Then they brought in a sort of US Jail sitcom element, with Jenna Fischer out of the US Office as an ever so lovely librarian lady wrongly convicted in a women's prison, experiencing an unlikely jailbreak with the aid of cyberterrorists and going on the run with a Deep South white supremicist lady called Leanne who has a swastika tattoo on her forehead.
And then there was the US Military drama, bit less comedy feeling, this, with Arnold the general in charge of organising Operation Saviour, the attempt to divert the comet by hitting it with a rocket, having a secret affair with Scotty, the civil service chap in charge of emergency planning. (I have to admit, this is the only bit of casting I'm not quite sure about : I have some difficulty believing in Paterson Joseph as a US General. Seems like there's something incredibly British about Paterson Joseph. But that may just be overspill from things I've seen him in before.)
And finally we have the Glamour Section from the Vatican: Sister Celine the world's most gorgeous-looking nun, and Father Jude played by Rob Lowe, all filmed against a series of fabulous jewel-coloured Mediterranean buildings and locations, as if to make the point to alien observers: Earth: it's Not All Like Slough, You Know. Celine and Jude have the job of investigating potential Messiahs on behalf of the Catholic Church, which feels that if the end of the world is nigh, clearly its time for the Second Coming and they need to be sure to back the right horse.
I really like the way all these different and contrasting strands have wound together. The cast and writing are superb. It's gone from being 'oh yes, that will be suitable for entertaining my rightbrain, while my leftbrain gets on with some work.' sort of viewing, to 'put the computer down, all my brain wants to watch this!' It has got darker and darker though, and has pretty much left sitcom land behind now, and I'm a bit worried about where it's going next. But I definitely want to know!
Tell you what though, the US government/military/NASA setup in this makes a hell of a contrast with the situation in 'The Martian' where everyone is basically just really nice and works together in perfect harmony. This is a much more British world view somehow. Even the nice people end up doing mean and dirty things.