‘Last Resort’ Series Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by

Scott Speedman Last Resort ABC Last Resort Series Premiere Review

When Shawn Ryan’s latest series, Last Resort, was announced, there was little doubt it would be worth a look. After all, considering Ryan’s track record of putting compelling (if not tragically short-lived) series on television, then this submarine drama he’s cooked up with co-creator Karl Gajdusek at least has some proven talent working behind the scenes. Throw in director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), and Last Resort‘s pilot episode, ‘Captain,’ stands as one of the best premieres of the fall.

One of the first challenges that Last Resort is met with is adequately incorporating the scale of the show, its many cast members and the basic premise within the confines of a one-hour premiere. With talent like Campbell at the helm, ‘Captain’ may have made an excellent case for being a two-hour premiere – which would have allowed for greater examination of the show’s core cast. But as it stands, the episode manages to be an incredibly fast-paced endeavor that fits a wide array of circumstances, plot and characters (though most development is saved for future episodes) through what is arguably a very tiny window.

Thankfully, the episode is guided by Martin’s deft touch, and even when it stumbles under the sheer weight of everything that’s being piled on, ‘Captain’ stays on its feet and convincingly moves ahead to the next big event. To that end, much (okay, all) of Last Resort‘s pilot is plot, but it’s a plot will likely keep audiences tuning in again just to watch the series slow down and smooth the rough edges of its characters.

Scott Speedman Robert Patrick Andre Braugher Last Resort ABC Last Resort Series Premiere Review

The series opens with a group of Navy SEALs hitching a ride aboard the USS Colorado – arguably the most technologically sophisticated submarine in the world, let alone the U.S. Navy, and one that happens to be carrying a rather staggering number of nuclear missiles. The submarine is captained by Marcus Chaplin, played by Andre Braugher – one of few television actors capable of pulling off the requisite monologues of the character while not slipping into ham-fisted buffoonery. Though the pilot has little time for many details going into just who Chaplin is, there’s enough for the audience to surmise he’s well respected – especially by Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman), his XO – and is, if nothing else, a competent military strategist.

Not long into the episode, someone contacts the submarine with a command to fire two of its missiles at Pakistan – the only catch being those orders have come from a secondary channel that would only be used in the event Washington, D.C. had already been fired upon and likely destroyed. At that point, Chaplin and Kendal both agree that, considering the peculiar source of the order, if millions of lives are to be lost as a result of their strike, some form of verification needs to take place. Chaplin orders the sub to surface, and it quickly locates evidence that rumors of society’s collapse have been greatly exaggerated; this fact causes the captain and his XO to refuse the order to launch (Thank you, Hannah Montana). At that point, the Colorado is fired upon and forced to retreat to a small NATO outpost on a French Polynesian island.

From the onset, there’s a lot of grey area in between all the actions taken by Chaplin and his crew, and the ramifications of those actions should provide some interesting examinations as the series progresses. By the end of the episode, the Colorado has essentially seized control of the NATO outpost and the island’s inhabitants, including an enigmatic gangster named Julian Serrat (Sahr Ngaujah) and a young woman named Tani, played by Dollhouse‘s Dichen Lachman. Most shockingly, the Colorado has declared itself sovereign and, after a daring display of strength, the world’s smallest nuclear nation.

Daisy Betts Andre Braugher Last Resort ABC Last Resort Series Premiere Review

It’s a tricky and compelling premise to be sure, but one that, if handled correctly, has the ability to splinter off into a whole mess of even trickier, more compelling possibilities.

What’s most intriguing about Last Resort is the way the pilot leaves the rest of the series to unfold. There’s no clear-cut path for ensuing episodes to follow – things could easily travel down multiple paths – and ‘Captain’ leaves the audience with little idea of what consistent structure (if any) future episodes will have. It also leaves the audience with almost no idea of who these characters are, and why some are compelled to follow a man making a nuclear threat against the United States. But therein lies the great hook of Last Resort. Right now, Ryan and Gadjusek have provided a compelling mystery (who gave the bogus order to fire on Pakistan, and why?) and wrapped it around a world that feels frighteningly timely. Stuffed inside that world is a whole host of identities and motivations that will (hopefully) unfold along with the show’s established mystery and plot line.

