Former “Lost” star Matthew Fox returns to TV for the first time in the 12 years in the new Peacock series “Last Light” — which might appeal to Fox fans but otherwise underwhelms.
Now streaming, the action-thriller (which Fox also produces) is a dystopian story set in a world where a disruption to the petroleum supply chain sparks a global crisis.
Fox, 56, stars as Andy Yeats, an American chemist who lives in London with his wife Elena (Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”), their 8- year-old son Sam (Taylor Fay) — who’s losing his vision — and college-aged climate activist daughter Laura (Alyth Ross), who’s scornful of her dad’s work (since it involves the fossil fuel industry).
When the family is about to go to Paris for Sam’s experimental eye surgery, Andy’s work calls him away him to deal with an oil-related emergency in Luzrah (a fictional place in the Middle East). This angers Elena — who thinks he’s prioritizing work over family — and Laura (because of her principles).
As power grids shut down all over Europe and social unrest breaks out, the family scatters to the wind, with Andy in Luzrah, his wife and son in France and his daughter still in England. Andy is torn, trying to reunite with his family and get to Paris in time to support them for Sam’s surgery, while also dealing with increasingly chaotic events at work — including gunmen chasing him down.
Matters become even more complicated when Andy, who has reason to believe that the world’s oil supply could be contaminated for sinister man-made reasons, also has British Intelligence on his tail.
“Last Light” is based on a novel by Alex Scarrow and adapted by Patrick Massett (“Friday Night Lights”) and John Zinman (“The Blacklist”). It’s clearly got a lot of grand ideas, but they’re presented in a paint-by-numbers fashion. If you’ve seen any disaster movie including “The Day after Tomorrow” or “San Andreas,” there’s nothing that makes “Last Light” stand out from the well-trodden genre.
Not only is this Fox’s first series since 2010, but it’s also his first project in seven years, since the 2015 movie “Bone Tomahawk.” Brendan Fraser, another actor who’s currently on the comeback trail, picked an edgy and controversial vehicle with his starring role in “The Whale.” Fox does the opposite in this aggressively generic series. Characters don’t really get to be more colorful than basic archetypes: the worried frazzled mom who’s at the end of her rope, the reluctant hero and weary family man, the outspoken daughter.
At a tight five episodes, “Last Light” isn’t too tedious, at least, and the plot moves quickly. And it could scratch the itch if you’re in the mood for a thriller with an environmental bent (or just feel some “Lost” nostalgia and want to watch Matthew Fox look worried).
But other than that, “Last Light” is forgettable. It’s not offensively bad, but it also doesn’t have enough distinctive characters or memorable story turns to feel like a must-watch.