Last Life is an American supernatural romance and dark Urban Fantasy webseries that premiered on YouTube in the spring of 2015. It is produced by a small studio outfit called The Puma Squad, headed by co-creators Elesha Barnette and Kathy DiStefano. Kathy also plays Sloane, the main character, who is currently living the last life for which the series is named. Also starring Nancy Cooney as Taylor, her soulmate.
The story is essentially summarised by Sloane’s opening monologue, so just to add a few more details: Yes, Sloane is a witch from the Bloodborne coven. Yes, she’s lived many lives, as this series is a Reincarnation Romance, and yes, all she wants is to be reunited with Taylor, her soulmate and fellow Bloodborne witch, with whom she’s shared all those past lifetimes. But Taylor has no memory of her past lives, and thus no memory of her prior relationship/s with Sloane, whom Taylor last knew as a man named Rick, who died in 2012.
Meanwhile, the ancient battle between good and evil rages around them both, as the Alina—the “good” witches, on the side of the light—have been drugging Taylor all this time, working to make sure she doesn’t get back her memories, and on the flipside, her fellow Bloodborne (obviously on the dark side) want her dead, and permanently. For Taylor doesn’t know it yet, but she is one of the most powerful of dark witches in history, and it has been prophesied that when she finds out who she really is, she could bring about The End of the World as We Know It …
The series has in all a total of three seasons, with the final one debuting in late June 2019. Tentative plans have also been discussed for a possible spin-off, and/or even a graphic novel. Watch all three seasons, and view all the extra material (behind the scenes footage, interviews, trailers and bloopers) here, on the Puma Squad's YouTube channel.
Not to be confused with the Life SMP, which is known as the Last Life SMP in its second season.
Tropes featured in Last Life:
- Academy of Adventure: Very little detail is given on the college or university both Taylor and Zoey were attending, but Zoey appears to be taking a class that involves the use of medieval weaponry.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Sloane has shades of this; she can act pretty cold, especially when dealing with enemies (hers as well as Taylor's).
- On the Alina side, Nari (aka Eve) as well.
- Beta Couple: Alina witches Shane & Dr Stanwicke.
- The Big Damn Kiss: In S1E6, when Taylor leaves her room, possibly for the first time since she moved into it, and knocks on Sloane’s door.
- Crash-Into Hello: How the two meet for the "first" time—Taylor accidentally spills her drink on Sloane's shirt.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Sloane. A few of the witches on both sides of the conflict count as well; special mention goes to Nari, the modern reincarnation of Eve.
- Fantastic Drug: Taylor's meds contain water from the Lethe—the mythological river of forgetfulness. This is deliberate on Dr Stanwicke's part, as she's part of the Alina, whose mission it is to stop Taylor from regaining her memories and powers.
- French Jerk: Adam and Eve, in their modern, Francophone reincarnations, show signs of this.
- Hikikomori: Taylor is introduced as an agoraphobe in Season 1, with Grey constantly bringing her pizza. It takes Sloane to finally get Taylor out of her room, and by Season 2, she's more comfortable venturing outdoors, preferably with Sloane around.
- Gender Bender: The case with Sloane. She was originally Rick, who fell in love with Taylor as part of their Reincarnation Romance. When he was murdered he desperately latched into the nearest empty vessel he could which just so happened to belong to a girl in a coma named Sloane. Instead of seeking another new body, she simply embraces being female and always uses "She/Her" pronouns.
- Hero Stole My Bike: Or in this case, a whole Jeep. Sloane & Taylor, on the run from the Alina by the start of Season 2, seize it from a drunken guy who mouths off drunken insults at them.
- Hot Witch: Sloane, and how.
- Taylor herself is no slouch in looks, and in fact most of the Alina and Bloodborne cast, are generally on the upper side of average in attractiveness.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Sloane is a little of this. Taylor sort of counts too, though she’s more of a Lipstick Bisexual, since she did use to date Sloane’s previous male incarnation Rick, and she was trying to date Grey just before encountering Sloane. They're also not as femme as traditional examples.
- Although labelling their orientations might well be moot, in a sense, given that both Sloane and Taylor could easily have been any number of genders, any number of times, in previous lifetimes. Their original identities are generally considered to be from opposite sexes.
- In fact, in their interviews, Elesha Barnette and Kathy DiStefano have gone on record stating that if Last Life celebrated alternative relationships & lifestyles, it revolves around pansexuality more than anything, and to put specific labels (even LGBT ones) on the characters' orientations would be somewhat missing the point; anyone can choose to love whomever they wish, as long as they're meant to be for each other.
- In other words, Last Life can still be about gay & lesbian relationships, but this is secondary; it explores pansexuality and soulmates, regardless of label, first and foremost.
- Magical Incantation: Powers most magical actions in this series. For maximum effect, spells have to be repeated out loud a number of times.
- Mind over Matter: Much of Sloane’s magic gives her telekinetic powers.
- Not Herself / Demonic Possession: The personality currently using the name Sloane is not actually the person legally named Sloane Fox, who slipped into a coma before the series premiere and whose body is simply being used as the current incarnation of the ancient, dark spirit, Samael, the once and always partner of Lilith (who, if you haven't guessed, now goes around in the person of Taylor). People not in the know simply assume the actual Sloane woke up from her coma.
- Opening Monologue:
- Power Incontinence: Taylor’s repressed magic powers resurface when she’s angry or stressed. One such case results in the tragic, accidental death of Zoey.
- Public Domain Character: With characters from The Bible! … Well, sort of; aside from Adam and Eve, the Bible never mentions the others explicitly, but Lilith and Samael show up in related Jewish mythology, and Lilith has been long known as a symbol of darkness or demonic entity, especially in medieval Christianity.)
- Psycho Ex-Boyfriend: Adam, "Javier" in this life (which he hates), to Lilith (Taylor). Per Sloane's words, he's sworn to kill Lilith, Samael (aka Sloane herself), and all their children. Presumably permanently.
- Reincarnation Romance
- Running Gag: Sloane getting spilled on. In Season 1 Taylor accidentally spills her drink on Sloane's shirt. In Season 2, Nari (aka Eve) throws it deliberately in her face.Sloane: (in response to Nari) If you wanted to see me in a wet T-shirt, all you had to do was ask.
- Scenery Dissonance: Mildly speaking. The show isn't really about horror so much as it's generally supernatural, but this is a series about dark magic set in a fairly bright and sunlit neighbourhood. (Behind-the-scenes shoots and extra materials reveal the series was shot in Southern California, near Los Angeles.)
- The Shrink: Dr Kristen Stanwicke, who counsels and gives advice to Taylor on dealing with her agoraphobia and the death of Rick … and who is secretly drugging Taylor so she doesn't get back her memories of being a dark witch.
- Smoking Hot Sex: Sloane does this early in Season 2 after a lovemaking session with Taylor. This isn't usual for Sloane, who admits (when asked by Taylor) that she hasn't smoked since "Austria, '42".
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Taylor's Book of the Dead.
- Villain Protagonist: Both Sloane and Taylor are Bloodborne witches, and canonically, they're supposed to be on The Dark Side, what with a prophecy that Taylor (i.e., Lilith) will bring about the apocalypse.
- Was It All a Lie?: Adam's question for Eve after the latter had him imprisoned and rendered powerless.
- You Remind Me of X: Sloane reminds Taylor of her dead boyfriend Rick. Which makes perfect sense, given that Rick was Sloane’s previous identity.