‘Now Apocalypse’ – Is the end nigh or is he high?
Ulysses is a man adrift.
As played by Avan Jogia (“Tut,” “Twisted”) in the trippy coming-of-age comedy series “Now Apocalypse,” created and executive produced by Greg Araki (“Kaboom,” “Mysterious Skin”) and premiering Sunday, March 10, on Starz, he’s a Millennial gay man searching for himself and fame in Los Angeles – when he’s not hooking up with lovers and indulging his love of marijuana.
Alongside him on their own quests are pals Carly (Kelli Berglund, “Lab Rats”), a struggling actress stuck in a dead-end relationship with a self-absorbed boyfriend; Ford (Beau Mirchoff, “Awkward”), a pretty boy aspiring screenwriter and Uly’s best friend from college; and Ford’s girlfriend Severine (Roxane Mesquida, “Gossip Girl”), a dedicated NASA scientist and French transplant.
All are in search of goals common to young adults, namely life, love and lots of sex. But what Uly’s friends don’t have in common with him are his disturbing visions of impending apocalypse and an alien conspiracy – which he suspects may be a product of his THC-saturated brain.
“I think that paranoia is such a theme in this show,” says Jogia, “and what I like about this show is that you’re not sure whether this is really happening or not, like whether these alien visions are real.”
While he may be questioning his own sanity, there is no doubt about Uly’s sex drive.
“I kind of explain him as sort of a sexual astronaut,” Jogia says. “He’s exploring the reaches of the world around him and he’s excited about it and it’s something he takes a lot of joy and passion in. And he’s trying to find love, on Grindr, on apps. That’s sort of a hard thing in this day and age. And I think that he’s kind of like the most traditional, funnily enough, of all the characters because he just wants to be loved and to love someone. And the other characters, I think, are going through more of an exploration even in a way than he is.”
Indeed, while Carly combats boredom/earns an extra buck doing sexy webcam performances and Severine questions her relationship with Ford, Uly drifts along from hook-up to hook-up, until one night while walking home he stumbles upon what appears to be a man having sex with a lizard-like alien.
Freaked, he confides in Carly what he saw. She’s skeptical.
“She loves him to death but just thinks he’s so high that he’s seeing things,” Berglund says. “Doesn’t believe it, is like, ‘OK, maybe you stop smoking so much weed.’ And I don’t know if there’s a moment where she sees the whole alien thing for herself. … Like is it a metaphor or is it real? It could be both.”
“She keeps me tethered to like some sort of reality,” Jogia adds. “And I smoke more pot and then less pot and more pot and less pot throughout the show and you see a difference. So it’s sort of interesting to figure out if this is all happening at all. But I think Carly is definitely someone who grounds him and anchors him.”