When it comes to a series as ambitious and indefinable as Last Resort, the question quickly becomes: What is the endgame? One can’t help but wonder just where the crew of the Colorado are headed – and in creating that level of interest with just one episode, Ryan and Gadjusek have succeeded. It’s tough to sell a serialized show steeped in its own mythology without first revealing what that mythology is all about. Certainly, the concept is huge and seems nearly unsustainable after a while, but given Ryan’s past success, if anyone deserves our patience it’s him.

Scott Speedman Andre Braugher Last Resort ABC Last Resort Series Premiere Review

Besides, the potential development for Captain Chaplin is tremendous. Braugher is absolutely mesmerizing in the pilot (his speech near the end of ‘Captain’ should be reason enough to watch episode two), and the show will probably do well based largely on his performance alone. Given the circumstances in which we last see him, it’s not hard to imagine a situation evocative of Col. Kurtz sometime down the road. But such things would be far into the future (and highly unlikely). Regardless, the point is: Having sizable talents like Ryan and Braugher on board gives the series leeway to conceive of and sell many creative places for the show to send its characters. Wherever that may be, Last Resort has managed to make it feel like a trip worth taking.

Last Resort airs Thursday nights @8pm on ABC.

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  1. Loved It. I’m hoping for one solid season, rather than something that goes, and goes….

  2. This sounds incredible. I worry this will go the way of Jericho though. Too timely, too many frayed nerves, and not enough ratings.

  3. LOVED IT!!!! !!!!!!!! Man had a lost type of feeling.. can’t wait till next weeks show

  4. OMG! As an active duty navy sailor, this show must go off the air ASAP. Horrible. Its not accurrate at all. I’ve been inside a sub before, and its nothing like what they displayed on TV. Wow, I have friends texting me while I write this and they all think this show is awful. Not watching another episode. No way!

    • Relax Sailor, its just a TV Show. There is no USS Colorado in service as a Ohio Class Submarine.

      It is a TV Show, most people know that the United States would never use back channels in case of war.

      Last USS Colorado was from WWII.

      People seriously need to chill.

      • Jeff, you wrote exactly what I was thinking.

        • I shall in the future try harder not to get into your mind. God, how rude of me. :)

    • Because what you found wrong with the show, is the only unbelievable thing about it……………………..Do you think deetectives are actually like those portrayed in NCIS and such? Getting in shoot outs constantly? NO. Stop being a troll. It is a TV show.

    • Neither was the ‘Sea View’, but it worked out. Let it go, it’s just a TV show. Not real like my Armor. – Stark

      • lol

    • OMG. As an active human being, shows like the incredible hulk Should never be on TV. I’ve been hit with Gamma radiation before and it’s nothing like they displayed it on TV.

      I died!

      R E L A X man. Enjoy the awesomeness and unrealistic shows on TV. There’s reality TV shows about armed forces too so watch that if Fiction ain;t your cup o tea!

    • @MG, i’m a Sailor as well and enjoy quite a bit. It is a show and accuracy is NEVER intended. Calm down

    • I wonder when it’ll come out that the POTUS is a white Republican, not to mention a Mormon, and the House and Senate currently Impeaching him are controlled by Democrats.

  5. In an interview on the Steve Dahl Show, Shawn Ryan said that Andre Braugher’s final monologue was originally 2.5 minutes long and that Braugher nailed each of the first three takes. Apparently weather conditions pushed the filming of it up significantly, and when Ryan went to apologize and let Braugher know they’d be filming it the following day, Braugher simply responded, “I know the script.” The man is incredible.

    • I totally agree Braugher is a powerhouse. There’s so much potential for this series. I’m interested in how the U.S. occupation of the island and how DC will respond to a nation with weapons of mass destruction will play out. I’m also intrigued by the conspiracy element of the show. I put my full thoughts on this episode here on my blog.

  6. Intresting premise. Would a Naval Officer question the authority of secondary emergency channel? Depends, if the order of attack has been verified and orders to launch has been confirmed. Can a Captain and XO not carry out those orders?

    The question should be, why would a Captain and XO not carry out those orders?

  7. just amazing!!! just amazing!!
    i also had a lost flash back!! NBC evolution is the official new lost tv show!! lol

    1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident

  8. I thought it had some good moments. Keep it on! Remember folks, it is just a “show” not an accurate depiction of a “real” U-Boat!

