Gregg Araki is one of the world’s greatest (and only) living queer auteurs.
A keen eye for raw sexuality and sensual, overly saturated color palettes, Araki has a unique vision that we’ve personally been missing. Polarizing as it may be, his work and influence have resonated through pop culture and helped define the New Queer Cinema movement.
Having broken into the independent film scene during the height of the AIDs crisis and making several iconic, independent 90’s films like The Doom Generation and Nowhere, Araki quickly made a brand for himself -- soaked in blood and various bodily fluids. He had relative success in the early 2000’s with Smiley Face starring Anna Faris and Mysterious Skin with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The bold director is now back with Now Apocalypse, a ten episode queer-AF sex comedy with a dose of sci-fi, outer space drama. Not only visually striking, the show’s soundtrack pulses with frenetic energy, featuring several queer favs like Troye Sivan, Frank Ocean and Years & Years.
It’s been a while since we’ve been blessed by something that is so purely Araki, as he’s most recently been using his talents to guest direct on splashy teen shows like Riverdale, Heathers (RIP), and 13 Reasons Why.
Now Apocalypse portrays the life of a few too-hot-to-be-real Los Angeles millennials in various couplings, throuplings, and sex play positions that pushes the boundaries of what’s typically seen on prestige TV. The show features various bisexual and pansexual characters, including the main protagonist Ulysses, played by Avan Jogia. The friendship between Ulysses and his straight roommate Ford (played by mega-hunk Beau Mirchoff) is one of the best things about the show. Ulysses clearly wants to fuck him, but the two have a strictly platonic love, and luckily the show doesn’t linger there.
The show’s MVP’s are the two lead female characters, both of whom push the men in their lives to different levels of sexual awakening. Kelli Burglund plays Carli, a badass sex worker who sells jars of piss for money and is seen in various forms of power play with different lovers throughout the season. Severine, played by Roxane Mesquida, tries to expand Ford’s sexual boundaries, much like Araki does with his audiences.
Shockingly gorgeous and convincing as they may be, it’s unfortunate that the majority of the main cast are straight identifying. It’s rare that our stories get to be told. It’s even more rare that we get to tell our own stories. With a queer director at the helm and so much buzz surrounding the show, this would have been a great platform for some up and coming queer actors.
Despite this, Now Apolocalypse is a hilarious and bold return-to-form for Araki and will rank as one of the year’s best. Here’s hoping Starz picks it up for a second season!