A solid, standalone opening to Netflix’s new family series proves to be slick and action-packed.
This recap of The Last Kids on Earth Book 1, Episode 1, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free review of the first season by clicking these words.
The job of an animated series aimed pretty squarely at kids is to grab its audience immediately, and Netflix’s new six-part series adapted from the same-named books by Max Brallier does just that. A feature-length, essentially standalone opener, The Last Kids on Earth episode 1 establishes the show’s essential concepts with good humour, a frantic pace and virtually non-stop action.
At the center of the carnage is Jack (Nick Wolfhard), a 13-year-old video game and candy enthusiast surviving a monster apocalypse from a decked-out treehouse. The Last Kids on Earth Episode 1 temporarily winds back the clock to introduce some of the other kids, before rejoining the ruined present in time for a number of slickly-animated set-pieces and a final showdown with a hulking behemoth who pursues the heroes for most of the episode.
Some money has clearly been thrown at this thing. There are voice roles for zombie-killing legend Bruce Campbell, Keith David, Rosario Dawson, and Mark Hamill. The books are ripe for an adaptation, and offer plenty of material for subsequent episodes — and one assumes subsequent seasons, divided pretty unsubtly into the books that are being mined for concepts. It’s a lively and good-natured show that Netflix clearly assumes will find an eager audience; I hope it does because if The Last Kids on Earth Episode 1 is anything to go by, this will suit its target demographic down to the ground.
It might also suit the parents who find themselves watching alongside them. Much of the show plays with video game and other pop-culture references, many of which probably outdate the nippers. In fact, the entire thing is reminiscent of video game structure, even taking clear inspiration from meta-rewards like Xbox Achievements and Playstation Trophies; Jack’s fervent pursuit of personal feats leads to some funny, self-aware interactions. There’s a lot here for everyone to enjoy,