With two creators who have had Hollywood going crazy over them for the past year, a talented comedic actor at its center and a fun gimmick to play off of it seemed like there was a lot going for The Last Man on Earth. The fantastic pilot episode would also make it seem like Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Will Forte had done everything right to make this show reach its potential. The pilot, of course, ended with a twist, and it was with this twist that brought upon the show’s downfall. For it was with this twist that The Last Man on Earth turned from a creative and fun show to a repetitive and trying experience.
The first season of The Last Man on Earth follows Phil Miller (whose name is pulled from the names of the creators of the show) as he tries to survive in Tucson after a virus kills off the rest of humanity. By the end of the pilot episode, though, Phil learns he is actually not the last human being on earth when Carol (Kristen Schaal) notices a sign that Phil left behind. Now this works as an interesting twist because it allows for creative room for both the writers and the actors to work with. The problem is that this twist is repeated again and again and again throughout the first season. By episode two another character shows up, in episode five another, in episode nine two more and in episode eleven another. Obviously, the show does not live up to its title, which the creators have brought up as not being a good reason to criticize this show. Unfortunately, for them they are missing the forest for the trees. The problem is not that these twists are misleading fans it’s that they are just too repetitive. It’s the same exact twist over and over again, and the fallout of the twist is just Phil embarrassingly trying to adjust to the emergence of a new person in the same exact fashion.
Will Forte is clearly trying his hardest, but he and the showrunners unfortunately cast actors (Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Boris Kodjoe) that have their worst aspects brought out when they are playing one-note characters, which they are on this show.
The Last Man on Earth ends up being a disastrous case of how badly a show can go when it just uses a gimmick. What starts as a great pilot episode ends as one of the most frustrating shows currently on television.