Based on the series of books with the same name, The Last Kids On Earth is a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride that kids and families are sure to love. For screener purposes we were granted access to episode 1 of this series but the 66 minute run time gives a feel of a short feature film that should be enough to gauge whether this is a show for you. I watched this with my 8 year old and he and I both thoroughly enjoyed this, especially given the show manages to keep the core concepts of the book in-check, whilst delivering a good dose of silly humour and non-stop action along the way.
At the heart of this series is Jack, a monster-hunting, zombie-slaying 13 year old just trying to enjoy the end of the world. After a brief introduction to his newfound mundaity, we cut back 42 days to see the beginning of the end. Zombies and monsters suddenly appear and terrorize the world, prompting Jack to find refuge in his treehouse before we jump through the days and see how he survived. From here, the apocalypse really kicks into gear as Jack tracks down and teams up with his misfit classmates to tackle the fiends, and save his one true love June Del Toro.
While the first episode does well to introduce the world and the monsters, the main conflict here comes from the big, bad villain of the piece, a behemoth called Blarg. Without giving too much away, the first episode acts as a stand-alone piece, resolving the conflict while leaving things open for the inevitable follow-up books to be adapted in the coming episodes.
I’m a firm believer that for kid-orientated content the first 15 minutes are absolutely crucial. If you haven’t engaged kids during this timeframe you’re unlikely to keep them hooked for a solid hour and The Last Kids On Earth is a show that’s self-aware of this throughout its run-time. Scenes are quick-paced, full of genuinely funny jokes or adrenaline-soaked action to keep things engaging. The hour absolutely flew by too and given most of this episode is used to introduce the characters and the conflict at hand, The Last Kids On Earth does a really good job here.
Given the distinct video-game slant and silly humour on offer, the series feels predominantly geared toward kids between the ages of 7 and 12. My 5 year old daughter dipped in and out of this but largely stuck to her episodes of Teen Titans during the hour which only further solidifed this feeling for me. Having said that, there’s some nice movie references that parents will pick up here too, including nods to The Terminator and Jurassic Park. There’s also a nice inside joke toward the Fallout series too, as Jack discusses Atomic Cola Caps which feels like a reference to Nuka Cola.
Visually, the series is vibrant and the scenes pop with a great use of colour. There’s some nice lighting effects too and the subtle use of CGI blended with the predominant use of hand-drawn animation is seamless and rarely feels jarring or out of place. The thin lines around characters, coupled with the accentuated facial expressions gives each character a distinct personality and look that does the book series justice. It’s worth mentioning the editing here, as scenes organically merge together and others use creative split screens and cameras to deliver exposition in a clever and fun way.
Given how well The Last Kids On Earth does here with its opening episode, this is going to be a series I’ll inevitably continue to watch with my son. It’s quick-paced, smartly written and peppered with some enjoyable action segments. It’s a simple premise but one that’s executed effectively to do the book series justice and keep the same tonal consistency throughout.
Nailing its opening 15 minutes and delivering a visually impressive, well written slice of action, The Last Kids On Earth is a solid choice for families and well worth a watch.