NBC has a good show in it’s current schedule. I repeat, NBC has a good show currently on air. I don’t know if I should tell every single person I know, or keep quite in the hopes that NBC won’t notice. Because I can only imagine upon finding a good show, NBC will figure out a way to ruin and then cancel it.
And I need to see the end of this show. Surprisingly not for the “apocalypse” part. The end of the world is the least interesting part of the show. It’s as if the showrunners understand that shows are based on characters and writing instead of a single plot point (Grandfathered, I’m looking in your general direction). The show focuses on 5 mostly strangers: Jamie (Matthew Bayton) a British bank manager whose wife left him 7 years earlier, Rhonda (Jenna Fischer) a librarian who has just entered the prison system, Leanne (Megan Mullally) one of Rhonda’s new prison-mates, and Sister Celin (Gaia Scodellaro) a nun who’s considering taking a new job under Father Jude (Rob Lowe) as a literal Devil’s Advocate. The characters are well- developed, the dialogue is believable and witty, and the background stories … well the biggest compliment I can give is “I want to watch them.” It’s like NBC remembered that they once used to be really, really good at this.
I don’t want to give away too much more of the plot because the reveals are some of the best parts of the show. Even more to their credit though, the showrunners have managed to create storylines with enough depth that they don’t rely on mystery. We don’t understand exactly what has happened, why it happened or how. But it’s not really the hook. We focused on finding out what will happen, and, for the love of everything holy, I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about a NBC show (Don’t throw Hannibal at me either. That was about ambiance and relationships, not upcoming events.)
And speaking of everything holy, goddamn Rob Lowe plays a great asshole. Chris Traeger was optimistically obtuse and Dean Sanderson is narcissistically oblivious, but neither one is actually an asshole. Father Jude is curmudgeon trapped in a hot guys body. He’s a smoking, swearing asshole who loves the fact that he’s an asshole. I can’t say for sure that Lowe himself will be the highlight of the series, but his character is definitely the best part of the first episode.
Of course the fact that this is the first episode is something that needs to be addressed. Or rather the fact that this is the first episode in a show that by its nature can’t have a lot of episodes. The first season has already been recorded (and actually aired on Sky 1. Oh! It’s British! That’s why it’s good!), and is only 10 episodes long. I hate the idea of finding a brand new great show and immediately thinking, “I hope this only gets one season,” but I kind of hope this only gets one season. It’s a comedy about 5 people who are experiencing the biggest crises of their lives and the end of the world is fast approaching. It’s a dark, often irreverent, sometimes blasphemous comedy on the blandest network in already bland network TV. I’m so grateful that they’ve given this thing to us, but I will not abide them fucking it up. Give us one season, maybe two, and then put it to bed. At least with this show we know they can’t ruin the ending.