    • I would say it is not, since the term U-Boat is a German for Unsteerboat, or Underwater Boat. Not actually for any US SUB…

      Boomer or Boat.

      Not U-Boat.

      • “Unsteerboat”

        I believe you mean “Unterseeboot”. Literally “Under-the-Sea Boat”. ;)

        • Yep, was watching Person of Intrest when I was typing most..Damn that is a good show.

          And thank you for the correction.

    • Yea, but you know what! When you serve in the military and have a TV show based upon your service, we want things to be as accurate as possible because we take pride in wearing the uniform and represent this country with Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Just like the movie act of valor, the active duty SEALs at first declined to participate in the movie, then they said if they do this movie, it has to be accurate. And that’s what they did. I take pride in wearing my uniform and of my naval service everyday. Wouldn’t watch this show again. Nope.

      • MG, No disrepect, but I can list a number of movies and TV Shows based on total stupidty. It is a TV Show.

        As for Serving in the Military, you could say I am currently serving in the United States Coastguar.

        MH/HH Jayhawk SAR Pilot
        Rank O-6 TIS 22 YEARS TIR 3 MONTHS.

      • Wow. I thought military types were supposed to be less sensitive! Guess what sailor? No TV show is absolutely accurate. I’m an engineer and let me tell you, all that mumbo jumbo on 24 is BS. Talk to a doctor and they’ll say ER and House is full of holes. Talk to a lawyer and they’ll rant against legal shows. It’s great that you served and are proud of your service, but everyone else is proud of their work too. The military is not sacrosanct just because they wear a uniform. You don’t want to watch the show, fine! The rest of us seem to like it.

      • Acutally that’s not what happened with “Act of Valor” the US Navy was tricked into that movie, sorta. You should look up the story. 2nd since this is a show don’t look at it as the actual service you serve in but one in an alternate universe.

      • As someone who has served in the Navy, on board two Ohio-class subs (USS NEVADA and USS ALABAMA), I take no offense to shows loosely based on the military. A) There’s no way to “accurately” depict any military service because you can’t recreate those experiences, be it on board a submarine or on the front lines of a military action. Between the classification of information and the in-ability to recreate those moments and emotions, you can’t. B) This isn’t a reality show or documentary, so why does it have to be accurate? How accurate are any of the Star Trek shows or Lost or any other show for that matter. Television shows primary goal is to be entertaining, not accurate. I haven’t seen the show yet so I can’t speak to how egregious the accuracy is, but at the same time I wouldn’t be looking to it to relive my days on board either.

        As someone who served, I honestly appreciate your service, just as I do anyone’s, so thank you for that, but I think you would be more lax about the accuracy only because you’re living it everyday and look to television as an escape.

      • @MG, Then I suggest you never watch a military based tv show or movie again as they are never accurate. BTW even Act of Honor wasnt accurate & many Seals stated it wasnt after watching it themselves.
        I am an active duty US Navy sailor of 16 years and I find your opinion absolutely laughable. You need to relax and leave the. “Haze grey” at work.

      • Speak for yourself. I do NOT want them to be accurate as possible. It is just a TV show and I want to escape the day in day out world of the US Navy.

    • EDoYea, but you know what! When you serve in the military and have a TV show based upon your service, we want things to be as accurate as possible because we take pride in wearing the uniform and represent this country with Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Just like the movie act of valor, the active duty SEALs at first declined to participate in the movie, then they said if they do this movie, it has to be accurate. And that’s what they did. I take pride in wearing my uniform and of my naval service everyday. Wouldn’t watch this show again. Nope. I don’t expect people who haven’t served to understand what I’m talking about, so of course you would like the show, but you have to serve and know what its all about first.

      • You know, they cannot nail a Submarine Accurately, considering the nature of the Submarine Service.

        They are clandestine in nature and operation. Desgined to be operate in secret and silence,and their CONNs are off limits for the most part.

        • plus this is set in the future on a sub that doesn’t yet exist. So maybe things have changed from what these military guys know.

          • No responce to this last comment speaks wonders! As no responce means….

            • The person has better things to do……?

