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TV Review: Now Apocalypse

TV Review, Starz, Gregg Araki, Now Apocalypse, Steven Soderbergh, Comedy, Drama, Sex, Adult

Synopsis: Now Apocalypse follows Ulysses and his friends Carly, Ford and Severine, who are on various quests pursuing love, sex and fame. Now Apocalypse explores identity, sexuality and artistry, while navigating the strange and oftentimes bewildering city of Los Angeles. Between sexual and romantic dating app adventures, Ulysses grows increasingly troubled as foreboding premonitory dreams make him wonder – is some kind of dark and monstrous conspiracy going on, or is he just smoking too much weed?

TV Review, Starz, Gregg Araki, Now Apocalypse, Steven Soderbergh, Comedy, Drama, Sex, Adult

Review: Sometimes, I feel like I get what is going on in the world of film and pop culture. A child of the 80s and 90s, I am able to appreciate cinema from the earliest silent films to the craziest indies produced today. But, even I have my limits and Now Apocalypse pushed me to the very edge. Billed as a comedy with surreal science fiction undertones, I would never have given this series a second glance had I not seen it was produced by the brilliant Steven Soderbergh. Written and directed by indie filmmaker Gregg Araki (KABOOM, THE DOOM GENERATION) along with Karley Sciortino, Now Apocalypse has an intriguing premise and a trailer that recalls Araki's acclaimed feature work. The finished result, however, is an absolute mess replete with awful acting and a lack of any sort of narrative structure.

Now Apocalypse loosely focuses on a group of Millennials living in Los Angeles as they deal with all sorts of sexual conundrums and relationship hurdles. If that sounds like many TV shows that air these days, you would be correct. What sets Now Apocalypse apart from a series airing on Freeform or even network television is the copious nudity. There are threesomes, BDSM, voyeurism, homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual liasions, and even anal sex between a homeless man and a reptilian alien. Yeah, you read that correctly. All of these insane moments could have easily led to something profound but they are hobbled by production values straight out of a late 90s softcore porn flick.

TV Review, Starz, Gregg Araki, Now Apocalypse, Steven Soderbergh, Comedy, Drama, Sex, Adult

Led by Avan Jogia as the bisexual lead character Ulysses, the cast features Beau Michoff as Ulysses roommate and aspiring screenwriter Ford, Roxane Mesquida as Ford's girlfriend Severine who is also some sort of astrophysicist with Asperger's Syndrome, and Kelli Berglund as Ulysses friend Carly. Of the main cast, Jogia and Berglund are the best actors with Michoff and Mesquida woodenly delivering their lines while the viewer can ogle their Ken and Barbie physiques. Berglund, who in many scenes could pass for Jennifer Lawrence, is the most likeably of the characters and deserves far better than this series has to offer. Jogia is the anchor to all of these characters and his performance wildly ranges from sincere to embarassingly overacted.

Director Gregg Araki has built a career out of films that challenge sexual identity and gender roles and familiar faces from his prior films make cameo appearances. There are also supporting roles from Teen Wolf's Tyler Posey, Breaking Bad's RJ Mitte, 24's Mary Lynn Rajskub, and even Henry Rollins. But none of these actors feel like they are doing more than a favor to Araki by appearing in this uneven and mediocre production. Filmed over 40 days, this ten episode series begins to gel somewhat after the first few episodes, but if you have the strength to get through that then you have a much better tolerance than I do.

TV Review, Starz, Gregg Araki, Now Apocalypse, Steven Soderbergh, Comedy, Drama, Sex, Adult

Now Apocalypse pales in comparison to the films of Gregg Araki. It looks and feels like a relic of mid-1990s late night cable programming. If not for the fact that the young cast consistantly remind the viewer that they are Millennials, the series feels like it is aimed at an older demographic who will appreciate the music and style which Araki handles very well. But, much of Now Apocalypse feels like what a sixty-year-old filmmaker would think that an early-20s audience would like to see. Instead we get a show that wants to be edgy and sexy but instead is throwing dildos and nudity at the screen as if it is something not readily accessible from any Internet-enabled device. This is a show that fails in every way to deliver on the surreal trailers that promised a daring and original show. Instead, it somehow makes breasts and sex seem boring.

Now Apocalypse premierers March 10th on Starz..

Source: JoBlo.com

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