Though the log line of Now Apocalypse—a paranoid slacker named Ulysses (played by Avan Jogia) believes he is about to uncover the truth about the forthcoming global apocalypse and becomes romantically involved with Gabriel (played by Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Posey)—may seem like a fever dream, it is not. The show’s official trailer, however, is enough of a frenzied collection of scenes from the first season that warrants a closer look.
Ever since the news broke in mid-2018 that Posey and Jogia would play lovers on Now Apocalypse, the upcoming Starz comedy series from new-queer-cinema pioneer Gregg Araki, some niche corners of the Internet have been simmering with excitement. Inside of this comedy cowritten by Araki and Slutever creator Karley Sciortino lives a wacky (and at times satirical) tale of millennial paranoia, sexual fluidity, economic precarity, and the end of the world. Before the show premieres at Sundance (and eventually lands on Starz on March 10), you might have some questions based on the bizarre trailer.
What is this show even about?
A group of friends in Los Angeles aspires to be something they’re not in Now Apocalypse. In the series trailer, which was just released Wednesday, Ulysses begins by saying, “I’ve always had an attraction toward the unknown…it’s like we’re on the brink of total annihilation.” What’s more interesting about him, though, are his various sexual escapades across the city of Los Angeles. He also keeps having crazy intense dreams, like the recurring nightmare in which he thinks he has uncovered a mysterious hidden truth about the end of the world, which only prompts his best friend, Carly, to suggest that maybe our conspiracy-minded narrator should smoke a little less weed. While riding his bike and simultaneously hitting his vape pen in the middle of the night on the way to meet up with Gabriel, a guy he met on an app and has been texting with for a few days, Ulysses does discover something, only it’s not what you would expect.
Will anyone on this show ever be fully clothed?
Fans of the underrated MTV scripted series Awkward will recognize Beau Mirchoff in the trailer. In Now Apocalypse he plays the lovable but goofy (and very fit) Ford, an aspiring screenwriter and best friend of Ulysses, who almost never wears a shirt and is almost always dripping in sweat. Posey also appears shirtless in the trailer, and Jogia is rocking a half-buttoned look (or a mesh tank) in most of the frames. All of this begs the question: How much nudity will this show allow? It is Starz, after all, so perhaps Now Apocalypse is counterprogramming all the other premiere cable dramas out there that seem to prioritize female full-frontal nudity over male.
How does the show plan to portray sex work?
Between Now Apocalypse‘s portrayal of Carly (played by former Disney Channel star Kelli Berglund), an aspiring actress who cams for money whenever she’s strapped for cash, and Netflix’s Blumhouse-produced cam girl thriller Cam, starring Madeline Brewer, it seems that cinematic depictions of sex workers are growing a little more nuanced. It makes sense that Now Apocalypse would be at the forefront of that mission, considering the fact that Sciortino has made a name for herself by writing about sexuality and relationships, often covering the more taboo or controversial angles on the subject.
How similar will Now Apocalypse be to previous Gregg Araki projects?
A handful of the main cast—Jogia, Posey, Mirchoff, and Berglund—are all known for appearing on more wholesome television shows, like Nickelodeon’s Victorious or Freeform’s The Fosters. But in the trailer, you will see Roxane Mesquida, known for appearing with Anaïs Reboux in Catherine Breillat’s 2001 psychosexual thriller À ma soeur! and later starring in Araki’s Cannes Queer Palm–winning film Kaboom. Given the fact that Araki is reusing some of his talent from previous critically acclaimed projects, Now Apocalypse might follow in the tradition of ruffling some feathers, stirring up some laughs, and redefining traditional formats of storytelling. This time it just all takes place on television.
What’s up with the giant lizard monster at the end of the trailer?
Ulysses peers around the corner in an alleyway and sees a giant lizard monster assaulting someone, which causes him to faint. There really seems to be no explanation for this one, so you’ll just have to watch the first episode of Now Apocalypse in March to find out.