There are some reviews where I just want to write “that was fine” and move on. Some shows just aren’t doing anything particularly remarkable or interesting, but they make for a moderately entertaining way of passing 43 minutes of my day. “You, Me and the Apocalypse” fits right into that mold. It’s not reinventing any wheels or doing anything distinct, but it does bring a quirky tone to a dire situation, making for a fun hour of television which could easily turn into an enjoyable miniseries.
“You, Me and the Apocalypse” takes place in the 34 days between humanity’s discovery of an asteroid that’s about to hit the Earth and the asteroid’s impact. A seemingly random group of people end up in an underground bunker at the time of impact, and the show tells the story of how they got there.
“You, Me and the Apocalypse” ’s biggest issue is how bland most of the characterizations are. The first episode works hard to give a backstory to a handful of the core characters, but it doesn’t do a good enough job of giving them depth within the backstory. Take Rhonda McNeil (Jenna Fischer, “The Office”), a death row inmate taking the fall for her son’s hacking of the National Security Agency. In the premiere, she moves into a maximum security prison and puts herself in hot water with the people who are there. Fischer brings a sense of warmth and fear to a character who barely has it on the page. Rhonda has a thin characterization, only brought to life by the performer.
The one exception to this rule is Rob Lowe’s (currently on Fox in “The Grinder”) character, Father Jude Sutton. Sutton runs the “Devil’s Advocate” division within the Vatican, which works to take down people who are being presented for sainthood. He smokes and he curses, so he’s an incredibly unconventional priest. That’s what makes him stand out; he’s not a standard type. Lowe brings a natural charisma and joke-telling ability that make the priest’s barbs that much more piercing. He’s the character who I’m most interested to see grow over the course of the series because his foundation is the strongest.
Yet there’s a certain quirk to everything “You, Me and the Apocalypse” does. It’s familiar to anyone who’s seen “Shaun of the Dead.” It makes light of the end of the world. However, this series doesn’t have Edgar Wright at the helm to bring a visual inventiveness to the jokes. Still, that doesn’t mean the series isn’t good or isn’t worth watching. There’s enough in Lowe’s character alone to support a series, and hopefully the ensemble around him grows as well.