Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Television Review: The Last Man On Earth Season One

While "The Last Man On Earth" isn't one of my all-time favorite shows or anything yet, when I heard the news of there being a second season I decided to jump on the opportunity to finish the first season since it was just sitting there on Hulu Plus, waiting for me.    Like most people, I think, I began watching "The Last Man On Earth" out of the general curiousity of it being a seeming one man show.    I expected it to last for one season only, maybe ten episodes tops, and then at the end the main character, Phil Miller, would go into his kiddie pool of alcohol, put his head under and not  come back up.   Fade to black.   Series over.   But there'd be a lot of funny bits in between the beginning and then, and it'd be the story of a man left alone to go mad.

But as anyone who watched past the first few episodes would know that simply wasn't the case.   And for a little while there, yes, I too was angry.   I was downright offended.   How could this show call itself "The Last Man On Earth" when it's seemingly ushering in new cast members with every episode?    And as much as I could look past the title in that regard, I began to question simply whether or not the show was funny-- if it had any real merit in my watching it.    If you're going to complain about the title, you might as well disect the title of every show you've ever watched.   Do you watch "Bob's Burgers" and complain when they leave the restaurant of the same name?  Do you not watch "Bob's Burgers" because you're a vegetarian?   These are the important questions here.

What "The Last Man On Earth" did more than anything else though was it made me think about how dependent as a society we are on other people.   Ignoring the idea of cell phones and the internet, let's just take something as simple as gasoline.   Do you know how to refine oil so as to make it into the gasoline you put into your car?   What do you think are the odds of someone being one of the last survivors knowing that?   So really, once all the gas is gone, it's gone.   And that will be said for a lot of similar situations that you take for granted every day.   From film and television to music, because even if you can get the electricity working so as to watch movies there won't be any new ones made.  If one of you happens to have musical talent you can play your songs in front of a crowd of, what, four others?   It just makes you think about a lot of things that exist now and how drastically different it would be in the scenario of this show.

The entire premise of this show leaves me wondering what I would do if I was Phil Miller and if everyone watching this just has that same idea floating through their head then maybe- just maybe- this series can help us all to be a little bit more appreciative of the life we currently have.    Not to mention that in the beginning when Phil Miller does find Carol, who he believes to be the last female alive, and they talk about repopulating it becomes a Lot problem.   If you read The Bible, it begins with Adam and Eve who then have babies but how do they get so many people?  If you think about Phil and Carol repopulating the Earth then eventually for them to have maybe a hundred people even, the gene pool is going to be so far diluted by that point they might as well just not even bother trying.
Ultimately, though "The Last Man On Earth" does have its funny moments, I don't think of this as being a comedy so much as suspenseful, post-apocalyptic (so sci-fi in some sense) and then there is the romance.   Phil and Carol sort of start things off together and believe they were brought together at first because of necessity but then as it turned out they really did like and need each other, so I do really enjoy how they ended up together in the last episode as well.   That, for me, just makes this a love story and I can go for a love story like this just as easily as anyone.    Sure, there are still some funny parts and this isn't the least funny show Fox has ever produced (Sorry, "Mulaney") but I'm still on the fence about Season Two.

On one hand, had I not read about there being a Season Two I might not have finished the last five or six episodes I had to watch of Season One.   Then I would have missed how this Phil/Carol story played out and that would have been a shame.   At the same time, it leaves me more hopeful than anything that Season Two will just be great.   I'm kind of on the fence right now in the sense that if this show was canceled and not coming back I wouldn't feel any differently than I do now, but at the same time, yes, I will watch the Season Two episodes because in some way I do have the curiousity where I want to know what's going to happen next.   It's not really a guilty pleasure just some strange new type of feeling I'm not used to having about a television show but I like it.

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