Still Up review: Insomniac comedy may send you to sleep

Danny (Craig Roberts) in Still Up on (Apple TV+)
Danny (Craig Roberts) in Still Up on (Apple TV+)
  • 📺 Where to watch Still Up: Apple TV+ from 22 September

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 2/5

  • 🍿 Watch it if you liked: The Flatshare, Man Up, Lovesick

  • 🎭 Who's in it?: Antonia Thomas, Craig Roberts, Blake Harrison and Luke Fetherston

  • How long is it? 8 x 30 minute episodes

  • 📖 What’s it about? An impulsive and free-spirited aspiring illustrator whose questions over her daughter's future start keeping her up at night, and the socially anxious yet gifted journalist Danny connect through their insomnia.

Best friends Lisa (Antonia Thomas) and Danny (Craig Roberts) have trouble sleeping. Connected by late night conversations and a shared condition, is Still Up the romcom Apple TV+ insomniacs have been waiting for?

As packed with potential as the premise might be, this lightweight dramedy from creators Natalie Walker (I May Destroy You) and Steven Burge lacks direction. They might be venturing into Richard Curtis (Notting Hill) territory with the charming off-kilter chemistry of its central duo, but this series never really pulls off the balance so essential to making things work.

Read more: Everything new on Apple TV+ in September

Trapped inside his flat by choice, Danny and Lisa rely on their smart phones or tablets to build chemistry, not only diminishing drama throughout but often making events feel forced.

Lisa (Antonia Thomas) in Still Up. (Apple TV+)
Lisa (Antonia Thomas) in Still Up. (Apple TV+)

Besides the insomnia Danny is also an agoraphobic, giving him a fear of open spaces and certain situations that might make him anxious. His thinly drawn next-door neighbour Adam (Luke Fetherston) is a convenient solution, who does all Danny’s food shopping and acts as a foil to any comedy which occurs, making him more of a plot device than a fully fleshed creation.

Other casualties in the acting stakes include Blake Harrison (The In-betweeners), who barely gets a look in as Lisa’s long-term boyfriend Veggie. He plays second fiddle in every sense to a central relationship that might be obvious, but still takes an age to get going.

With the creators pushing the boundaries of belief by writing this romcom into a rose-tinted London landscape, Still Up never really feels grounded either. It's down to Antonia Thomas and Craig Roberts to pull off a miracle and save this series solely based on their chemistry.

Veggie (Blake Harrison) in Still Up. (Apple TV+)
Veggie (Blake Harrison) in Still Up. (Apple TV+)

It's an approach that almost achieves the impossible, even if it falls at the final hurdle due to a lack of genuine drama elsewhere. The contrived encounters which pass for comedy in this original Apple show might force audiences to look elsewhere for their entertainment as apathy sets in.

For that reason, Still Up may well be the perfect show for insomniacs, since ironically, as it proves to be an instant snooze fest despite those disarmingly charming central performances.

Still Up premieres its first 3 episodes on AppleTV+ from 22 September.