There’s something to be said about a show that begins the entire series with the words ‘Hello? Hello? Hola? Bonjour? Chinese Hello?’
Those first few seconds where we see Phil driving around in an RV filled with pop-culture memorabilia and historical artifacts sums up Last Man on Earth perfectly. The entire first episode does. From Phil’s margarita pool to the poo-pool and the ‘Crossing of the Delaware’ hung up behind his bed, we’re told everything we need to know – this isn’t going to be your average post-apocalyptic TV series where you watch the main character struggle for survival and battle the elements. This show is going to make you laugh. And it does. A lot.
The first episode has to be one of the greatest things to grace TV in the last decade. You see a side of the apocalypse that a lot of other shows are too…not afraid, but too boring to cover. What would you do if you were the last person on earth? Would you go car bowling? Would you flame thrower a giant pyramid of toilet paper? Would you steal the world’s priceless cultural artifacts and put them up in the biggest mansion in town, that also happens to be your new home?
And then there’s Phil’s slow spiral into depression. He realizes that he actually is the last person on earth. No one’s coming. No one’s there to look after him or talk to. He’s alone, left with all the vices that the world left behind. It’s a dark, twisted, extremely emotional 15 minutes of television that is absolutely perfectly crafted.
It’s something that gets left out of a lot of shows like this. The post-apocalyptic genre is quickly becoming stale, but Last Man breathes new life into it.
It’s not just a new take on the genre. The storytelling is fantastic, too. Spoilers, but Phil isn’t actually the last man on earth. He quickly meets Carol, who later becomes his wife. He meets Melissa and Todd and the rest of the crew, as well as a few oddballs along the way. The story begins with him, sure, but he grows, the show grows. He becomes less selfish, the show becomes less selfish, and Phil begins to care about the people around him just as much, if not more than himself.
Last Sunday in the season 4 finale, we saw Phil finally grow up. He decided to finally lay down roots somewhere and, in his words, ‘…find the place I’m going to die.’ It’s a wonderful end to a powerful season, one that could be the final of the series, which is really sad to me. This was one of the few shows I’ve followed from the beginning. It’s a show that I’ve really respected for its innovation and humor. I really hope Fox decides to keep it going.
There’s only so much I can say about Last Man on Earth without repeating myself. What I can tell you is that you need to watch it, at least the first episode. Give it a shot and see what I’m talking about. Experience the difference for yourself. Because it really is different. It’s a unique, innovative, fucking hilarious post-apocalyptic masterpiece that might be ending way too soon.
So go forth, reader. Go out and find Last Man on Hulu or dailymotion. Find it. Watch it. Enjoy it.