I have a new piece up at PopMatters: “Pro-Apocalyptic, or, Why We’re Bored With the Post-Apocalyptic.” It’s about FOX’s Last Man on Earth and our cultural obsession with the end. Here’s an excerpt:
The second season of FOX’s post-apocalyptic comedy, Last Man on Earth, is now underway, and though its 27 September premiere was met with mixed reviews, its three million-plus US viewers suggest that pop culture’s adulation of the post-apocalyptic is alive and well—even if those stark landscapes are dead and dry. As a genre, the post-apocalyptic was originally the stuff of cynical dime-store sci-fi, and later, Cold War nuclear anxieties, but the modern popularity of the post-apocalypse in publishing, movies, and TV—and that the post-apocalyptic also now serves as a comedic backdrop for profitable products like Last Man on Earth—primarily belies an over familiarity with the genre. But more importantly, the continued appeal of the post-apocalyptic reflects our culture’s exhaustion with the genre’s historically prophetic (and moralistic) warnings about exploitation, materialism, and consumerism.