It's interesting to note that when Sky does a genre show, they don't seem to spare the horses. In the past, adaptations of Discworld novels and fantasy adventures such as Yonderland have been fairly lush affairs, with every penny clearly shown on screen. Their latest offering to the gods of telefantasy, You, Me and the Apocalypse, is an all-star, truly big budget sort of event, and yet again shows how dedicated Sky is to getting genre onto the small screen.
As the title suggests, You, Me and the Apocalypse is a comedy about the end of the world. In 34 short days, a comet is going to hit and that will be the end of everyone. The story focuses on multiple characters, each of whom has a role to play in the events leading to the end of all things.
The tale begins with Slough bank manager Jamie Winton (played by Horrible Histories’ Mat Baynton) and his best friend Dave (Joel Fry), bumbling idiots who happen to be right in the heart of the action, thanks in part to a fair amount of dishonesty from Jamie's mum (played by Pauline Quirk).
As the story unravels, the plot takes us round the globe to introduce us to the other key players. This includes Rob Lowe, who puts in a star performance as the cynical Father Jude, a priest sent by the Vatican to keep a lid on any potential Second Comings.
Added to the mix is an American prison-break comedy, featuring the desperate to escape innocent Rhonda (Jenna Fischer) and not-so-innocent-but-hilarious Leanne (Megan Mullally). As these strands slowly but surely collide, the action gets sillier and funnier. Every performance is spot on and, though it's not flat-out wacky, there's enough here for every sense of humour.
The storytelling suffers slightly from the needs of being a broadcast TV show. Some plots meander more than they need to, and you can't help but feel that there is too much deliberate filler; perhaps had this been produced for streaming media (such as Netflix or Amazon), it would have been still as long but tighter.
You, Me and the Apocalypse is a cracking comedy and the sort of thing we need to be making more of in the UK. We do wish they'd kept the working title though: Apocalypse Slough. Partially for the pun, but mostly for its power to confuse Americans.
YOU, ME AND THE APOCALYPSE / CERT: 15 / CREATOR: IAIN HOLLANDS / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: MATHEW BAYNTON, JENNA FISCHER, JOEL FRY, GAIA SCODELLARO, ANNA JONES, ROB LOWE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW