The was a massacre last Friday—at Fox… Farts.
Blood ran through the halls of Fox TV as a quartet of shows got the ax, ending their futures abruptly. While The Exorcist and Lucifer have fallen victim to the “Friday Fox Massacre”, it’s the slaughter of The Last Man on Earth that proves it was a true horror purge. Let me explain:
I tipped my hat years ago to The Last Man on Earth’s brilliant deception. What deception, did you ask? Well, weaseling into the coveted Sunday Night comedy line-up despite the fact that the show isn’t remotely funny, that’s what. No, I don’t mean it’s a bad show or that it fails to deliver laughs. I am saying that The Last Man on Earth is, and always has been, as genuinely horrific as The Exorcist on Fox or The Walking Dead on AMC.
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All you have to do is put the show on mute to immediately see that there’s something wrong here. Again, I’m not suggesting dismissing any aspect of the show; I’m saying that when you take out the goofy, melodramatic scoring, everything starts to reflect the stark realities illustrated—including the endless antics of Phil “Tandy” Miller (played by showrunner Will Forte), which quickly flip from upbeat to bleak.
But the fact that The Last Man on Earth qualifies as horror isn’t the point of this examination; you either believe it or you don’t. This is a postulation on why a show that charted well for 4 seasons and ended on a cliffhanger (a clear indication they expected a renewal) ended abruptly, at this point in time: May, 2018.
When The Last Man on Earth debut in 2015, we were cruising along in the relative tranquility of the Obama Administration, a time when concepts like the complete collapse of the most powerful nation on earth seemed the stuff on fantasy. The show quickly became a reflection of our national uneasiness, mirroring a pervasive fear for the future (no matter what side of the political divide you fall on). Suddenly, the fantasy world presented in The Last Man on Earth seemed a lot less “fantasy” and a lot more foreboding.
After getting our laugh on with Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (the last being the final victim of “The Friday Fox Massacre”, by the way) staying put for a show about the collapse of America, populated by characters suffering a range of apocalypse-induced psychosis, became a hard sell, no matter how clever the content. Even the best jokes fall flat in a world that was bleak to begin with but has become both dark and prophetic.
Suddenly, there’s nothing funny about scavenging, abandoning children, committing random acts of murder, dodging space debris, rouge cannibals, and impending nuclear meltdowns caused by crumbling infrastructures. But then again, there never was.
When The Simpsons hits too close to home, it’s still a cartoon; something we can easily detach ourselves from. With The Last Man on Earth, the TV becomes a potentially devastating window into an increasingly plausible scenario.
What do you think about The Last Man on Earth? Did you enjoy the show and what do you think about its cancellation? Sound off in the Comments section!
Official Synopsis: In 2022, a cataclysm strikes Earth, seemingly wiping out the population save for former family man and bank employee Phil Miller. Sad and very lonely, Phil travels the United States, Canada, and Mexico in his RV searching for other survivors. Striving to hold onto hope that there is at least one other living person, he tries to make the best of circumstances until his path finally crosses with that hoped-for other survivor — and all becomes more comforting that the person happens to be a woman. As more survivors turn up, complications arise and Phil finds it difficult to co-exist with others again.
Also, with apocalyptic horror looking less fantastic and more like reality, do you think more horror content will get the boot on other networks? Let’s discuss in the Comments section!