What would the world look like without men? What would happen if half the world’s population dropped dead, and left the other half to pick up the pieces? What would happen if every single human being with a Y chromosome inexplicably died, except for one? This is what FX on Hulu’s new series, “Y: The Last Man” sought to answer.
Based on the 2000s comic book series of the same name by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra, “Y: The Last Man,” is a dystopian drama set in the aftermath of a global androcide, where every male member of every Earthly species dies instantaneously from a mysterious plague. 95% of the world’s pilots, 92% of the world’s Fortune 500 CEOs and 85% of the world’s government officials are gone in an instant, and those left behind must piece together the fragments of human civilization.
The series follows Yorick (Ben Schnetzer) and his capuchin monkey, Ampersand, the seemingly only two cisgender males to survive the unsolved extinction of the Y chromosome. Yorick is the definition of mediocrity: A late-20-something-year-old trying to make a living as an amateur magician while his wealthy parents pay for his apartment and his sister spots him the cash to buy grilled cheese sandwiches. Of all the men to possibly survive, what makes him the one exception?
While the comic book’s plotline sticks to Yorick’s side of the story, “Y: The Last Man,” with a female-dominated creative team, changes the narrative and follows the storylines of several women and trans men trying to make sense out of the catastrophe they have been placed in. Senator Jennifer Brown (Diane Lane) finds herself as President of the United States when her predecessor and the entire line of succession is decimated by the mysterious plague. Agent 335 (Ashley Romans) is at her side as one of the few special agents still living. All while grieving their lost husbands, sons, brothers and friends, the fragmented U.S. government attempts to salvage society to ensure their survival.
The problems of the post-apocalyptic society are in many ways a critique of the current patriarchal society. While Vice President Kamala Harris ensures that the U.S. government would not have to venture too far down the line of succession for a new leader, entire nations would be left without a single government official. Just a few weeks after the disaster, cities across the world went dark and hungry since the nuclear powerplants and shipping industries have so few female workers. Military, police, fire and EMT services are so severely limited that riots, looting and disease threaten society’s survival.
The series also seeks to dismantle the idea that a world of women would be full of “sugar, spice and everything nice,” as the women left on planet Earth have the same differing opinions and anger as any man would. While the U.S. government exists only in fragments, the liberal politics of President Brown are resisted by the deceased Republican president’s widow (Paris Jefferson) and fiercely conservative daughter Kimberly (Amber Tamblyn), who remind viewers of a session with Meghan McCain on “The View.”
Overall, the first four episodes of the series are incredibly intriguing, as most shows in this genre are, forcing viewers to ponder life if this were to actually happen. The plotline of Yorick and his monkey, while central to the story, seems a little unnecessary. While I know every series needs to have a general plot arc to follow, it could have been very interesting to just focus on a world of women and what that looks like. How will they begin to rebuild? Sperm banks are being secured, but how will humanity survive without reproduction? And could somebody just tell us how this massacre of men came to be?
The pure sake of having some of these questions answered is enough for me to keep watching. If dystopian fantasies are not your thing, this is definitely a skip. I will admit, the scene of the mysterious plague is certainly difficult to stomach, and just plain heart-wrenching when helpless mothers hold onto their lifeless baby boys for the last time. That being said, the captivating storyline, social commentary and admirable performances make this a worthwhile series for anybody looking for a new binge.
“Y: The Last Man” is now streaming on FX on Hulu.