Now Apocalypse is the nutso, graphic comedy that we need to shake up the Comedy Series race.
Sure, political satire is great, but I’m sick of hearing about corrupt people in power. Family comedies can go away, and don’t even get me started on nerds playing computers in their garages. The Television Academy has a reputation for not being super adventurous with their nominations (even though some really great things do sneak in every now and then), so accepting something like Now Apocalypse might be a tall order. Once you tune into this horny, sun kissed comedy, you won’t be able to stop laughing at how bonkers is it.
Creator Gregg Araki has always captured that restlessness of beautiful youth in his films and he transposes that into his first foray into television. Kaboom was a color coated apocalyptic fantasy with gorgeous surfers and Mysterious Skin pulls the rug out from under you when you realize the connection between Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Neil and Brady Corbet’s Brian. It feels like Now Apocalypse is the natural next step in Araki’s career since we have Avan Jogia’s Ulysses trying to untangle the mystery of a strange alien lizard (stay with me now…) while trying to get stoned and laid. He says in the first few moments of the pilot, “I do shit sometimes and I don’t know why. To avoid boredom, I guess. To feel alive? For the fucking fuck of it.”
One of the best things about Now Apocalypse is how it doesn’t take itself too seriously while managing to discuss important topics without letting the writing crumble. Bisexuality is almost nonexistent in mainstream network comedies–of all shows, NBC Trial & Error might have the most recent bisexual characters–but streaming platforms and cable shows feature a bevy of out members of the LGBTIA+ community. Desiree Akhavan’s The Bisexual is more about coming to terms with new aspects of sexuality, but Jogia’s Ulysses admits to being an “ever oscillating Kinsey 4.” While he does focus a lot of energy trying to get to know Tyler Posey’s Gabriel, Ulysses has a tryst with a woman at a party, and he’s very much vocal about enjoying the experience. Now Apocalypse doesn’t makes a huge deal about its characters’ sexual fluidity. It’s just there, and the characters are enjoying each other.
Sex has always been a main aspect to Araki’s filmography–whether the story is about fantasies or abuse–and Now Apocalypse is no exception. These are all horny, beautiful 20-somethings living in Los Angeles, after all. Kelli Berglund’s Carly explores her dominant side with her boyfriend, Jethro, and they experience both the good and bad sides of trying new things in the bedroom.
Probably the most endearing aspect of the entire series is how Beau Mirchoff’s Ford is allowed to be play the role of needy, emotional partner in a relationship usually reserved for poorly written female characters in romantic comedies of yesteryear. Severine’s realistic outlook on sex (and scientific and almost clinical explanations to Ford) keeps us all in check. There is a teddy bear, adorable quality to Mirchoff’s Ford that differentiates him from other toxic, heterosexual dudes. He does have a lot to learn when it comes to the emotional side of being in a relationship and fully embracing sex, but Mirchoff makes him a lovable dolt not unlike Matt LeBlanc’s Joey Tribbiani with a gym membership and shorter shorts.
The Television Academy would be heroic if they embraced a candy coated, mysterious romp like Now Apocalypse. It would actually make people view their nominations differently, and it would certainly make them more relevant to honor a legendary director like Araki who has been a beacon of queer cinema for decades.
What have you got to lose, Television Academy? Be bold. Be original. Be the awards body that nominated the sex-fueled comedy about wandering Los Angelans whose days might be numbered by the end of the world. With the world raging like the biggest dumpster fire, it might be more of a premonition than you think.
Now Apocalypse, in all its glory, is streaming on Starz now.