  9. Definitely an ambitious premise, but I think they have fished up a winner. I will indeed be watching this one!

  10. DAMN IT…COASTGUARD!…Sheesh, should not be watching Person of Intrest and typing.

  11. The show is good – it is interesting and a new take on a TV series.

    To all the people complaining ‘its not accurate or real enough’, nowhere has this show claimed to be a documentary. It is a piece of entertainment, not a mirror of real life (which would likely be far less thrilling).

    Relax yourselves.

  12. Doesn’t seem like there’s enough story for a series though. Once they find out who gave the fake orders that’s about it.

  13. Well, I’m not in the navy and have never been in a nuclear missile sub, but I agree that this show is complete garbage. Why must all TV shows be made for the most easily amused people? Soap opera on a sub.

    Just awful

    • it seems like you are outnumbered here since the majority of us think this show was excellent :D

  14. I liked the show, I saw pass the flaws in the show.

    Women on a Sub, they just integrated Women on subs in the past 18 months.
    Possible, but hey, the times are changing

    Captain in command? Most Submarines have Commander Rank.

    I was assigned to a Cutter out of Key West, I arrived aboard to find out that the Captain of the Cutter was recalled, so they sent the cutter out with a Commander, when I landed, I all of a sudden became the ranking officer because of my TIR (Time In Rank) I had to assume command, even though it was not my ship. So my first order, was to let the Commander Command, and allow me to assume XO Duties.

    If the US Going to be attacked, there is going to be more than one proper channel.

    For a Tomahawk Cruise Missle to attack that quickly,they had to be tracked, and they did not notice a Boomer or Surface ship approaching? The should have gotten a signal on SONAR indicating a US Sub in the vicinity.

    Oh well, to suspend disbelief is what TV is all about.

    • Earlier in the episode, someone asked the Captain if he knew why a particular carrier group was changing course. Could have been who fired on them. If that is the case, the entire event could have been premeditated before the order to fire was given. Who ever is behind it may have expected orders from a secondary source to be questioned, and planned to take out the Colorado all along, blame the attack on Pakistan, and use the attack as an excuse to go to war. Remember in the beginning of the episode, the Captain turned on a TV news broadcast reporting that the President was impeached.

  15. There is not a single show in existence about any field of expertise that is accurate. Why would (or should) Last Resort be any different? The research alone would eat up all the time and money for a show like that and it would never happen at all. I take somewhat off entertainment over a super-accurate show that never gets made any day.

  16. Liked the show but it seemed to fake to me as well. No US Navy sub is going to fire a nuclear missle at DC even if its a bluff or two hundred miles off shore.

  17. I downloaded the premier off of PSN earlier this week along with Revolution.Revolution,which I watched first, was “kinda” interesting,but with terrible execution,and I honestly don’t see it lasting.Last Resort on the other hand was surprisingly good to me.Again,an interesting premise,with a pretty good cast and good acting.I’m hoping that this one is around for a while.

  18. Firing a missle off shore……how do they know there are no fishing boats or pleasure cruises or private boats out there?

    I missed half the first epi and was lost. I have no idea who the bad guys are or the good.

    • SATCOM Image of the ocean at the time would tell you what was if anything was in the vicinity….I hope.

  19. I’ve been checking out most of the new prime time shows this year, including Last Resort. I missed the premiere when it first aired because I was working at DISH, but my Hopper DVR recorded it. It has Primetime Anytime, which automatically records all the prime time shows on the four major networks. It’s nice that I could re-watch the pilot to make sure I understood everything that happened. Personally, I loved Last Resort. I can definitely see how it might not be accurate compared to actual military service, but when taken in entertainment context, it kept me on the edge of my seat. It was face-paced, intricate, and left a lot questions about the characters’ backgrounds and Captain Chaplin’s sanity. I’ll definitely be watching again next week.

    • Sheesh!

  20. You know what the Coastguard has….The Gurdian and opening scenes of Baywatch….
    Army Get Cool Movies
    Navy Get Cool Movies
    Marines Get Cool Movies
    Airforce Get Cool Movie.

    Coast Guard gets Kaka!We were under the Department of Treasure and Transportation and now Homeland Security!

    No love!

  21. People find fault and hate Last Resort. Yet for the most part, those same people..

    Think a Large Green Guy with anger issues was cool.

