TV: Creamerie (Season 1)

The most immediately noticeable aspect of Creamerie, a science fiction comedy series from New Zealand, is the similarity of its premise to Y: The Last Man. But even more striking, after watching an episode or two, is how dramatically it makes something out of almost nothing. With only talented actors, fun scripts, and pastoral locations at its disposal, Creamerie still manages to pull off a quirky dystopian future mixing amusing banter with shockingly dark left turns.

Like Y: The Last Man, Creamerie takes place in a future where men have mysteriously died off. Now the rural countryside of New Zealand is ruled and managed by “Wellness,” a council of elite matriarchs that controls the flow of remaining, refrigerated sperm, doled out to the locals in a recurring lottery to keep the population going. On the fringes of this outwardly pleasant post-collapse society are a trio of outsiders: Jaime (J.J. Fong), Pip (Perlina Lau), and Alex (Ally Xue), who run a small dairy farm. They span the spectrum of reactions to the officious New Age cult of Wellness: lawful Pip longs to rise through its ranks, rebellious Alex wants to tear the system down, and Jaime is caught in the middle, resenting the system but also desperate to have a child, which only Wellness can enable. Their lives are turned upside down when the impossible happens: Bobby (Jay Ryan), a surving man, shows up on their doorstep, leading to an unexpected, treacherous conflict with the forces of Wellness.

Creamerie presents a uniquely funny and twisted take on the “male plague” premise, and while it’s very low—if not completely bereft—of science fictional dazzle, its oddball future still works. The key is an audacious, go-for-it energy, cultivated primarily by its three delightful leads—all also co-creators, and clearly integral to the show’s daffy vision. Fong, Lau, and Xue have impeccable chemistry, bringing to life scripts charged with witty banter and frantic shenanigans. The backdrop is hilariously modest—imagine dystopian science fiction on a Letterkenny budget—but that actually works in the show’s favor tonally. The deft, enjoyable escalation builds to a convoluted finale that doesn’t fully pay off, but at six fast-paced episodes the season bursts with frenetic comic energy that occasionally veers ambitiously into dark commentary. Creamerie is definitely rough around the edges at times, but it kept me squarely in its corner from start to finish, and I hope it continues.

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