With the recent premiere of NBC’s “You, Me, and The Apocalypse,” audiences were looking forward to the end of this seemingly never-ending episode.
The pilot begins with Jamie Winton, played by Mathew Baynton, giving a voice over as he is huddled with a disheveled Rhonda, played by Jenna Fischer, and a cackling Sister Celine, played by breakout actress Gaia Scodellaro, on the day of the apocalypse. They are in a shelter wondering why they are the chosen survivors. The scene then flashbacks 34 days before the apocalypse, where viewers get a glimpse into each character’s life and watch the events that transpire the day they find out the world is headed for sudden doom.
A seemingly normal Jamie is pulled from his job and is accused of being a leader of a terrorist group, Deus Ex Machina, on his birthday. He is shown pictures of himself in places he has never been to. The only logical explanation he can seem to come up with is that he has a twin he doesn’t know about.
Rhonda, a librarian, is arrested for allegedly hacking the NSA. She spends her first day in prison and is taken under the wing of a white supremacist, Leanne, played by Megan Mullally. The racially separated prison felt like an “Orange is the New Black” parody. Fischer assumed a role of a meek character with an edge, similar to her role as Pam Beesly from “The Office.” Mullally plays “crazy” well and did not disappoint.
Sister Celine is a young nun who flees her convent in pursuit of a more meaningful career in the Vatican. She encounters Father Jude, played by Rob Lowe, a chain-smoking priest who is cynical about his faith. This is an interesting role for Lowe to play, but it almost feels like his character was trying too hard to separate himself from the usual stereotype of a priest. Scodellaro was not eclipsed by the renowned actors in this show, but was able to stand out and establish a strong character.
It is not until the last 15 minutes of the show that we find out the title of the show is about, with the characters preparing for the end of times, not panicking for their uncertainty. Their mundane reaction made the extinction of humankind seem anticlimactic.
Creator and writer of the show Iain Hollands misuses a promising cast and a unique plot. The advantages of “You, Me and the Apocalypse” are squandered on a dragged out, hour-long episode. Brevity could have worked in its favor, as well as the producer trying a little less to make his audience laugh and a little more trying to keep them interested in sticking around for another week. Within the first half-hour of the show, I was ready for the comet to strike.