‘Y: The Last Man’ Finally Moves Toward Production

Do good things really come to those who wait?  If so, fans of the Vertigo comic book series, Y: The Last Man will be thrilled to know that FX has finally ordered a television pilot based on it.  I say, “finally,” because Y: The Last Man has a long movie and television development history.  New Line Pictures first acquired the rights for a potential feature film more than 10 years ago.  In 2013, they accounced that Dan Trachtenberg  (10 Cloverfield Lane) would direct one.  When the rights lapsed, FX began working on a series… and has been working on it for more than two years.

Even though I’m eager to see it, I’m glad FX has been using the time to presumably do it right. Variety describes it as:  “Exploring gender, race, class and survival, Y: The Last Man is a post-apocalyptic science fiction story that takes place in a world in which all men – except for one – are dead.”  The comic could make an incredible show.  Over the course of its 60 issues, during its various story arcs, Yorick Brown and his monkey, Ampersand, go on an epic, global quest to learn why he survived and to find a way to save humankind.

With the overall mythology, the TV series could also be episodic, depicting Yorick’s travels and the women, and tribes of women, he encounters. I could envision five seasons of 12 episodes that mirror the comic.  However, the material is ripe for expansion… the post-apocalyptic wasteland being its only limit.  It can’t be an adventure-of-the-week, though.  This needs to be a prestige series so that it takes full advantage of “exploring gender, race, class and survival” issues.  I always considered Y: The Last Man to be a thinking man’s comic.

There’s no word on casting, but the showrunners have been announced: Michael Green (American Gods) and Aida Mashaka Croal (Luke Cage, Turn).  They will serve as executive producers, along with Nina Jacobsen and Brad Simpson (American Crime Story) and Brian K. Vaughan, creator of the comic.  The credentials sound good to me so far, but I’m a little less certain of executive producer and pilot director, Melina Matsoukas (Insecure, Master of None).  I guess she’ll bring the female perspective, but I don’t know what kind of humor she may inject.

This is a project I definitely want to see come to fruition and then to succeed, but it could be an uphill battle. The pilot has to be promising enough for a full season (or more) order, but then the quality also has to be sustained for it to continue.  I’d like to think audiences are more savvy these days, but there was a time when simply having a show called The Last Man on Earth on another network would deter production on a show that sounds so similar.  And the worst thing for Y: The Last Man would be to ask the same question that I ask about The Last Man on Earth:  is that show even still on?

(c) Vertigo, Brian K. Vaughan