    That a Billionaire Playboy can go around kicking ass all night.

    We once believed we wanted to Join GI Joe because they had the best equipment,

    Who here didnt want a talking black trans am and was disappointed it was
    not an option (Yes, I was foolish enough to ask that to a caresalesman)

    You were severly disappointed when you got bit by a Spider and the next morning instead of Spiderman powers, you had a painful bite and had to be rushed to the hospital or die.(I plead the Fifth)

    Now as Adults, we have to critique everything we watch, wear, eat, drive nd so forth.

    Shows like this take me back to being a wide eyed kid sitting on the couch next to my grandfather and watching something that was not real, but made me happy none the less. I grow up everytime I have to go out and rescue someone caught out in rough waters. Then I come back and I want to unwind.

  22. I liked the show even though its beyond far fetched. At least its a semi original idea and there are a ton of directions it can go…

  23. ARMY…We got an evil dictator with a nuke..send in the Rangers.

    NAVY… We got hostages being held by terrorist..Send in the SeALS.

    Marines…We need to secure the entry point..Send in Force Recon

    Airforce….We need Predator Drones to nuke these bastards.

    Coast Guard…..We got a fishing boat with a stalled engine.

    Coasties do not lend themselves to action movies.

  24. I applaud this type of show. Tired of constantly PC shows especially dramas.

    This and The Walking Dead are awesome.

  25. I just happened to catch the encore presentation tonight not knowing anything about the show (I honestly thought it was going to be an episodic show about some remote resort community that would feature random actor of the week).

    Well color me pleasantly surprised. I found it both interesting and engaging and will be tuning in next week. I don’t know how this show is going to do long term but it’s definitely worth watching, at least for now.

  26. I watched this last night OnDemand and for the most part thought it was ok and worth giving a few more episodes a shot.
    My biggest complaint would be that a lot of it felt rushed. I realize they only have about 42 minutes of actual air time to get things going so it has to move briskly but with so much going on it was hard to get invested in a lot of it. So IMO a 2 hour premier would have been ideal.

  27. Loved the show and will continue to watch it as long as it may last.

  28. This is hands down the best new fall tv show. Because it’s become my favorite I’m sure it will end up getting canceled, like my shows often do.(jericho,carnival(hbo)) This looks like it cost a LOT to make, great acting, great story, great script. Way better than Revolution and I had hopes for that one. Crossing my fingers it gets more ratings.

  29. I watched it and it was terrible! I don’t even know which scene was the worst. That totally forced exposition scene with Autumn Reeser’s character explaining her cloaking device while making out? Cutting away from a very dramatic hull breach scene to show the island thug casually drive to a girl and gifting her some Nutella (way to suck all the drama out of the episode in an instant)? The equator crossing? The ballistic missiles crossing 2,000 miles from the Indian ocean to Pakistan within 10 seconds? That chick from the bar hugging the crying SEAL without even knowing the guy and him acting like a total dick ever since he showed up? There were many more scenes that made me cringe, but I repressed them by now. I’ve haven’t seen writing as bad as this in a long while. Totally unbelievable all around.

    • It is a fictional tv show. If you want seriousness then go watch a biography or something. You people need to lighten up.

      • If you had read my first comment in this comment section you’d know that I don’t mind inaccuracies too much. What I do mind, however, are really bad writing/direction and crappy unrelatable characters. It’s alright to have standards, you know? I don’t need to swallow everything they put on my plate just because it’s fictional. That excuse would be a free pass for any kind of crap.

        • The word ‘Impatient’ comes to mind as you obviously are unwilling to let characters stories develope. Its as if you dont have much social contact with people and come on here to troll about tv characters social life.

          • If you believe that talking about work during sex and intimately hugging a complete stranger who was being a jerk for comfort are believable or well written character actions I’d say that you are the one in need for more social contact, because you obviously have no clue whatsoever how real people behave.

            Besides, you are one to call othere people trolls, considering that I simply talk about the show, while you come here to attack other commenters personally with your insults, while not delivering any kind of valuable opinion about the show. I also would chalk that down to a lack of social skills, because if you had any you would accept that there are different opinions out there and that you can disagree with them without trying to descredit or insult the one who uttered them.

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