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FX on Hulu cancels one of its biggest new shows — will it be saved?

Ben Schnetzer as Yorick carries a pet carrier on Y The Last Man
(Image credit: FX on Hulu)

Alas, poor Yorick — Hulu has canceled Y: The Last Man just weeks before its first season concludes. The post-apocalyptic adaptation of the Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra comic books had a long, winding road to the screen. Now, its actual time on screen will be very short, unless the series can find a new home elsewhere.

When Y: The Last Man showrunner Eliza Clark shared the cancellation news on Twitter, she expressed hope that the show will go on. "I have never in my life been more committed to a story, and there is so much more left to tell," Clark said. 

She added, "It is the most collaborative, creatively fulfilling, and beautiful thing I have ever been a part of. We don't want it to end ... We are committed to finding Y its next home."

Y: The Last Man takes place after a mysterious cataclysmic event simultaneously killed every mammal with a Y chromosome except for one cisgender man, Yorick Brown (Ben Schnetzer), and his pet monkey Ampersand. Yorick travels across the new world, while survivors struggle with their losses and attempt to restore society. The cast includes Diane Lane, Amber Tamblyn, Ashley Romans, Olivia Thirlby and Marin Ireland.

An adapation of Y: The Last Man was in development hell for over a decade, as the project took on various different forms (a movie with Shia LeBeouf was once a possibility). In 2015, FX began working on series, with Michael Green attached to write and serve as showrunner. After a pilot was ordered, Aida Mashaka Croal came on board as co-showrunner. In April 2019, Green and Croal left the project over creative differences and Clark took over.

In June 2020, Y: The Last Man moved from FX to be an FX on Hulu exclusive. Finally, show debuted on September 13 with the first three episodes. Now, two episodes remain until the season (series?) finale on November 1.

Will Y: The Last Man season 2 find a new home?

Clark and cast member Tamblyn both tweeted their hope that Y: The Last Man season 2 will happen. Original comics creator Vaughn also added his voice to the #YLivesOn campaign:

Clark has previously said she envisions Y: The Last Man as a five-season, 50-episode series. To make that happen, some other outlet will have to save the show. 

Shows have been saved before, of course. One recent, high-profile instance is Netflix saving Manifest after it was canceled by NBC. However, most examples are canceled network or cable shows that are picked up by a streaming service. It might be incorrect to say "most" — it may very well be "all." We can't think of one streaming original that moved to a different streaming service. 

It seems very unlikely that Y: The Last Man could be saved by Netflix, at least. Yes, the streamer recently saved Manifest, but executives have explained that it wasn't because of the fan campaign. Instead, they looked at the viewing data from Manifest's previous seasons on Netflix. Would Hulu really share those kinds of numbers with a rival? And if the viewership was high, then why did Hulu cancel the series?

Y: The Last Man's road to the screen was arduous. Its road to find a new home might be even tougher.

Kelly Woo

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.