In the US: Sundays, 9.30c/8.30c, Fox
Literature - and in particular science fiction - has a long tradition of imagining what life would be like if everyone in the world was dead except for one person. Indeed, the very first English-language novel, Robinson Crusoe, is largely about one man’s exploits alone on a desert island. And since then, there’s been the likes of Castaway, Life After People, 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, The Omega Man, Silent Running and even Red Dwarf.
A common theme ever since Crusoe has been that finally having no distractions and the chance to do whatever one wants by oneself is unbearable. And almost always the author gives in and provides the hero someone else with whom he can interact - because the story’s also pretty dull otherwise. Crusoe had his Man Friday, Silent Running had its little robots, Red Dwarf had its Rimmer and so on.
So in a sense, the similarly themed The Last Man on Earth is nothing new, despite being both a sitcom and having the unlikely home of Fox. The show sees Saturday Night Live’s Will Forte seemingly the only man alive in the whole of North America, if not the world, following the outbreak of a terrible virus (that apparently destroys human bodies right down to the skeletons, leaving no ugly dead bodies behind anywhere…). For over a year, he’s by himself doing whatever he wants, appropriating whatever he needs from wherever he visits, but apparently happy to settle down in a McMansion in his home town of Tucson, Arizona.
Gradually, he begins to realise there’s no point to life without other people and prays to God that He send someone, anyone, to end his loneliness - preferably female, though. God fails to answer, so Forte tries to kill himself. Except at the last moment, it turns out his prayers have been answered and there is one woman alive in the world still, and she’s found Forte.
Unfortunately, she’s Kristen Schaal. And just as Burgess Meredith discovered in Time Enough At Last, you should be careful what you wish for.