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In recent seasons, The CW has come into its own as an on-brand network that has enough high-concept, high-fun shows (Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), well-done comic book adaptations (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl) and genre fare (iZombie, The 100, etc.) to really stand out.
The pilot for No Tomorrow, the network’s slightly twisted new rom-com, displays enough charm and cheekiness to fit right in, though future episodes might have to tweak some things and expand the universe to really make this one stick.
AIR DATE Oct 04, 2016
A fundamental weakness is how heavily the pilot leans into its main stars’ attractiveness, which for some might be a little much since in real life Tori Anderson and Joshua Sasse wouldn’t exactly be underdogs in the dating world.
On the other hand, the duo are somehow able to make you not hate their genetic dominance partly because they come off as so likable — an essential aspect of any rom-com.
Anderson (Killjoys) plays Evie, who works at a giant no-fun company with an oppressive boss named Dierdre (Amy Pietz), who never skips a chance to tell Evie about her shortcomings. A do-gooder, Evie is following life’s rules without coloring outside the lines. Sasse (Galavant) plays Xavier, who doesn’t work at all and has fun all the time, yet also harbors the kind of backstory that would send most romantic prospects scrambling for the exit, no matter how good-looking he is: He believes the world will end in eight months and 12 days when a meteor hits it, and he has the overly detailed nut-ball “proof” if anyone cares to read it or listen.
Xavier is making the most of his eight months and 12 days by creating an “Apocalyst” with countless to-do items. One of them is to meet “rutabaga girl” Evie, whom he saw at the farmers market being overly concerned about how the vegetables were handled. She’s a cautious woman. She’s serious. Of course Xavier’s the perfect guy to loosen her up, even if he might not be exactly perfect given his end-of-days beliefs.
Having only seen the pilot, I can’t yet say if No Tomorrow can achieve the critical and creative heights of Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but it’s not there yet (and this pilot is not as good as those pilots were). There is, however, promise in the margins with a supporting cast that adds enough quirk to keep you eager to see if the potential is realized.
No Tomorrow is based on an already popular format; the show was created in Brazil and has done well.
Corrine Brinkerhoff (American Gothic, Jane the Virgin) is tasked with making the American version (the show has four other executive producers) work, and it’s a challenge — rom-coms can go bad in myriad ways.
The series could probably do with making Evie a little less Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-like in her wonder (“Holy smokes!” she says too often) and it might not have been the wisest decision to dress Xavier in so much hipster attire. But that could be the pilot trying too hard as most pilots do.
There was enough in this first hour to overcome most of my doubts. Pietz is wonderful as Evie’s boss. A nice twist is that Evie’s last boyfriend, Timothy (Jesse Rath), isn’t exactly a bad person — he’s super nice and likes her a lot and, sure, maybe he’s the safer bet, but she’s moved on more out of boredom than anything else. He also hilariously falls into shy-quiet mode when more than two people are around him, a conceit the pilot mines for laughs by using subtitles — it’s a joke that works every time. More important, maybe taking a break from Timothy proves Evie isn’t too perfect and will have flaws which will make her more relatable. Xavier’s goofier excesses in trying to loosen up Evie will probably be polarizing depending on how serious you want to take the show (he’s either adorably overstepping in his desire for her to seize the day and every moment in it or he’s a controlling jerk who prods her to do stuff she’s uncomfortable with).
There’s a good cast here, a template that has worked elsewhere and abundant promise. But No Tomorrow will need more tomorrows — multiple episodes — to find its groove and earn its spot alongside its stellar CW companions. Here’s hoping that happens.
Cast: Joshua Sasse, Tori Anderson, Amy Pietz, Jesse Rath, Sarayu Blue, Jonathan Langdon
Executive producers: Corrine Brinkerhoff, Maggie Friedman, Brad Silberling, Grace Gilroy, Ben Silverman
Premieres: Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET/PT (The CW)
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