The new hourlong comedy/drama You, Me and the Apocalypse (NBC Thursdays at 8pm ET/PT beginning Jan. 28), a British import, is the darkly comic look at a number of complex characters in a complex situation — a comet is going to collide with Earth in 34 days and end life as we know it. For some of the characters, that’s about the best thing that could happen.
The series opens at Day 0, with Jamie (Mathew Baynton) deep in a fortified bunker beneath the suburbs of Slough in England. He’s among 15 people in the bunker who represent the future of humanity, for better or worse. The series reveals how, over the span of 34 days, these eclectic individuals from around the world got in there, and the intricate and unexpected ways they are all connected.
Jamie is a simple bank manager in Slough with not much going for him since his wife disappeared at Heathrow airport seven years ago while returning from their honeymoon. On his birthday, Jamie is arrested under suspicion of being involved in secretive cyber-crime organization Deus Ex Machina. He’s falsely accused, but the incident leads to clues about there whereabouts of his wife and a startling secret from his past.
Rhonda (Jenna Fischer) is a librarian sent to federal prison for a crime she didn’t commit — hacking into the NSA computer system. Rhonda’s taking the fall for her 14-year-old son, a computer genius who accessed the NSA’s data but didn’t steal any documents. Rhonda’s not well suited for prison, but she does find an unlikely ally in Leanne (an almost unrecognizable Megan Mullally), a white supremacist who knows the ins and outs of incarceration.
The most interesting and charismatic of the group is foul-mouthed, chain-smoking priest Father Jude (Rob Lowe). Jude is the Catholic Church’s “devil’s advocate” at the Vatican, a skeptic who presents evidence and arguments against the canonization of someone being considered for sainthood. Father Jude explains it best: “My job is to prove that they felt up kids and parked in handicapped spaces, and that the two miracles are bullcrap. It’s basically quality control, and it’s worked very well for 400 years, until ol’ JP2 abolished the office in the ’80s.” The office has been reinstated, and it’s Jude’s job to be “the ecclesiastical turd in the swimming pool.” Joining his office is quiet, reserved and pensive Sister Celine Leonti (Gaia Scodellaro), an unlikely candidate to be intentionally looking for people’s flaws.
Everyone’s world gets (even more) overturned when the President of the United States announces that an 8-mile wide comet will strike Earth in 34 days. The chaos that ensues, and the characters’ journey through it to arrive at the bunker, is fascinatingly funny.
Photo: Credit: Guy Levy/WTTV Productions Limited