NBC is a confusing network. After hosting an awards show (the Golden Globes) for which the network was up for zero awards, after dismantling its signature Must See TV Lineup, and after failing in its “broader is better” strategy, NBC seemed like a network in search of an identity. Once the proud home of classic sitcoms like Cheers, Friends, The Office and Seinfeld, ratings on the network have been buoyed in recent years by Sunday Night Football, a singing competition (The Voice) and murder (six of its seven highest-rated scripted series are procedurals). The one great scripted series the network did own, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, was essentially handed over to Netflix because it didn’t fit NBC’s brand.
What’s bizarre about its newest series, You, Me, and the Apocalypse, is that it doesn’t seem to fit within whatever NBC’s evolving brand is. What’s even more bizarre is that it’s good. It’s very good. It’s so good, in fact, that it’s surprising that NBC hasn’t sold it to Netflix already.
You, Me, and the Apocalypse reaches into its Must-See comedy past and pulls out a few familiar faces: Jenna Fischer (The Office), Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation), Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and even her husband, Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), and it smartly puts them in roles that are completely unrecognizable to fans of their previous work. You, Me and the Apocalypse was co-produced by NBC and the British network Sky 1 (where it has already aired), and its sensibilities are far more British than American. It’s also unlike anything that’s ever aired on NBC.