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SYFY WIRE Last Light

‘Last Light’: Matthew Fox on how Peacock’s apocalyptic series lured him back to TV

The Lost star teams with Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt for a heart-racing quest across a planet on the brink.

By Benjamin Bullard

Last Light has finally landed at Peacock, marking the petroleum-paralyzed premiere of a five-part original series that finds the small-screen streamer teetering on the verge of an energy apocalypse. The dystopian thriller event series drops all of its cinematic episodes in one big batch today, Sept. 8, marking the TV acting return of Lost alum Matthew Fox.

Fox stars alongside Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) as Andy and Elena Yeats, a husband and wife couple whose busy lives separate them at precisely the moment when the world comes to an oil-starved standstill. An affluent couple comfortably living in London, Andy’s an accomplished petrochemical engineer who answers an emergency summons to a fictitious desert oil nation to investigate the sudden fuel crisis that’s thrown the planet into terror. Elena, meanwhile, finds herself stranded in Paris with their 8-year-old son, Sam (Taylor Fay), who’s days away from a life-changing eye operation that his dad solemnly pledges he won’t miss.

Of course, things go haywire almost from the start, leaving Andy and Elena trapped on different continents just as the global transportation system collapses into chaos. To deepen the family stakes, Laura, their college-age daughter, is stuck alone at home in London, wryly ruing the fate of the oil-dependent world whose destiny seems to be unfolding just as her environmental-activist heart might’ve predicted.

If it sounds like Last Light’s stakes are meant to be high, well, you’re picking up on the same tense vibes that Fox says lured him out of his prolonged acting hiatus for a much-anticipated return to television. Speaking recently with SYFY WIRE, Fox explained how the mature yet family-focused story enticed him back in front of the camera — even as he relished the chance to try his hand, for the first time ever, as a series executive producer.

“On a personal note, part of the reason why I sort of took a break from the business in 2014 was that I just had a ‘bucket list’ of things that I wanted to accomplish in the business, and I had pretty much completed that,” Fox shared.

“One thing that I had not done is, I had not executive produced — and I had always been fascinated by what that would feel like, to have my hands involved in more parts of telling a story than just the character that I’m defending and trying to portray. And Last Light was going to give me that opportunity; It was going to give me that opportunity to do it with a really good friend of mine, who is also my manager, [co-EP William] Bill Choi. We’d been kind of kicking the idea of how great it would be to work on something together and to collaborate creatively and problem solve — and Last Light definitely gave us the opportunity to do a lot of problem solving,” he laughed.


There’s definitely a film-like scope to the series’ sweeping story of grounded airplanes, closed international borders, and mysterious figures hiding in the shadows — all encompassing a dire disaster tale of a family in more danger than they realize, each of them desperately racing to reunite. While Fox remains tethered closer to the source of Andy’s unfolding mystery in the desert, Froggatt ushers Elena’s frightened son Sam through wave after wave of increasingly fraught public panics back in Paris.

That effectively makes Elena and Sam’s journey the series’ emotional anchor as they endure the firsthand effects of a society spiraling toward collapse. Froggatt said Last Light’s high-contrast juxtaposition of one family in crisis against a world-spanning backdrop helps orient viewers to what really matters: “the love between a parent and a child.”

“All this craziness is going on around them; this end of the world, possibly — all this kind of disaster and emergency,” Froggatt told SYFY WIRE. But, she added, mother and son "come across great humanity as well. For them, when they’re separated from Andy, and their daughter, and the rest of the family, it’s just her and Sam. And it really is just the absolute basics of love for her child — and that’s what moves it forward.”


Last Light hews close to plausible, present-day notions of science fiction dystopia, merging genre elements that track closer to action thrillers of the James Bond variety than far-fetched, Earth-menacing visions of asteroids or zombies. Director and co-EP Dennie Gordon comes to the series fresh off recent directing turns for Jack Ryan at Amazon and For All Mankind at Apple TV+, and there’s a grounded, real-world feel to the way Last Light’s characters move through the series’ epic gauntlet of fictional threats.

How people react in the face of existential adversity, said Fox, supplies the beating heart for “the story itself — the sort of macro backdrop of the story.”

“…[A]t the core of it [is] this family that is just beautiful and loves each other very much that is ultimately separated by this crisis, and then throughout the crisis, them attempting to reunite with each other,” he explained. “And in the process, all of them sort of having a renewed sense of how important their family is to them — those are elements that I’m always drawn to…I think everyone is drawn to those elements. I think that family, and that core sense of connection to our families, is universal.”

Catch the event series premiere of Last Light starting today, as all five episodes arrive ready to binge at Peacock.