Still Up 2023 / A nocturnal screen-centric romcom series that turns what could be a gimmick into something quirkily compelling


Most media that plays on our hyper-usage of technology has a decidedly scary bent: think “screen-life” thrillers like Unfriended, Host, and Searching. But Still Up — which is not strictly a screen-life show, but relies heavily on FaceTime as a storytelling device — uses similar means for a romantic comedy end. Danny (Craig Roberts) and Lisa (Antonia Thomas) are friends with the same problem: they can’t sleep. For that reason, the show — the first three episodes watched for review, at least — takes place entirely at night. If that wasn’t enough of a constraint, Danny is also agoraphobic, so all of his scenes are set in his apartment (hence why the duo communicate through their phones).

It’s to Still Up’s credit that these limits on its setting don’t give us a sense of claustrophobia. The performances gel the conceits together, and the inventive writing makes something technically constrained feel paradoxically expansive by recognizing that strange spike of clarity and introspective energy that comes when the world gets quiet. Though some of its comedy skews a little too kooky in places, initial romantic rumblings build assuredly to suggest that one nocturnal revelation waiting to be had is that these two night owls might actually be each other’s soulmates hiding in plain sight.

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