Created and directed by Laura Broman and Asha Norman-Hunt, TUTV’s latest series “The End is Now” (2017) is an apocalyptic mockumentary following the lives of four women as they face the end of the world while on a college campus. The group grapples inner conflict as each takes on a different view of how to deal with the apocalypse.
The main character Josie, played by Josie Watson, struggles with depression and anxiety, and hopes to find purpose as the world is ending. Her best friend Lacey, played by Ilana Hamer, tries to enjoy her time before the world ends and strives to connect with Josie. Their other housemate Kim, played by Maddy Duke, is the sole survivor of her sorority after the house is absorbed into a sinkhole on campus. She becomes the guardian of the house since she knows how to use guns to kill zombies. The fourth housemate Carole, played by Charlotte Eccles, turns to God and tries to convert as many people as possible, claiming that the rapture is approaching.
Unlike many films made in the apocalyptic genre, “The End is Now” chooses to make women active agents instead of helpless objects who are unable to get into survival mode. Broman spoke with the Daily about the filming process.
“It was all shot basically inside our house because it was all we had,” Broman said. “We just had no ability to do blood rain or fire balls or the other things that really happen. We didn’t have extras to wear zombie makeup, so that’s one of the reasons we kept it inside the house. A lot of zombie things are outside, they’re very big, they’re running from a hoard of zombies and those are cool. I like those movies a lot, but it’s just very different in that it’s inside and that they don’t go anywhere. They’re staying.”
Setting the show in an apocalypse allowed it to explore issues of gender, religion and sexual orientation and was a deliberate choice, according to Norman-Hunt.
“We thought of the apocalypse as more of a situation,” Norman-Hunt said. “You know who people are when they’re at their bare bones. We kept them in the house, yes, because we didn’t have the budget, but also a lot of apocalypse shows happen on the road and we wanted to show what happens when you don’t have that mobility.”
The characters in the series all fill different roles in the house, but also defy convention. The characters’ full scope and departure from stereotypes make them multi-dimensional, just like the students they aim to represent. Norman-Hunt spoke about how characters in “The End is Now” defy these tropes.
“We have the Christian religious girl and we get to see her point of view,” Norman-Hunt said. “All of their points are logic-based, so you can’t be like ‘oh she’s the bitch’ because we all have made mistakes, and we all are doing things to the best of our own advantage … So when I wrote that I was just thinking, if it comes up, it was taking a sorority girl trope and flipping that on its head.”
The first seven episodes of the webseries were released on Sept. 30, and the final seven episodes will be released on Dec. 1.
Norman-Hunt explained the stylistic changes in filming and the arc of the series’ narrative led to this split.
“We had originally been like ‘Season 1, Season 2,’ because I thought that we could literally outline the arc of the entire show,” Norman-Hunt said. “It’s not like ‘The Walking Dead’ where [the characters] can just keep on running; at some point the apocalypse is going to catch up with [our characters]. We thought that we either had to come up with some fantastical ridiculous ending or some horrible one.”
“The first half was really about the girls coming together, about them figuring out … ‘You don’t have to be my friend, but you have to understand and respect me and work with me because we are all that we have right now,'” Norman-Hunt said. “The second half is going to be like, ‘Now the apocalypse is actually happening in real time, so we’ve kind of gone through the whole bonding element and now we can use those elements to actually survive.’”
Broman also spoke about the two-part format of the series.
“We also had kind of a format change nearing the end of the series, and we kind of realized that it worked out if we made a part 2 of like a two-part release,” Broman said.
“The End is Now” offers an alternative perspective on a male-dominated genre, and the next installment promises to take on existential themes in addition to the groundwork laid out by the first seven episodes.