Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pilot Review: The Last Ship

The Last Ship (TNT)
Premiered June 22 at 9pm

The last time a TV series took on the idea of a lone military vessel being the last hope of society was “Last Resort,” a thriller that hit hard with its pilot and then sank quickly after that. The difference here is that the apocalypse really has happened, and it’s not just a matter of resisting authority or trying to do what’s right. A good portion of the population has been wiped out, and therefore the Navy officers and CDC specialists aboard this ship really are the key to humanity’s survival. This strikes me as having enormous potential to fizzle out quickly, starting strong with a relatively rousing hour and then losing steam because this new universe isn’t as appealing as how it came about. There was an awful lot of action in this pilot that was decently thrilling, and I think this show is just as poised to be an action series as it is a drama. At the helm of this cast are three TV veterans, all with very different experience. Eric Dane was McSteamy on “Grey’s Anatomy” and seems an appropriate fit for the part of the duty-bound, relatively serious captain. Rhona Mitra, who was on “The Practice” and more recently “Strike Back,” isn’t always so great but here seems to have a fine role. Adam Baldwin, of “Chuck” and “Firefly” fame, is relegated to a part that uses none of his talents, which is a shame. This show isn’t really about the cast, but it does need to make sure that its characters are decent enough to sustain the enormous weight of its concept. There’s definitely a sense of military pride here, and I’m hopeful that this show will deliver on what could be a cool and potentially even sustainable premise.

How will it work as a series? The president and vice-president both perished very quickly, and so the government is out as a reliable source of information or ruling structure. If fraction governments are established, that could be worthwhile, and as long as this show doesn’t feel too isolated spending all its time in the middle of the ocean, it could prove to be interesting and engaging.
How long will it last? The ratings for this pilot were strong, and I think that TNT is set on this kind of series being its flagship, no pun intended. I suspect a second season renewal will come soon isnce the network will want to show that it’s confident in a series like this.

Pilot grade: B

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