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Saturday, January 30, 2016

PILOT REVIEW: You, Me, and the Apocalypse


Starring: Jenna Fischer, Matthew Baynton, Joel Fry, Gaia Scodellaro, Lloyd Owen, Pauline Quirke, with Megan Mullally, and Rob Lowe

Created by Iain Hollands
Written by Iain Hollands, Directed by Michael Engler

You, Me, and the Apocalypse is a new NBC comedy that originally aired in England recently. These types of shows are usually reserved for summer, but it may have been the all star cast that got it on during the season. Apocalypse follows a ragtag group of people who survived an apocalypse in a bunker though the premiere focuses on the events leading up to the apocalypse. Each person has a very separate backstory: Jamie Winton (Matthew Baynton) is a bank manager looking for his missing wife while his evil twin brother, Ariel Conroy (also Baynton) is the leader of a cyber terrorist group. Rhonda McNeil (Jenna Fischer) has recently headed to jail. In jail, a white supremacist, Leanne Parkins (Megan Mullally), befriends Rhonda. Over in Italy, a hard living priest, Father Jude Sutton (Rob Lowe), has recently hired Sister Celine Leonti (Gaia Scodellaro). All three of their worlds collide leading up to the apocalypse, though it's not quite clear how in the pilot.

In the first couple minutes, I was very unimpressed by You, Me, and the Apocalypse. I dreaded the fact that this is a whole hour to sit through. But, it slowly started to grow on me and by the end, I was really enjoying it. The strong cast elevates this with Megan Mullally an early standout. Sometimes, Mullally can be too much for me but she's funny and restrained here. Jenna Fischer seems to be heading in an interesting direction with her character that is a far cry from Pam on The Office. And Rob Lowe is being Rob Lowe with his very liberal priest role. But that's not a bad thing.

This shows seems like it could be reminiscent of The Last Man on Earth when it actually gets going, but the pilot felt quite different from Earth. It was so much exposition but that was probably needed for a show like this. The pilot did a nice job of getting the viewer invested in three distinct stories that will obviously intersect. There was a lot that happened in the first episode, but they managed it well.

I guess the question going forward is how will these characters intersect and what will the show look like when they do? Just seeing the flash forward at the very beginning and end of the episode made me think this show is going to be very different in a few episodes and I'm not sure I'll be as into it. As I mentioned, the beginning of the pilot was a big turn-off for me only for it to find its way as the episode went on. But it also seems like there's a real plan here. I know I could probably figure out what happens next since it already aired in the UK, but I'm content to not look it up at the moment.

I'm content to not find out what happens because I do plan to give this at least another episode or two to see if it holds my interest. I'm skeptical, but the pilot did enough to make me want to give it a shot.

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