Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Last Resort"

This show aired on ABC for not even a full season back in 2012. It had an intriguing premise not unlike that of the movie "Crimson Tide" - an American nuclear-armed submarine gets a launch order, but the commanding crew wants verification before carrying out the order. The request for verification does not go well, and the submarine ends up being hunted by fellow American naval forces, leading to a desperate warning by the captain that if his ship is attacked again, he will launch his nuclear warheads on Washington, D.C.(!)

Not only was it a heavily serialized show, it was created and produced by Shawn Ryan, who created one of my favorite TV shows of all-time, "The Shield." Yet, for some reason, I missed this show when it first aired. Apparently I was not alone, because the ratings dropped like a stone, and ABC didn't even bother ordering the back nine episodes.

Fortunately, ABC made this decision early enough that the production and writing staff had enough time to adjust and (sort of) end the series by episode 13. There are few things more frustrating than getting into a serialized series, only to have it end on a cliffhanger. (And ABC has done more than its share of those .... "Flashforward," "V" ....)

Anyway, I happened to have some digital credit with Amazon and went shopping a while ago, when I noticed that "Last Resort" was available for a reasonable price. I used my credit and promptly forgot about the show. I'd been binging on old seasons of "Survivor" (available via Amazon Prime) while running on the treadmill, but after the lameness of the "Redemption Island" season, I needed a break for Jeff Probst and company.


"Last Resort" has one of the best pilot episodes I've ever seen!* Andre Braugher exudes gravitas as Captain Chaplin, and Scott Speedman (who I've only seen in the "Underworld" movies) is very good as the executive officer. Add to that Robert Patrick as the crusty chief of the boat, and you've got a strong core cast. I'm about halfway through the series right now, and while there's been a couple of weaker episodes, none has been a clunker. It's a shame this show didn't get more traction when it aired, but then again, maybe it's a good thing that there's a (relatively) tight 13 episodes - like a good mini-series.

* Of course, "Flashforward" was also one of the best pilots I've ever seen, and that show devolved into a mess by the end, so a strong start certainly doesn't guarantee a strong series.

No comments:

Post a Comment