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NOW APOCALYPSE gets 6.5/10 It’s the end of the world as we know it


Season 1 Episodes 1-5

Created by Gregg Araki
Starring Avan Jogia, Beau Mirchoff, Roxane Mesquida, Kelli Berglund

6.5/10

Streaming on Stan, this latest series sees four young people trying to deal with the craziness that is LA. Ulysses (Avan Jogia) is a young gay man, living with his heterosexual best friend, Ford (Beau Mirchoff). As Ford tries to make a name for himself as an upcoming scriptwriter, and reconcile his relationship with his overly clinical girlfriend, Severine (Roxane Mesquida), Ulysses struggles to work out what he exactly wants to achieve. Even the advice of his best girl friend, Cally (Kelli Berglund), doesn’t exactly help, as he is tormented by a strange premonition of oncoming doom. A premonition that becomes increasingly likely as he witnesses a bizarre event he is unable to truly believe.

In some ways Now Apocalypse is a millennial take of the cult classic Repo Man (1985), touching on many of the current peculiarities of life against the background of a mysterious oncoming and vastly strange possible world shattering event. Whereas the Generation X film was an anarchic celebration of nihilism, Now Apocalypse has, if not exactly an optimism, an odd acceptance of the situation. The world is a strangely broken place, and you get by, despite a changing economic environment, shifting sexual norms, and the occasional alien conspiracy. With so many factors pushing the doomsday clock towards midnight, just carry on, and vlog about it after. There is even an appropriate touchstone to this legacy in former Black Flag member (and Repo Man soundtrack contributor) Henry Rollins, playing a David Icke like figure.

It is that everyday strangeness that makes the bulk of this series. From dealing with polyamory bashing up against the bulwark of romantic tradition, to the mudanity and repetition of being a cam-girl trying to break into acting, Now Apocalypse delves into the everyday (and in LA that is a term that can be used sparingly). Each of the characters provide a unique take on the world they inhabit, from the naive but beautiful Ford, his oddly apathetic girlfriend, to the assertive Carly, and the clueless but ever observant Ulysses.

This is familiar territory for creator Gregg Araki (his Teen Apocalypse Trilogy and the failed MTV series This Is How The World Ends). However, it’s yet to be seen how that will translate into the long form storytelling of the series format. Will that ambiguity and ominous tone require a pay off down the track, and will that extended format require it to be more detailed resolution than a film? Five episodes in, and it’s looking like there remains an underlying background radiation of nebulous weirdness effecting the character’s lives. And honestly, in the age of Trump, is that even noticeable any more?

However the life of the characters is engaging enough, and the strangeness in the everyday is more than comical. Hence Now Apocalypse works to create a comedic lens to view the mundane through. The question is, just like life itself, how much longevity does it have?

DAVID O’CONNELL

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