TV review: "Catastrophe" is the best rom-com on TV right now

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

With the glut of viewing options out there, there's almost always going to be a comedy series flying under the radar that's truly special. Recent examples of this include Comedy Central's "Review" or FX's "You're the Worst." Amazon's "Catastrophe" might actually best both - in terms of laughs and smarts - thanks to the judicious writing and wonderful performances from stars/creators Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan.

"Catastrophe" has a fairly simple setup. While working in London, Rob (Delaney) meets Sharon (Horgan) and strikes up a carefree, short-term romance which results in an unplanned pregnancy. It's basically the Judd Apatow film "Knocked Up" - only far superior (and I like that movie).

The six-episode series is a delightful mixture of sharp humor and interesting and unusual characters in a narrative that feels both genuine and fresh. As Rob and Sharon navigate the various complications their pregnancy presents - Rob moving his career across the pond to be a father and partner, Sharon dealing with the apprehensions of a mid-life pregnancy, their exasperating families and how each one feels about beginning a relationship with so much at stake - the series becomes more and more charming. (Although the pilot is remarkably well-done and should grab viewers quickly.)

Where "Catastrophe" is truly extraordinary is how Delaney and Horgan - who co-wrote each episode - have shaped their characters. Neither is perfect, but both are good people navigating a tough situation, and both are insanely funny. Horgan is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses and Delaney is nearly as great, giving the duo unparalleled chemistry. Their budding romance - from its loving, frittata-filled moments to its catastrophic arguments, and everything in between - has a magnetic appeal and moments of real-life affection.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the supporting cast. Initially more of sounding boards for our leads, these characters eventually get fleshed out and give the series some of its best moments. Chain-smoking/vaping Brit Chris (Mark Bonnar) is captivatingly hilarious and weird, while Carrie Fisher, Ashley Jensen and Jonathan Forbes are superb, too.


Streaming on Amazon

4 stars