[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
While a dystopian drama might seem a little on the nose right now, FX on Hulu is going there Monday with the premiere of of the first three episodes of Y: The Last Man. Adapted by Eliza Clark from Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s 2002-2008 DC Comics series of the same name, the drama follows the onset and aftermath of a global extinction level event that simultaneous kills every male of every species. While the knee-jerk reaction to that in the current cultural climate might be to respond with, “And?,” the blowback is actually cataclysmic.
Taking a page from Designated Survivor, the weapon/plague kills the Republican POTUS and the line of succession all the way down to Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer Brown (Diane Lane, in her first series regular role), who’s suddenly thrust into a position of power over a nation of women reeling from both the communal trauma and grief and, in some cases, the very personal grief of losing their entire families.
Jennifer is among them–losing her estranged husband and, presumably, her 27-year-old son, Yorick (Ben Schnetzer), while her EMT daughter, Hero (Olivia Thirlby), is missing. The FLOTUS, Marla (Paris Jefferson), manages her grief by falling into a bottle and haunting the hallways while First Daughter, Kimberly Campbell Cunningham (Amber Tamblyn), goes staunchly in the other direction.
An advisor to her father in the before times, Kimberly is an ultra-conservative author, advocate, and influencer with a stake in the ground as a mother raising three sons in the #MeToo era. In a moment, she loses everything that defines her, but driven for some sense of purpose, she still tries to keep a toe in the decision making of the remaining government. She’s also compartmentalizing her own loss in tiny behaviors that are glimpsed in passing.
What the title hat tips, and Jennifer soon learns, is that while the event did take out every cis gender male, it spared one, or, actually, two. Both Yorick and his male Capuchin monkey, Ambersand survived. Hero survived, too, and she has her own reasons to stay away, navigating grief compounded by a moment she can’t undo that tragically becomes moot.
Another main character in the action with her own POV is Agent 355 (Ashley Romans), who we meet as Sarah when she arrives to go undercover as a Secret Service agent just as the event happens. Our initial intro reveals that she’s all business for her agency. When she’s suddenly reassigned to serve POTUS on that fateful day, she could just as easily bail out and start over, especially when she learns she’s the only survivor of her super secret, Bourne Identity-esque agency, but instead she chooses to stay.
We also meet Nora (Marin Ireland), the press secretary for a no-longer-Republican White House, who’s stuck with her daughter outside the perimeter of the Pentagon that’s become both the seat of the new government and a town within a town full of surviving family members and government workers. Locked out of that inner circle and faced with dwindling resources, they struggle to survive.
It’s a compelling, harsh watch, and interesting to see the myriad ways that women respond to an extraordinary reset. Some thrive, some fail, some find new strengths, and some discover the lines of the old world that they wouldn’t cross before are now easily blurred. For my fellow Canadaphiles, the series filmed in Toronto, so look for CdnTV HITG folks like Paul Gross and Jess Salgueiro to pop up.
The series doesn’t just demonstrate the power of women onscreen; it also backs it up up offscreen. Every episode this season will be directed by women, and the production has women in the roles of director of photography, production designer, costume designer, casting director, editors, stunt coordinator, and more.
Photos and video courtesy of FX.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…