WHEN | WHERE Premieres Thursday night at 8 on NBC/4
WHAT IT’S ABOUT Jamie (Mathew Baynton) — a bank manager in Slough, outside London — is wrongly accused of being a master hacker; in fact, his twin (evil) brother, Ariel, is the one the cops really want — but he’s in New Mexico looking for Rhonda (Jenna Fischer), a librarian who just got tossed in jail for hacking herself. Then . . . at the Vatican, Father Jude (Rob Lowe), in charge of debunking miracles, has just hired a new assistant, Sister Celine Leonti (Gaia Scodellaro).
Oh, and did I mention the crucial plot twist? A comet is speeding toward Earth, which is now doomed. All the characters are headed on a collision course, too. Produced by WTTV, an NBC joint venture with the prestigious and prolific British producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (“Bridget Jones’ Diary”), this series has already aired in the U.K.
MY SAY Between you, me (and the apocalypse), there were times while watching this loopy but definitely interesting oddball that I wished the comet was moving just a little bit faster. And . . . CUT! . . . to a Michael-Bay-stylized shot of flaming hell headed straight toward that pale blue dot we all call home. At least that might speed up the action on Earth, or on-screen.
“You, Me and the Apocalypse” isn’t just one shaggy-dog story, but four, each with its own narrative quirks, tone, pace and characters. They’ll all eventually muddle toward the same place, but in the meantime, it’s up to viewers to juggle all these balls handed to them.
Think of this as a little bit of Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies”) along with some of Tim Burton’s whimsy. There’s a genial vibe that masks a much harsher one, hence some confusion over labels. Comedy? Drama? Who knows? Who cares? Answers in this case are irrelevant anyway.
Meanwhile, there are subtle allusions to Shakespeare, Revelation and the entire span of Judeo-Christian history or end-of-history, and when that all gets too heavy — or distracting — there’s the occasional fun guest star, like Nick Offerman, who pops up at the strangest moment, wearing the strangest stuff. Diana Rigg also turns up later, and she’s always worth waiting for.
So what are you, me and every other viewer out there best advised to do with this fun (occasionally not-fun), interesting (sometimes dragging) attempt by a major network to combat Netflix or Amazon Prime? Easy answer: Wait for all 10 episodes to post on Hulu.
BOTTOM LINE Quirky, uneven oddball that will appeal to a few. Best to wait for all episodes to stream and go ahead and binge.