Can you derive joy from the end of the world? The CW’s newest comedy is hoping that answer is “yes.” Because while most prophets of doom tend to fall into one of two categories—lost souls on street corners or pulpit-pounding evangelists—No Tomorrow‘s apocalyptic soothsayer (played by Joshua Sasse) is a much more optimistic sort of weirdo. The former Galavant star plays free-spirited mathematics whiz Xavier, who’s calculated that the end of the world is nigh, and convincing new flame Evie (Tori Anderson). Though not wholly convinced of Xavier’s proclamation, Evie proceeds to create a bucket list (or “apocalyst”) to approach life with a fresh, new philosophy born of spontaneity and joy.
So here it is, folks: the first-ever happy-go-lucky apocalypse show!
Co-creator Corinne Brinkerhoff explained at Thursday’s Television Critics Association summer press tour that, “there’s certainly plenty of apocalyptic doom kind of shows,” she explained. “[We have] an apocalyptic joy kind of show. As [funny] as that might sound, there’s something we can fundamentally understand and relate to.” Executive producer Ben Silverman called it, “a feel-good, uplifting show about the end of the world.”
For Brinkerhoff, No Tomorrow‘s premise is less about stopping the end, and more about embracing the inevitable with a positive spin. “What if it’s true? What if his math checks out? And it may very well. What do we all need to do to better seize the day and stay in the moment? We all fundamentally know on a gut level that the clock is ticking, and there’s no guarantee of any time. What if you explored that in a way that felt joyful and spontaneous as opposed to doom and gloom? That’s what we love about making the show.”
But don’t think Xavier’s predictions will go down all that easy. “Does she think he’s certifiable?” asked producer Maggie Friedman of Evie’s point of few. “I think that’s the central questions of the show … It’s something she struggles with and grapples with, but at the end of the day he’s so intriguing and captivating that she’s drawn to him no matter what. … That’s gonna be a struggle.”
Of course there’s also the question of whether or not she can “still love him if she learns he’s crazy” and not an actual doomsday prophet, which will be a big part of the duo’s struggle.
“We’re gonna have a lot of fun teasing the audience and keeping them guessing as to his level of sanity,” explained Brinkerhoff. “But he might be the sanest one of all. Because he obviously knows the secret of life, which is that you do have to seize the moment. Because nothing is guaranteed… It’s a philosophy that she derives enjoyment from. So whether the math involved checks out with every scientist sort of becomes secondary to what they discover about this way of life.”
As No Tomorrow progresses, the producers explained, Evie will find Xavier’s philosophy affecting not only her life, but her friends’ lives as well, resulting in a series that’s as much workplace comedy as it is a romantic sci-fi one.
“A big part of the show,” explained Friedman, “is the Xavier character’s philosophy spinning out and inspiring all the characters on the show to live their best life and get over their fears.”
“If you had a finite amount of time or if you won the lottery,” says Brinkerhoff, “the first thing you do is quit your job, right? But what we found with Evie and the journey she’s on is that there is something she derives from that that gives meaning and value, and there’s something she’s reaching for that gives her meaning and value. … We’ll see the ripple effect as that spreads through the workplace and the people in her orbit, and what everybody’s reaction is to that. What is their own bucket list?”
Whether or not his calculations prove correct, Sasse says his character is most definitely not a conspiracy theorist.
“For him it’s not a conspiracy. It’s not a whodunit or is it, could it, would it be: he’s come up with a mathematical solution to this. For him, it’s definite. It’s empirical truth. To approach a character you have to fundamentally believe in the thing you do. You try to embody that. I would avoid saying he’s a conspiracy theorist.”
As for whether or not the show will ever reach the doomsday that Xavier has foreseen, Brinkerhoff explained that “the original format did have a running clock” and that “it’s something we’ve thought about” but “haven’t necessarily landed on. Because we don’t want to put to fine a point onto where we are. The idea is to stay in the moment, live in the moment. That drives the [show]. Whether we’re at six months or seven months or eight months. But it is something we’re looking and thinking about in terms of our long-term plan… It’s just a question of when we want to reach that day within our show.”
Until doomsday arrives, Anderson will continue developing new skills as her characters works on her bucket list. The actress says she’s already learned everything from singing to hopscotch to ballroom dancing to breakdancing. “In today’s world,” added Sasse, “this is a really important lesson to grasp, of putting your phone down and doing something with your day.”
No Tomorrow premieres on October 4th. Are you looking forward to No Tomorrow? Let us know below!
Images: The CW