Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pilot Review: The Last Post

The Last Post (Amazon)
Premiered December 22

There weren’t a lot of shows that premiered in the past couple of weeks, but Amazon did launch this British import, which originally aired weekly on BBC1 beginning in October. For viewers looking for something that feels like a relic of the past and manages to blend well into its surroundings, this is a show well supported by its set pieces that achieves a certain mood. I’m not particularly familiar with the history of Yemen and the territories that came before it, and I think this show is much more concerned with the individual people and conflicts between the Royal Military Police and the native population that doesn’t want invaders on their land. Most of this hour was relatively passive, until the prank at the end of the episode led to tragedy following the near-miss during a rooftop haircut. The only actor in the cast that I recognized was Stephen Campbell Moore, who I remember best from his role as a teacher in “The History Boys,” and who here played Lieutenant Laithwaite, who was sour about being passed over for a promotion and still had the best instincts of anyone in this crew. While there’s obviously some interesting drama going on with the wives as well as a relationship between one soldier and a religious local woman, I didn’t find any of the characters or interactions to be all that memorable. If the time period was particularly fascinating to me, I think I might like this show, but since that’s not the case I’m happy to forget it.

How will it work as a series? Tensions will be considerably higher and things are sure to escalate with the local population and terrorist threats now that violence has claimed lives, but I imagine that the personal drama and interpersonal relationships will still be front and center. That should make for some decent, stylized, slow-moving plotting that could prove worthwhile.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be decent, and reports about ratings in the UK are positive. Dropping this show at this time on Amazon feels like a strange choice since it’s not what Americans are likely to watch in this holiday season. Barring a renewal from its native network, I think that six episodes are all we’ll see of this show.

Pilot grade: B-

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