In "Y: The Last Man," women finally get their chance to run the world. It's far from paradise.
The series, which debuts Monday on Hulu, is set in a post-apocalyptic world where every mammal with a Y chromosome drops dead. The two exceptions: a well-mannered pet monkey and his cisgender owner, Yorick Brown, who just happens to be the new president's son. His attempt to escape capture is at the heart of the 10-part series. So is anarchy.
Cults develop almost immediately. Rebels loot households. Military units quash personal rights. President Jennifer Brown (Diane Lane) squares off with a Cabinet member who could have very well led the attacks on the Capitol.
But it turns out that killing off the male species isn't the solution to our problems.
"I don't think anybody could have imagined some of what we have learned, even in this last year or so, about how hard it is to hold it together in a crisis," executive producer Nina Jacobson said in a recent virtual news conference. "We would like to think of ourselves as people who come together in a crisis, but we have not proven ourselves to be those people. And I think that the show does reflect a lot of the 2020 moment in a way that none of us could have anticipated."
The story line was the brainchild of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, who used it from 2002 to 2008 for a comic book series. In this version, head writer Eliza Clark incorporated the idea that having a Y chromosome does not define one's gender. That means some of the main characters are trans men.
"I think I was more focused on what a person would do in this kind of situation, aside from gender," said trans actor Elliot Fletcher, who plays one of the survivors. "I think one of the hilarious things about this show is, post the Event, Yorick can walk around without a mask on because he's assumed to be trans, rather than, pre the Event, people are assumed to be cisgender. And so, I just think it sort of flips the traditional idea of gender completely on its head."
As much as "Y" has to say about sexual orientation, it's primarily an action-adventure series. However, none of the scenes will make your stomach churn.
"We've tried specially to make cool action sequences," Clark said. "But it was my intention to not make the intimacy or action gratuitous or violent."
The drama is more character-driven, especially when it takes us inside the White House. One of Brown's fiercest foes is Kimberly (Amber Tamblyn), the conservative daughter of the former president.
"When I was thinking about the character, I remember a moment when Ivanka Trump was standing with all the heads of states and presidents from around the world," said Tamblyn. "She was sort of trying to get her opinion out from the center of it and it was a painful thing to see from the outside. There's a little bit of that in Kimberly. There's this quest for power, which she's never had because it's always been adjacent to the power that the men around her have had.
"I have to say, I've never done anything like this in my entire 20-year career," added Tamblyn, best known for "Joan of Arcadia." "It was some of the most provocative, exciting work that I have ever had the pleasure of doing. I cannot wait to see where this character goes."
After watching the first gripping episode, you might feel the same way.
Neal Justin • 612-673-7431 •
Njustin@startribune.com Twitter: @nealjustin