It’s the end of the road for The Last Man on Earth. TV Line reports that FOX has decided to cancel Will Forte’s delightfully silly comedy after four seasons, with co-star January Jones also announcing the news on her Instagram. The series launched in 2015 as the brainchild of Forte, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller serving as executive producers and directing the pilot—which in and of itself was wholly unique. The show took place in the aftermath of some deadly sickness that wiped out most of the world’s population, and revolved around an underachieving buffoon (Forte) who slowly met more and more survivors.
The pilot still stands today as one of the most exciting TV episodes in years, as Forte was the only human being onscreen for most of the episode. It was clear the powers that be were afraid folks would quickly tune out, so more cast members were added episode by episode, with Forte and Co. keeping the ensemble of Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Mary Steenburgen, and Cleopatra Coleman mostly under wraps so it was a surprise to most viewers. And while these new additions were swell, I still would’ve liked to have seen at least half that first season following Forte’s character as he goes it alone.
The show always bushed the boundaries of silliness, but Season 1 got a bit too dark and Forte brought in frequent collaborator John Solomon to take over showrunner duties starting in Season 2, at which point Last Man evolved into more of a traditional sitcom. The commitment to twists and cliffhangers and the excellent chemistry of the cast kept the show interesting, but plot-wise it was a bit more hit or miss as the story progressed. It felt, at times, like the show wasn’t taking full advantage of this unique premise and was telling stories you could see on any other sitcom, but I do appreciate the commitment to character and drama that was maintained throughout its run.
I stuck with the series all the way through, and I don’t regret one bit of it. Season 4 ended on a pretty huge cliffhanger as the cast found themselves surrounded by a horde of survivors, and Forte said he intended to wrap things up with a definitive ending should the show continue through Season 5. It’s unfortunate we’ll never get to see that ending, but hopefully Forte will share what he had planned at some point.
On the bright side, with more time on his hands perhaps Forte can finally get MacGruber 2 going?
For a complete list of TV cancellations and renewals, check out our TV Lifeline.