I know, new television really isn’t my thing. I’m still watching old reruns of MASH and Mary Tyler Moore. I did indulge in True Detective and the first two seasons of House Of Cards (I can’t get into season three and I have no clue why). Now I’m working my way slowly but surely through Tina Fey’s new Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s really funny with 30 Rock type humor, it’s just not a good one to binge on. I gave up on Mulaney despite my love for Martin Short and I am the only person who doesn’t watch Orange is the New Black; but I just discovered a show that believe or not is on a network, is completely original, and less than 10 episodes in. The Last Man on Earth is the first show I’ve been hooked on in a long, long time.
Over on Fox (yes, besides the Simpson’s they are still a thing), The Last Man on Earth airs Sunday Nights after the whole Animation Domination line up. SNL’s Will Forte who can make me laugh with nothing but a goofy smile plays Phil Miller, the last man on Earth. What is so smart about the setup is that we never find out what the cause was nor do we care. Instead we watch Phil carry out fantasies for two years like play bowling with lamps and setting toilet paper on fire with a flamethrower. At the same time it is based in reality where there is no running water, vegetables, limited power, and everything you would expect after an apocalypse to hit. But as Phil slowly goes crazy (he makes friends with all kinds of sports balls thanks to his love of the movie Castaway) he meets Carol, the last woman on Earth.
Kristen Schaal who you might know as the voice of Louise on Bob’s Burger’s plays Carol, an annoying, super sweet, grammar Nazi who has her highs and lows when it comes to good ideas. Thing is, these two are the last people on Earth and are tasked with the duty of repopulating. Have I hooked you yet? If I haven’t, there’s something wrong! I know that’s kind of a standard plotline, but Carol won’t sleep with Phil unless they’re married. Annoyed and angry, Phil reluctantly agrees and they get hitched. Now there’s a twist! Melissa shows up, the second last woman on Earth who is played by January Jones (aka the incredibly attractive Betty Draper from Mad Men). She’s Phil’s dream girl but now he’s stuck married to frumpy and weird Carol. And this was only the first three episodes.
Will Forte apparently came up with the series idea over a weekend and pitched it around till he was made star, executive producer, and creator. He now joins a long list of SNL cast members who created their own shows. Generally these days, they have been doing fairly well. What makes Last Man such a unique show is that there are endless possibilities since it was inspired by classics like The Omega Man and I Am Legend. There could be zombies, mutants, aliens, or some kind of Futurama world. Instead, it’s pretty much a romantic comedy as everyone goes about their business and adjusting to the new way of life. It’s now eight episodes in and there are so far four characters, something that has never been done before to my knowledge. No guests or back ground extras; these people carry the show with day to day post apocalyptic duties and love.
Like I said before, Forte is hilarious and he shines here with some great lines and comic timing. My only worriment for the single cam sitcom is that it will eventually run out of ideas. Remember My Name is Earl? Another high concept show that had to go to extremely creative lengths to keep storylines going which is what eventually led to its cancelation. So far, this show has kept the surprises coming as it always ends on an “oh Damn” cliffhanger. They will have to no doubt bring guest stars and characters in and out and maybe change up the setting once in a while. But right now, everything seems pretty new and exciting. Then there’s the Sunday night airtime that has notoriously not worked out for other post Animation Domination shows like The War at Home. I think the show’s style would fit in well on Thursdays like predecessors The Office and Parks and Rec. I guess if the show quality is there, it will get an audience.
The last thing that might turn people off is Forte’s character. He is genuinely not a nice guy as he tries to chase another woman and take care of just himself. But with his dopey and honest demeanor, it kind of works and you forgive him for his mistakes. As I say, right now the show has done no wrong and it’s too early to tell what will change or where it will go. I sense deeper plot lines and character changes as it goes on. But if that’s the only thoughts I’m thinking right now about what’s to come, I’ll take that as a good sign. Last Man is a must watch!