Idiot Box: “You, Me And The Apocalypse”

“You, Me And The Apocalypse” On Nbc

Devin D. O'Leary
3 min read
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An uptight bank manager from England, a wide-eyed nun from Italy, a mousy librarian-turned-prison-escapee from America and a monkey from … wherever monkeys come from are stuck in an underground bunker watching the world come to an end. Although it sounds like a perfectly good setup for a joke, this is actually the curious start of the British/American sci-fi series “You, Me and the Apocalypse.” A co-production between England’s Sky 1 and America’s NBC, “You, Me and the Apocalypse” is a maniacally paced mash-up of black comedy, melancholy drama and disaster-filled action. It’s also—straight out of the gate—the most interesting show to appear on the midseason network TV roster.

From its “so how did that happen?” opening, “You, Me and the Apocalypse” backtracks 34 days to explain that a rogue comet is hurtling toward Earth, ready, willing and able to wipe out every living thing. Our protagonists for this doomsday romp are spread across the globe. In England we’re introduced to our narrator, Jamie Winton (Mathew Baynton from “The Wrong Mans” and “Gavin & Stacey”). James is a thoroughly ordinary young bloke in a suit. Nothing unusual ever happens to him—until the day he’s arrested as a global cyberterrorist. It’s a charge that is not only surprising to his friends, but totally laughable as well. (His roommate asks if he can have copies of the mug shot.) Over in The Vatican, we see Sister Celene Leonti (Gaia Scodellaro), a scholarly but unworldly young nun recruited by the foul-mouthed, chain-smoking Father Jude Sutton (Rob Lowe in a seriously funny role) to serve in the office of “Devil’s Advocate.” Our triumvirate is filled out across the pond in New Mexico where shell-shocked Rhonda MacNeil (Jenna Fischer from “The Office”) is staring down a 10-year prison sentence for hacking into the NSA’s computer system—even though she’s clearly covering up for her teenage son.

The series will obviously spend its time showing us how these disparate characters are connected and what brought them all together in that tiny fallout shelter. For now, though, we get various twists and turns in the individual storylines. Jamie battles the preposterous charges against him. Rhonda befriends (not really) a white supremacist named Leanne (Megan Mullally, done up in amazing white trash garb). And Sister Celine? Well, she’s stuck with Father Jude battling the countless spiritual hoaxers and fraudulent saviors who are bound to pop up in the wake of the announcement that mankind only has a month to go before doomsday.

To its credit “You, Me and the Apocalypse” looks much closer to something you’d see on Netflix or HBO. Think “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” crossed with “The Leftovers” and dipped in “Mr. Robot.” The international production looks far more expensive than your average, couch-based sitcom. The cast is loaded with flavor, and the storyline is notably edgy—dipping into genuinely black humor and actual “we’re all gonna die” pathos on occasion. Where it’s going—other than that hole in the ground—is anyone’s guess. That makes this one entertaining and intriguing apocalypse.

“You, Me and the Apocalypse” airs Thursdays at 7pm on KOB-4.

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