In the adapted comic book Y: The Last Man, presenter Elisa Clark — known for the American television remake of the Australian crime series Animal Kingdom — imagines what a world without men would look like. After an unexplained event, all mammals carrying the Y chromosome die. In addition to the amateur magician Yorick (Ben Schnitzer) and his monkey – he suggests he is a mutant man – the world is now exclusively inhabited by women. This turning point was so sudden that chaos erupted everywhere. In the US, it’s up to Senator Jennifer (Diane Lane playing Yorick’s mother) to restore order as she’s installed as the new president – because the president and vice president aren’t back anymore.
Y: The Last Man has an interesting hypothesis in this regard. How does a woman work without a man? Or rather: How do people without a Y chromosome do without people with a Y chromosome. Because Clark also makes a statement about gender diversity through this post-apocalyptic series. Some women with a Y chromosome, people who are mutant with a Y chromosome and nonbinary people who have a Y chromosome also die unexpectedly. Or, as Clark puts it: “Having a Y chromosome does not necessarily mean gender equality.”
In practice, the lack of people with a Y chromosome also poses problems. Now the new president doesn’t have enough secret and military agents to control things. But Lynn plays a character who changes quickly and in a pragmatic way. A character in whom the mind prevails in the struggle against a (pre-apocalyptic) scheme that continues even after the disappearance of a large part of the world’s population – even without them there is much to discuss, especially in times of unprecedented crisis. No human being is alien to us, that’s clear.
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But Y: The Last Man also relies on the somewhat predictable conventions that are deeply ingrained in post-apocalyptic drama: in the opening scene, the streets of New York are filled with corpses and the sounds of music very similar to those of John Murphy from 28 Days Later (2002), Danny Boyle Zombie Movie. But as long as the focus remains on how the survivors manage things, there is a lot to discover in the field of drama. After all, it is admittedly a lot of toxic masculinity that suddenly becomes non-existent. Will this improve life on Earth? Or will the survivors make new enemies?
Y: The Last Man S01, weekly at Disney starting September 22, 2021+
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