If the world was about to end, would you rather spend it with your nearest and dearest, or in an underground bunker in Slough with a group of 13 strangers?
Brand-new 10-part Sky 1 comedy drama You, Me and the Apocalypse explores what happens when that very thing happens.
With just 34 days left on Earth, the threat of an eight mile-wide comet brings a group of seemingly unconnected characters together into an underground bunker in Slough. Characters that come from all over the world, including New Mexico, the Vatican and er... Slough.
In true Sky fashion, You, Me and the Apocalypse boasts a stellar cast; Mathew Baynton (Yonderland), Joel Fry (Plebs), Pauline Quirke (Birds of a Feather), Jenna Fischer (The US Office), Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), Rob Lowe (Parks & Recreation) and relative newcomer Gaia Scodellaro.
The first time I became aware of Mathew Baynton, was when he played Smithy’s mate Deano in Gavin & Stacey, and since then Mat has gone on to become one of the UK’s rising stars of comedy, and deservedly so.
The Wrong Mans which he co-wrote and starred in with James Corden was superb, Yonderland is brilliantly bonkers and Horrible Histories goes from strength to strength, having recently branched out to the big screen in feature film Bill.
In You, Me and the Apocalypse, Mat actually plays two characters; Jamie Winton, a branch manager of a bank in Slough and Ariel, aka The White Horse, the leader of a shadowy cyber terrorist group Deus Ex Machina.
Jamie opens the series by asking more or less what the viewer is at the very beginning “Have you seen who else is in here? Who are these people? How the hell did this happen? Are we the future of mankind? I mean seriously!"
Of course, the first episode goes some way in answering these questions, which means the majority of the first episode is spent setting up who the characters are and allowing us to explore what their “normal” lives were.
Jamie's mother Paula, is played by Pauline Quirke, and she chooses the time of the apocalypse to let him in on a secret she’s been hiding for years.
Joel Fry plays, Dave, Jamie’s best mate who loves nothing better than winding him up. When news breaks of an eight mile-wide comet heading its way to Earth, Dave figure out what he wants to do, and that’s “get absolutely hammered”. But once he gets over that, he realises that he hasn’t really achieved much in his life so chooses to create a bucket list of all the things he’s always wanted to do.
Over in the Vatican, Rob Lowe plays rebellious, politically incorrect priest Father Jude. He smokes too much, drinks too much swears too much, and for him blasphemy is simply telling the truth. He knows the church isn’t God, and for him, the best way to show his love of God is to uncover the wrongdoing, corruption of the church.
The vatican is also where we first meet Sister Celine, played by Gaia Scodellaro, a wide-eyed innocent nun who heads to the Vatican to interview for the position go research assistant to Father Jude, hoping to leave her very sheltered life behind. Working with Father Jude, partnered with the apocalypse leaves her questioning everything she knows.
Then You, Me and the Apocalypse turns a bit Orange is the New Black, as we get a glimpse inside a female prison in New Mexico This is where we meet Rhonda, a librarian played by Jenna Fischer, who finds herself in prison after being sent down for a crime she didn’t commit.
In prison she meets Leanne, played by Megan Mullally, an unlikely sidekick for her on the inside. Leanne’s view on the world is totally reprehensible, yet somehow there’s something quite charming about her.
Other key characters in the series include General Gaines, a career soldier played by Paterson Joseph (Safe House) and Scotty, a minor Washington bureaucrat played by Kyle Soller (Poldark).
It’s not until the final part of the opening episode that we learn of the eight-mile wide comet that is "on a direct collision course with Earth”, resulting in hysteria in the female prison in New Mexico, the Vatican and Slough.
The episode ends with a voiceover from Jamie explaining “...that was how it started. That was the day our our old lives ended and our new ones began. 34 days ago. Feels like a lifetime. Back them we were hurtling through the universe on our separate paths and then BOOM, somehow we all collided."
The series begins with 34 days to go until the end of the world, with each episode bringing us one step closer to the apocalypse; 33 days, 32 days, 26 days, 23 days, 17 days, 14 days, 7 days, 24 hours and finally the end of the world arrives in the final episode, in what’s promised to be a “tense conclusion”.
Some series you need to watch a few episodes before you really get into it, but with You, Me and the Apocalypse, I was hooked in right away and can’t wait to see more. I can’t wait to see what happens when each of these characters meet and of course find out how they all ended up in an underground bunker in Slough.