Lots of potential for interesting drama there.

The episode starts with a traditional framing device – our title character, Jamie Winton (Mathew Baynton) is narrating from the end of the series, before cutting to 34 days earlier. I’m not always a fan of that sort of thing, but it’s used to quite good effect here. You see, the characters we’re introduced to in this episode span the globe – Slough, New Mexico, and Vatican City are our main locations for the episode. The question of “How do these characters get from Point A to Point B?” is rather more interesting when such a breadth of distance has to be crossed – it presents a much more complicated question of what’s going to happen over the next ten episodes.

Similarly cleverly, the narration points out that there are 15 people in the underground bunker, trying to survive the apocalypse, but the camera very carefully withholds details, only showing us three of main characters (and a monkey) all of whom look very dishevelled and distressed. Immediately, a question is implicitly raised: “Who is going to make it to the end?” The framing device creates this question, rather than precluding it, which is typically the case with such devices.

And, of course, the characters we’re introduced to are all very interesting ones. Mathew Baynton as Jamie Winton, the bank manager who’s spent the past 7 years trying to deal with the disappearance of his wife – and on the same day that he finds out the world is ending, he gets new information as to her whereabouts. Jenna Fischer as Rhonda, a librarian arrested for high treason, covering for her son after he hacked into the NSA. And, of course, Rob Lowe as Father Jude, the Vatican’s very own Devil’s Advocate, with Gaia Scodellaro as his new assistant, the nun who wants to travel the world. They’re characters who work, with really skilled actors performing some excellently written parts.

It is, of course, a very funny series as well. I’d originally expected it to be more in the vein of a half hour sitcom, acting as something more of a joke machine, not too dissimilar to Parks and Rec – but, of course, when I saw that each episode was an hour long, I realised it’d be a little different. The humour does tend to come from the characters (Rob Lowe’s Father Jude is by far the funniest, as a priest who drinks, smokes, and swears. His “Christ on a bike” line is rather brilliant) but there’s also some wonderful subtle humour that comes from the direction, such as the introduction of Megan Mullaly’s white supremacist character.

The first episode is an excellent introduction to the series, and I’m really, really looking forward to seeing more of it. There’s a really interesting overarcing story at play, by the looks of things – I’m trying to avoid going too deep into certain spoilers for now, because you really should watch it – and I’m quite excited to see where this is going.

9/10

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