Still Up is a wonderful new series that follows the late-night adventures of best friends Danny (Craig Roberts) and Lisa (Antonia Thomas). It’s entertainment for all the raging insomniacs out there – the people with terrible sleep patterns, the ones up all night and unable to find relief in rest. The premise follows the best friends through nocturnal phone calls, a new take on the very common friends-to-lovers trope. It’s a romantic comedy full of crazy adventures that can only happen in the middle of the night, away from prying eyes, featuring quirky individuals that can only be met once in a lifetime, and impulsive decisions that can only be made in the dark.
As the series progresses, the friendship between Danny and Lisa deepens into something more, with inklings of their romantic compatibility sprinkled throughout earlier on. The script utilises jealousy and uncaring boyfriends to further elucidate how Danny and Lisa are truly meant to be, with each of their phone calls showcasing how dependent on each other they’ve become. It’s not quite a slow burn, but the tension builds steadily through the ten instalments, so it doesn’t feel like their chemistry comes out of left field. The episodes are also paced just like their relationship: a diligent climb full of midnight shenanigans, building up to the main punchline. From there, they end abruptly, somewhat unresolved, leaving it all for the day to solve.
There’s something very uplifting about the humour in Still Up. For one, it makes audiences realise how long a night can be, how many of those hours are wasted sleeping, and the abundance of things that can be done in that space of time. Flashbacks are used for snappy comedic effect, and sometimes the characters are a cringy mess that adds all the more to the entertainment; it’s amazing to see two people so familiar with each other’s idiosyncrasies still find a way to fall in love in spite of them. The rest of the supporting cast are also very endearing in their own right, with Danny’s neighbour Adam (Luke Fetherston) being an absolute highlight.
Production-wise, there’s a very bottle-like structure to how it’s filmed, with each episode comprised mostly of only two sets – the respective current locations of Danny and Lisa. Danny is more often within the confines of his home, while Lisa moves from venue to venue. Lighting is used instead to differentiate the mood changes in the scenes. This gives their relationship more intimacy and implies that, despite the people and environment changing around them, the connection between them stays the same.
Still Up marvels in simplicity and focuses on two people, growing from friendship to love, and the friends and strangers who help them realise that all along the way.
Still Up is released on Apple TV+ on 22nd September 2023.
Watch the trailer for Still Up here: