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Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen in Platonic, premiering May 24 on Apple TV+.Paul Sarkis/Apple TV+


Created by Nick Stoller and Francesca Delbanco

Starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Luke Macfarlane

Premiering on Apple TV+ starting May 24, with new episodes added weekly

Critic’s Pick

In an early episode of Undeclared, the Rosetta Stone of the Judd Apatow Entertainment Universe, a young Seth Rogen delivers a loving ode to the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail. Playing a college-aged stoner (shock), Rogen compares watching the rom-com to looking at waves rolling in on the beach. “You’ve got Tom Hanks. You got Meg Ryan. You got a very likeable Greg Kinnear. You think you’re better than it ... this movie is gonna suck ... then you watch it and it becomes a part of you. It’s in you.”

Truer words have never been spoken. But the same thing could be said about the calming, highly pleasurable sensation that takes hold whenever Rogen – who I guess we could call the Tom Hanks of his generation, a comparison that stands up better than you might first think – teams up with Rose Byrne, his very own Meg Ryan.

The pair have already played husband and wife twice, in Nicholas Stoller’s pair of underrated Neighbors movies, with Rogen’s huh-huh-huh affability nicely edging against Byrne’s faux prim-and-proper façade. There is just something about Rogen’s nice Canadian Jewish boy shtick that works well with Byrne’s repressed party-girl sensibility. And the duo’s odd-but-not-really couple chemistry is made all the better when the actress is allowed to use her natural Australian accent.

Now, by the good graces of the streaming wars, Rogen and Byrne are back together – albeit in a strictly non-romantic fashion – with the new Apple TV+ series Platonic, created by Stoller and his wife Francesca Delbanco. Very likely to go down as the funniest series released on the small-screen this year, the show is as much a reminder that Apple TV+ has gobs of money to burn – every episode is beautifully shot, every role filled by an ace comic bit player, every song a bouncy banger – as it is that television has really seized the comedy mantle from big-screen players.

The 10-episode half-hour series follows two friends from college whose lives have drifted apart since taking on – or shrugging off – the burdens of adulthood. Sylvia (Byrne) is a loving mother of three, tucked away in a cramped Los Angeles house and itching to get back into the legal field, which she abandoned in favour of helping her stupidly handsome and kind husband Charlie (Luke Macfarlane) advance his own career. Will (Rogen) sits on the opposite end of things, single and relatively carefree after recently going through a divorce, his only responsibility tending to the tanks at the hipster-cool bar where he’s brew-master. The pair reconnect after Sylvia notices an Instagram post from his ex, and from there proceed to rekindle – and then frequently disrupt – their friendship.

As with most Apatow-adjacent projects, the story here isn’t so much the thing as the vibe, as witty as it is warm. The predicaments that Will and Sylvie find themselves in – various low-stakes incidents and arguments and reconciliations – are all executed as merely an excuse for the performers to flex their scarily strong comedic muscles, and bask in the glow of each other’s extremely lovable, huggable personas. The series’ barely there conceit – that Will and Sylvie are constantly mistaken for husband and wife, but have almost no interest in pursuing such a relationship – works because the performers are so naturally loose and comfortable with one another.

While reteaming with Rogen and Byrne was surely the main draw for Stoller, Platonic also seems to exist just as much so that the director could offer more work for the cast of his unfairly ignored 2022 comedy, Bros. Not only have Stoller and Delbanco rehired that film’s highly charming Canadian co-star Macfarlane – playing, I suppose, the Greg Kinnear equivalent of this series – but also Bros’ secret comedic weapon Guy Branum (cast here as Charlie’s law-firm work buddy). Rounding out the ensemble is Neighbors veteran Carla Gallo (who has worked with Rogen since his Undeclared days) and TikTok comedian Vinny Thomas, who is poised for a breakout as Will’s moronic co-worker.

Like You’ve Got Mail, you might think that you’re better than Platonic. But then you watch it and, well, it becomes a part of you. It’s in you.