By: Bijou Kruszka
Phil “Tandy” Miller is the last man on Earth. The year is 2020, and he has found himself alone due to a global pandemic. Yeah, you read that right. This 2015 comedy series somehow predicted COVID-19, and it’s one of the best shows to watch while quarantining.
Let’s start with the characters. Tandy, played by Will Forte, is the main character. The pilot follows him in his post-apocalyptic life. He spray-paints billboards across America, saying that he is alive in Tucson, Arizona. He talks to sports balls with faces on them, after watching Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’.
He is in peak despair when he finds Carol Pilbasian, played by Kristen Schall, the believed last woman on Earth, and my favorite character.
As the series goes on, the cast expands, all with their own interesting personalities and arcs. One of my favorite running jokes in the show is that a celebrity comedian will be introduced, only to get killed off halfway through their first line.
The show is hilarious, but also still dark. Of course, the central cast are the last people on Earth, and they have to deal with all sorts of consequences because of it. They are forced to flee from their homes because of nuclear meltdowns, there are hardly any animals left, and they have to deal with trying to repopulate the planet, and that barely scratches the surface. The series does a great job balancing the seriousness of living in a post-apocalyptic world though and the humor of being a sitcom, which many other shows struggle to do.
Later on, we meet Pamela, played by Kristen Wiig. Pamela is special because her first episode features none of the central cast, just her, in a prologue before the virus killed everyone.
In “Got Milk?”, the 10th episode, of the 3rd season, we follow life as the pandemic spreads, and the parallels to COVID-19 will make you wonder how much of the writing staff had the ability to see the future. People everywhere are seen wearing masks. Pamela goes grocery shopping in a homemade hazmat suit, and all the aisles have been heavily picked over. She keeps saying over time that the vaccines are going to come any day now. This episode is almost unsettling to watch, considering it aired in 2017.
Of course, no show is without its flaws. The first season is incredibly rough, as they are trying to introduce all the characters, but over a span of an entire season. Plus, Tandy is completely unlikeable until the second season. He’s a self-centered, rude person who can’t stop lying, which is one of my least favorite tropes. But as the seasons go on, he becomes funny, he cares for people, and sure, he still lies for plot reasons from time to time, but it’s more justified.
In 2018, the season 4 finale aired, ending with a huge cliffhanger that I won’t spoil here. Unfortunately, after that, NBC cancelled the show, letting fans suffer on the unresolved plotline forever. I do hope that the show gets picked up again, and that it will get a good ending.
My final rating for ‘The Last Man On Earth’ is an 8/10.