I've been on a pretty pressing deadline for a project the past couple months, so I have to be incredibly selective with how I'm spending free-time (and also the reason that posts here on SPT have been sparse as of late). But high on my list of acceptable break-time spending since it was announced, was the Phil Miller/Chris Lord produced and Will Forte created Last Man on Earth which debuted last week on Fox.
The second episode of the season aired last night and I can safely say that it's not just my favorite comedy show in a long time, but one of my favorite shows in a long while. It's one of those shows where you're better off not knowing anything about it going in. It's completely unpredictable and far from formulaic. In fact, I'm torn in writing this plea to people to watch the show because I don't want to give away too many of the best gags and surprises that have been the highlight of the first few episodes.
What I will say is this: while so many episodic shows either rely on tried and true formulas, are procedurals, or complex tapestries that weave a greater mythology, Last Man on Earth is something completely different. We don't know what happened to everyone on Earth (other than a virus decimated the entire population), and it really doesn't matter. There isn't an overarching mystery that requires explanation or exploration. All you need to know is that if you were the last person on the planet, as Will Forte is, you would probably react in a similar manner. The world is your oyster, so to speak and without social anxieties (or appropriate social behavior) getting in your way, how would you spend the rest of your days? There's a particular moment in the second episode that really tickled me. As Forte's character awakens from a nightmare, he goes to the window and sees the desolate population-free landscape outside and relieved with what he sees says, "Everyone's still dead... oh, thank god." That moment seems to encapsulate the entire spirit of the show.
Much in the way that a video game like Portal or Portal 2 entertains you for its sharp sense of humor and unpredictability, Last Man on Earth has quickly become appointment television for me, and is one of those rare shows that I can't bring myself to delete off my DVR knowing that I'll want to revisit it again and again. Quite honestly, I have no idea what direction the series is headed toward, and it's amazing.