The Last Man on Earth, Dave - TV review: An unusually high-concept half-hour

One of the more original new shows on television

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The Independent Culture

Dave’s new US import sitcom, The Last Man on Earth, took a nuts and bolts approach to its subject matter. The year was 2020 and, in the wake of an apocalyptic epidemic, heavily bearded everyman Phil Miller (former Saturday Night Live cast member Will Forte), had spent the last  year crossing the continent in a looted camper van, in search of fellow survivors. Having ticked every state off his map, Phil returned to his hometown of Tuscon, Arizona, resigned to spending eternity alone – save for a collection of Castaway-referencing volleyballs and a flirtatious  shop window mannequin.

This is unusually high-concept for a half-hour TV comedy (indeed the original treatment, by The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, was a feature film). Novelty value alone would be reason to give it a look, but The Last Man on Earth also takes its premise on an intriguingly pessimistic detour.

When Phil’s nightly prayers for a female companion are finally answered by Carol (Kristen Schaal from Flight of the Conchords), the two develop an immediate mutual antipathy. Moreover, he isn’t the resourceful hero humanity would hope for as a last remaining representative. Instead of, say, organising a sustainable food source, or even just a flushing toilet, Phil spends his hours like a home-alone teen, watching porn or passed out drunk in his most ingenious invention – “I swim in it, I drink out of it… there’s really no wrong way to use a margarita pool, know what I mean?”

If this sitcom is to keep momentum beyond the first few episodes, it will need to come up with some more ideas even stronger than a booze-filled paddling pool. Until then, it can at least claim to be one of the more original new shows on television.

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