What would you do if a handsome Australian man told you the world was ending and he wanted you to help him complete his bucket list? Don’t all jump at once. Okay, maybe some of us are already putting in our two weeks notice at work. Still, it’s a wonky concept on paper to begin a show with. Luckily, CW’s latest new series “No Tomorrow” is up for the task. Rather than dwell on the craziness of the central apocalypse theory, the show takes a much more deft approach. It asks the question: What are some things in your life you would do now if you knew you’d never get the chance?
Evie Callahan (Tori Anderson) is a stage fright beauty who loves order. However, her life plan isn’t quite working out. Her pencil pushing job has reached its peak, as her boss doesn’t believe she is assertive enough to progress. The only thing that keeps her spirits up is her chance encounter with her dream man, a hipster hunk named Xavier (Joshua Sasse). Her quest to find the mystery man gets set into motion when she receives a package of his mistakenly dropped upon her doorstep. Upon returning it, she finds Xavier’s house packed with a myriad of cool expensive items. While charmed by him, alarms go off (literally) once she finds out he believes the apocalypse is roughly eight months away. Still, something about Xavier’s thirst for life and the fact that she found herself on his bucket list endeared Evie to Xavier’s crazy theory.
Meanwhile, in her regular life, Evie is proposed to by her sweet, but safe and introverted on-again-off-again boyfriend Timothy (Jesse Rath). Her family implores her to accept the proposal, as she has entered her thirties and they believe she only has a few good years left to have a kid. Refusing to believe this is her last shot at love, Evie decides to go back to Xavier to help him complete his bucket list.
It seems like ages ago that CW was viewed as a channel exclusively for teen girls. Over the past two years, the network has aired two of the most original, complex shows of each pilot season. “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” have both received critical praise for their fresh take on underserved genres – telenovelas and musicals, respectively. In addition, the stars of both, Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) and Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), have both won Golden Globes for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. In many ways “No Tomorrow” had a lot to live up to. Its placement in this season’s roster set it up to be the third show in CW’s female-empowerment trio. While not quite at the high of those shows, the show doesn’t disappoint.
The stunts in the episode are hardly new. However, there is a vitality to the characters that could propel them to more extreme situations. The pilot does a good job of crafting an arc for Evie. It never seems unbelievable that she would take to Xavier’s crazy plan. Not only does she conquer her fear of singing in public, but we see her take charge in her mission to live life more freely. There is going to be a lot of great comic mileage for her character to grow.
Anderson and Sasse are the crown jewels of the show. As Evie, Anderson effectively conveys the character’s type-A predilections as well as her delightfully awkward moments. It’s a winning leading performance that can headline a show. Sasse is equally winning as the dashingly carefree Xavier. The two have an effortless chemistry that is a joy to watch.
Outside of them, the supporting characters do little to add to the luster of the show. Timothy is sweet, if mild mannered. He’s a nice compliment to some of the rougher edges of Xavier. However, Evie’s family are all shrill and one note. Her work colleagues try a little too hard to be funny. Finally, her hellish boss, Deirdre (Amy Pietz), is written too baldly villainous to be interesting.
If the show aims to be more like a “My Name is Earl”-type show that follows Evie and Xavier on different far fetched adventures, that could work well. However, in its current, more standard sitcom nature, the show needs to be bolder. It doesn’t break the mold in the same way “Jane the Virgin” or “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” does. Yet, it’s a fun show anchored by two charming leads. Hopefully it will cut loose as the end of the world looms.