It’s a question that we’ve all (regardless of our gender) contemplated before – what would the world look like without men? Brand new Disney+ drama Y: The Last Man imagines this world, and whilst there wasn’t a loo-seat-left-up anywhere, it’s clear that the consequences of the lost chromosome are more serious than imagined. This is a man’s world… until it isn’t anymore.
As an audience, we love a good apocalypse. Our eyes feast on eerily empty supermarket aisles, mass power shutdowns and the morbidly fascinating shot of a plane crashed into a motorway. Maybe it’s a pandemic thing, but we enjoy watching the world grinding to a halt. This is why we know Y: The Last Man is going to be a hit with, admittedly, a couple of misses thrown in.
In The Telegraph, Benji Wilson describes it as “a new giga-busting drama”, giga-busting in its ambitious concept, deliciously meaty production value and big screen feeling. It is of course a female-led cast, the men are dead after all – that’s kind of the show’s USP. There is, however, one sole survivor; a waste of space twenty something called Yorick – oh, and he has a pet monkey. I know. “You need to not so much suspend your disbelief”, Wilson says, “as lock it away in a safety deposit box and come back in a year’s time”. Revel in its implausibility and you will have hours of high production fun.
However, fellow writer for The Guardian, Lucy Mangan, is less impressed calling it “a stale, male manbaby mess”, otherwise known as “a complete waste of time”. She admits that “it is, simply as an apocalypse drama, good enough”, but its masculine focus and feel, despite being about the eradication of all men (but one), detracts from its huge potential. Wilson disagrees, pointing to the show’s echoes “of global government’s response to the Covid pandemic, with the inference being that it would have been better if women were running the show”. Moreover, where the show’s message misses the mark in many ways, as Ella Kemp says in NME, the writers “do compelling work to differentiate gender and DNA, giving great care to transgender characters.”
It’s as much of a guilty pleasure as a Friday night takeaway –binge, and then pretend it never happened. Sometimes that’s all we want from a boxset – men or no men.
First shown September 2021.