📺 Where to watch Still Up: Apple TV+ starting September 21
⭐️ Our rating: 2/5
🍿 Check it out if you liked it: Apartment, Man, Lovesick
🎭 Who’s in it?: Antonia Thomas, Craig Roberts, Blake Harrison and Luke Fetherston
⏰ How long is it? 8 episodes of 30 minutes.
📖 What are we talking about? An impulsive and free-spirited aspiring illustrator whose questions about her daughter’s future are beginning to keep her up at night, and socially anxious but gifted journalist Danny bond over their insomnia.
Best friends Lisa (Antonia Thomas) and Danny (Craig Roberts) are having trouble sleeping. Bound by late night conversations and general well-being, Is Still Up the rom-com Apple TV+ insomniacs have been waiting for?
Whatever the potential of the premise, this light drama from creators Natalie Walker (“I May Destroy You”) and Stephen Burge lacks direction. They may be venturing into Richard Curtis (Notting Hill) territory with the charming off-kilter chemistry of their central duo, but the series never really upsets the balance so necessary to make things work.
Read more: Everything new on Apple TV+ in September
Trapped in their apartment by choice, Danny and Lisa rely on their smartphones or tablets to build chemistry, not only reducing the drama but often making things seem forced.
In addition to insomnia, Danny also suffers from agoraphobia, which makes him afraid of open spaces and certain situations that can make him anxious. His scrawny neighbor Adam (Luke Fetherston) provides a convenient solution: he buys all of Danny’s food and acts as a foil to any comedy that occurs, making him more of a plot device than a full-fledged creation.
Other acting casualties include Blake Harrison (“The Inbetweeners”), who barely manages to introduce himself as Lisa Vagga’s longtime boyfriend. It plays in every sense a secondary role to the central relationship, which may be obvious but still takes time to take effect.
As the creators push the boundaries of belief by setting this rom-com in a pink London landscape, Still Up never feels grounded either. It’s up to Antonia Thomas and Craig Roberts to pull off a miracle and save this series purely through their chemistry.
It’s an approach that almost achieves the impossible, even if it fails at the final hurdle due to a lack of genuine drama elsewhere. The contrived encounters that pass off as comedy in this Apple original show may cause viewers to look elsewhere for entertainment as apathy sets in.
For this reason, Still Up may well be the perfect show for insomniacs, as it ironically turns out to be a celebration of instant sleep, despite those disarmingly charming central performances.
The first three episodes of Still Up will premiere on AppleTV+ on September 21.