Evie Covington (Tori Anderson), the heroine of The CW’s No Tomorrow, should have immediately been wary of the hot hipster flirting with her at the farmers market: Never fall for a man with a penchant for beaded necklaces and beanies. But Xavier Holliday (Joshua Sasse) is far from just the pretentious douche his outfit implies. He’s convinced himself the world is going to end in a mere eight months. Run, Evie, run. Only, yeah, he’s still pretty darn attractive.
No Tomorrow is the latest series added to The CW’s growing lineup of quirky hour-long comedies, and it follows the formula of Jane The Virgin, translating a South American show—this time Brazil’s How To Enjoy The End Of The World—for a U.S. audience. That it seems to be trying to imitate the sunny tone of Jane might also to do with the fact that executive producer Corinne Brinkerhoff wrote that show’s pilot alongside Scott McCabe and Toby Stanton. Right off the bat, No Tomorrow is not as strong as Jane or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but its winning cast, and the hint of darkness in its hook imply that it may prove its mettle opposite its formidable companions.
Evie has a lust for organization and a crippling case of low self esteem. Anderson—formerly of The L.A. Complex—sells this by imbuing her performance with a gawky, hangdog awkwardness. Evie’s akin to a Golden Retriever puppy, dejected that it can’t quite figure out how to stop peeing in the house. She works at an Amazon-style company’s warehouse at an ill-defined gig—she’s technically a “quality-control assessor,” whatever that means—but dreams of a promotion that would send her around the world traveling. But even her friends, genial Hank (Jonathan Langdon) and sardonic Kareema (Sarayu Blue), don’t have faith that she’ll accomplish her goals.
Romantic partners seem to inspire a different sort of devotion: She’s got a smitten, currently off-again, boyfriend, the ridiculously quiet Timothy (Jesse Rath). She’s far more enamored of Xavier, what with his striking eyes and perfectly coiffed beard. Obsession for them, it turns out, is a two-way street, as we discover he started lusting after her immediately following their encounter while shopping for fresh vegetables. They meet cute for a second time when a package belonging to him mistakenly gets delivered to her home, and she lugs it over to his boho, shabby chic place, only to discover his remarkable chillness has to do with his theory that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth. He’s given up on trying to spread the word, so has decided to spend his final days skirting responsibility and completing items off his bucket list, a whole host of which are related to sex. Is Xavier trying to use the apocalypse to get laid? Perhaps.
More pertinently: Is he prophetic, a charlatan, or just loony? And, if he is the latter, is the show then trivializing mental illness, a topic that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend handles excellently? No Tomorrow must walk a precarious line: It has to keep its cutesy romance afloat, allowing both Evie and its audience to fall for Xavier, without undercutting the morbidity of its premise or that its male lead might be genuinely unhinged. Sasse (Galavant) plays Xavier with clueless swagger rather than menace, but the first episode doesn’t gloss over the fact that Xavier’s attention could be hazardous for Evie: He takes a turn for the sinister when he hacks into her email. A brush with death—and the fact that sleeping with Xavier was apparently super-fun—sends her back to him at the end of the episode; she resolves to set him straight if he crosses any lines.
What’s also intriguing about the show’s worldview is that Xavier isn’t the only conspiracy theorist among its principal cast. Hank doesn’t ascribe to Xavier’s particular destructive vision, but he does think there might be a nuclear holocaust in the near future and is up to date on Jade Helm. No Tomorrow is by no means a political series—at least not yet—but in an age when falsehoods seem to reign, it relies on assuming that familiar anxiety is all around.
The other shows of its ilk on The CW have found success by refusing to write off the seriousness of their characters even as they embrace kookiness. No Tomorrow would do well to follow suit and remember that the shadow of death hangs over its concept—whether or not Xavier ends up being right. After all, putting aluminum foil in a microwave is fun at first, until you have to stop a fire from spreading.