The Last Man On Earth

Com­edy at the end of the world

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - View screen -

Tele­vi­sion’s been dish­ing out post- apoc­a­lyp­tic like it’s go­ing out of style lately, with high- con­cept dra­mas that ex­plore how hu­man­ity deals with world’s end. And that’s pre­cisely why Fox’s The Last Man On Earth seemed such an in­spired al­ter­na­tive. The com­edy, cre­ated by Phil Lord and Chris Miller ( The Lego Movie) and star Will Forte ( MacGru­ber), posits that by 2020 a virus has run through hu­man­ity and all that’s left is av­er­age, 30- some­thing Phil Miller. For two years, he tra­verses the con­ti­nen­tal United States in a camper van look­ing for some­one else – to no avail. Phil leaves a few mes­sages point­ing to his ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion in Tucson, Ari­zona and there he waits.

It’s cer­tainly an in­trigu­ing idea with a lot of po­ten­tial for a ma­jor US net­work to at­tempt, but it’s ul­ti­mately spend­ing time with Phil that ru­ins ev­ery­thing. In the pi­lot episode, we get to watch him while away his days smash­ing fish tanks with bowl­ing balls, turn a gor­geous man­sion into his squalid den of gross, cut a hole in a div­ing board so he can poop in a luxury pool, creep­ily mo­lest a store­front man­nequin, and best Tom Hanks’ Cast Away shtick by talk­ing to many inan­i­mate balls ( a gag that’s 15 years mouldy).

Half­way through Phil’s aw­fully point­less, dis­gust­ing adventure, hu­man­ity dis­ap­pear­ing starts to feel like a mercy killing for us all. That’s not to say that Forte doesn’t pro­vide some mo­ments of quiet pathos or hu­mour – he’s a like­able ac­tor – but his Phil proves to be a non- pro­duc­tive waste of space. It be­comes in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to root for Phil even when he gets des­per­ate enough to off him­self. He’s saved that fate by the first in a se­ries of big twists that we won’t spoil here, but you can guess con­sid­er­ing 13 hours of a one- man TV show is rather un­ten­able.

It’s dis­ap­point­ing that the writ­ers waste a premise with so much prom­ise – where they could be ex­plor­ing the smart, sub­tle ab­sur­di­ties of fickle hu­man­ity – by in­stead go­ing for the easy poop, bro- judge­ment, Ne­an­derthal man jokes. With ev­ery self­ish, mean, horny- ob­sessed choice Phil makes, he’s more and more “that guy” in your of­fice, fam­ily or cir­cle of friends you wish a gen­er­ous apoca­lypse would take out. Tara Bennett

Ad­mit it: you’d quite like to do this too.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.