Now Apocalypse: Sex, Inclusion, and Weed for Dark Times

At SXSW 2019, we sat down with the cast and creators of Now Apocalypse to learn why the new show is a “ray of light” in dark times.

Now Apocalypse spares no expense to craft a multifarious millennial experience. The Starz series follows four 20-somethings in Los Angeles each pursuing the realization of their own dreams, but it’s also packed to the brim with sex, weed, and paranormal conspiracy. 

For the primary “hero” (and massive stoner) Ulysses (Avan Jogia) that dream is true love. For his roommate Ford, played by Beau Mirchoff, an acceptable endgame is a fruitful writing career. Ford’s partner, the mystifying Severine (Roxane Mesquida), bends relationship expectations while hunting for scientific success. The trio’s uninhibited friend Carly (Kelli Berglund), like countless others in Los Angeles, simply wants to be a well-known actor.

Director and writer Gregg Araki’s TV foray draws upon his successes in indie filmmaking, notably from his groundbreaking and proudly queer titles Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation and Nowhere. Paired with sex columnist Karley Sciortino (behind the sexually expressive Slutever), Araki injects Now Apocalypse with timely and decreasingly taboo themes of sexual exploration, inclusion of fringe groups, and drugs.

At SXSW 2019, we sat down with Araki and Sciortino, along with their show’s stars Jogia, Mirchoff, Mesquida, and Berglund to discuss why the new series comes at such a pivotal moment, and who its message can benefit.

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On the topic of timeliness, Araki shared, “I think that this show is such a positive and fun sort of portrayal of acceptance and the idea that people could just live their lives and love who they want. For me, I really feel like this show is a ray of light in this dark, dark time.”

Sciortino draws further upon the anxieties and desires of today’s young people. “I think that the show is very referential of the things that are being talked about now in the millennial/Gen-Z generations, but kind of with a wink and a nod.” Sciortino adds, “It’s aware of the world, but it’s also in a lot of ways, its own fantasy world.”

Jogia shed some more light on the show’s theme of sex, sharing “I like the show because it shows sexuality in a positive light and it’s fun, and it’s joyous, you know, it has nice and joyous sex scenes.”

Mirchoff celebrates Now Apocalypse’s emphasis on inclusion. “Anyone who’s feeling on the fringe of society can learn something from the show. It’s also not a soapbox.” Mirchoff feels the show also opens the door to conversations that need to take place today. “It’s treating kind of weird sexual proclivities as normal, and I think there’s something really refreshing about that.”

Now Apocalypse airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.