Y: The Last Man had potential, but that might not be enough to get it renewed.
Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man remains one of the best and most original comic book series of all time. It was a no-brainer that this would be made into a TV series or a movie.
Putting it on Hulu on FX seemed like the right choice to make. A lot of the content on that platform is dark and Y: The Last Man is among the darkest comics you’ll ever read.
Everything seemed to be in place for the show to take off. Unfortunately, the show may not last more than one season.
Not following the material
There was one thing that this writer had hope for with Y: The Last Man. There was plenty of great source material there to pull from. Some things needed to be updated, but, for the most part, everything was on paper and ready to be used. In this case, though, too much was switched and we’re only a few episodes in.
Y: The Last Man tried to do too much in a short amount of time. Because of that, things became jumbled. Too many stories at once made things confusing. For example, the story of Agent 355 eventually becoming Yorick’s bodyguard. In the comics, it was done much smoother and surprisingly quicker. Here, it took too long for them to begin their journey together. The extended time getting their mission and introducing Allison Mann later on than they should hurts the watching experience for fans of the comics.
The audience’s short attention span
There have been a lot of unnecessary moments throughout the show’s run thus far and that slowed things down. A well paced build-up isn’t a bad thing. The problem here is that most people have a short attention span. The first episode had perfect pacing. In it, you learned about the main characters and slowly got into the incident that caused chaos around the world. Then there was the second episode. This writer doesn’t mind slow, but this was bad. So much so that it wouldn’t be shocking if people checked out after just two episodes.
Having a third episode available at the same time was smart, especially since episode 3 was good. This could have saved them in that it’s the last thing viewers remembered before the fourth episode, so it’s better that its three-part premiere went out on a high. However, with so many other shows, it’s not likely that it will. People will check out and watch something else. More and more, viewers are not willing to give shows more than a couple of watches before giving up. They’re definitely not going to invest an entire season if it starts off too slow.
Too many characters at once
After watching the first few episodes, it seemed like a good time to re-read Y: The Last Man. One of the first things this writer noticed was where the focus of the story was. In the beginning, it primarily revolved around Yorick, his mother, and Agent 355. There were other characters involved and they were crucial to the comic book but each of them didn’t need a story. The show, on the other hand, focused too much on people who honestly didn’t matter.
Throughout the comic book series, we saw how each woman dealt with the death of their loved ones and how they learned new skills. It was smoothly done as things progressed. On the show, characters were highlighted that didn’t need to be. Taking that away could have furthered the show along and allowed it to spend more time on the more important stories.
No reason to care about Yorick
In the Y: The Last Man comic book, Yorick Brown is annoying, immature, and did some things that frustrated readers. That much is true. Despite all of that, he was an amazing character. Everything he did was all for a reason. When you find out why he’s this way, you’ll start to understand and maybe feel bad for him.
In the show, however, Yorick is terrible. There is no reason to care about him. His annoyance is supposed to help show how incredible the others are but the show made him more obnoxious than he should be. It’s going to make it difficult for viewers to get behind his evolution. And he’s the star. Who wants to watch a show with an infuriating lead? It’s one of the reasons Iron Fist failed.
No real payoff
The speed of the show, changing the source material, and the extra characters could have all been forgiven if there was a payoff. The first episodes did it well. The second episode didn’t do it well at all. The third finally got to Yorick and Agent 355 going on their way. Even then, if it wasn’t for the other helicopter exploding, would this have meant anything?
After the explosion, Ashley Romans, who portrays 355, did a fantastic job selling the moment. She kept her hardened face, but we could still see the worry. Other than that, though, the moment itself was kind of a let down. The only good thing that came out of this was knowing that at least the good parts should be coming up next.
Y: The Last Man should’ve been animated
Some comic book projects just don’t work in a live action format. It’s difficult to properly tell a story when you’re restricted by what you can do. With that in mind, it’s honestly shocking that Amazon’s The Boys is as good as it is because it is one of the rare few to defy, well, everything. Y: The Last Man isn’t a project that requires a lot of special effects so that’s not the problem here. No, what animation does is give the creators time to tell the story right.
The source material didn’t need to stray much in Amazon’s Invincible. A lot of that could be down to the fact that it’s a cartoon. Things run a bit smoother and look better in an animated format. Plus, the Y: The Last Man comic book series has 60 issues over the course of ten volumes. Telling a story that long means actors will age and we’ll see it in real time. Featuring voice actors helps the creators take time to tell the story without the worry of actors aging out of the role.
Will Y: The Last Man be renewed? Here’s hoping
This writer hopes that he’s wrong. Ashley Romans and Olivia Thirlby (Hero Brown) have been incredible thus far. Beyond their performances, the creative team has an opportunity to tell one of the best comic book stories of all time on the screen. It would be a shame for it to end before all of the shocking and breathtaking moments from the comics get the chance to happen in the series.
We’re only halfway through its run. That’s more than enough time to turn things around.
What do you think? Were the first few episodes better than this writer is giving it credit for? Let us know in the comments below.