In this day and age of film and TV, portrayals and adaptations of a post-apocalyptic world are hardly uncommon. Whether we're talking about The Walking Dead, Snowpiercer, or A Quiet Place, we as consumers absolutely crave this genre. Which is why, when it was revealed that the comic book series Y: The Last Man would be getting a TV series adaptation I was intrigued. Next week that very series will be premiering, landing on Disney Plus for us in the UK and Europe, via the Star section of the streamer, and ahead of that date, I've seen the first three episodes to get an idea as to what will be on offer.
If you're not familiar with what Y: The Last Man's storyline is about, it's pretty much what it says on the tin. The plot follows Yorick Brown, the only human male who survived a catastrophic global androcide (a mass extinction of all living beings with a Y chromosome). In this post-apocalyptic world, women are left to pick up the pieces of society and they're given the seemingly impossible task of preventing the extinction of humanity without any living males to do their part in the reproductive process. Or so it seems...
As I mentioned earlier, there was one male who did survive the androcide: Yorick (aka Y), and in this world Y becomes enemy number one, a man with a target on his back unlike ever before, as the surviving women believe he holds the genetic information as to what led to the catastrophe, and also why he survived. Yorick isn't completely alone in this world however, he has help from his mother senator Jennifer Brown (who is the acting president of the United States after the presidential line has been wiped out), as well as a few other people, including Agent 355, a member of the secret service assigned to protect Yorick by his mother.
While you can get the gist of what Y: The Last Man is about and the direction it will ultimately be taking, the first three episodes never quite get to that journey, they rather focus on setting up the plot and introducing the main cast of characters. This choice is one that delivers a rather turbulent pacing, where there are occasions where the story is enthralling and keeps you on the edge of your seat, and likewise other times where it's the polar opposite. You could argue that the slower paced moments provide further gravitas to the more exciting moments, but I think the show falls into a similar trap to The Walking Dead at times, feeling a little bloated, and would suit a 40-minute episode duration far better than around an hour.
Yet, the show does well to introduce the cast and give us an idea of their motivations. The androcide event doesn't occur until the end of the first episode, meaning we get to see the cast living their normal lives for a good while, before everything is thrown on its head, which in itself allows you to connect and sympathise with the characters that much more.
And as for the portrayals and performances, from what has been shown so far, Ben Schnetzer seems to fit the role of Yorick incredibly well, Diane Lane plays a powerful and commanding senator Brown, and Ashley Romans suits the mysterious role of Agent 355, and these are just the top roles. The rest of the cast, which as you would expect from the raw premise of the IP, is packed with a seemingly talented array of women that manage to convey the emotional strain and trauma that an event like this would put on a person.
But, even though there's a lot to like, I'm still hesitant. If there was one thing I learnt from trudging through six seasons of The Walking Dead before realising that I couldn't take it any longer, it's that there's a lot of overlap in post-apocalyptic worlds, overlap that means (despite the unique nature of the plot) we've seen stories similar to this, stories that start with so much potential and fizzle out down the line. I have already voiced my concerns about the pacing of Y: The Last Man, and while there's reason to be lenient about this during the initial opening episodes, I can't help but wonder if this will carry forth throughout the rest of the series.
Either way, the beginning of this tragic and grim tale shows a lot of promise, and has potential, and I am looking forward to seeing where Yorick's adventure will take us. If you're a fan of post-apocalyptic tales, you won't go wrong with what Y: The Last Man is offering in its opening three episodes, even if it is distressingly haunting at times.