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Herc Dives Into ABC’s
New Nuclear Submarine
Drama LAST RESORT!!

Published at: Sept. 27, 2012, 9:09 a.m. CST by hercules

I am – Hercules!!

A dramatic thriller from screenwriter Karl Gajdusek (2011’s critically reviled “Trespass”) and TV vet Shawn Ryan (“The Shield,” “Terriers,” “The Chicago Code”), “The Last Resort” follows the crew of a powerful U.S. nuclear submarine that decides to go rogue after an unstable U.S. military (is it still taking orders from the beleaguered U.S. president?) launches nuclear missiles against Pakistan. That crew parks its sub off a tropical island somewhere between Sydney and Los Angeles and declares itself a tiny nuclear nation -- thanks to its 17 trident missiles.

Andre Braugher (“Homicide: Life On The Street,” “Men of a Certain Age”) plays the captain of the Colorado; Scott Speedman (“Felicity,” the “Underworld” movies) plays Sam Kendal, the sub’s executive officer. Stunning Austrailian Daisy Betts (from NBC’s bizarre 2010 ghost-town prison drama “Persons Unknown”) plays third-in-command Grace Shepard.

I suspect Gajdusek and/or Ryan are big fans of Tony Scott’s “Crimson Tide,” as a key part of the “Last Resort” pilot features the sub crew squabbling about what to do when a suspect EAM (emergency action message) directs them to launch nuclear missiles at a nation that may not necessarily have in any way employed its own nuclear arsenal.

Braugher gives a typically commanding performance, but my favorite scene in the pilot depicts a young Navy SEAL in a verbal showdown with a troublemaking local warlord. It’s so good it makes me wonder if Ryan didn’t recruit his old “Unit” cohort David Mamet to help him write it.

While seldom boring, the pilot frequently strains credibility. How did that hotheaded, mouthy and downright obnoxious Chief of Boat (Robert Patrick) manage to rise to such an important position in the U.S. Navy when he keeps needlessly pissing off his superiors? And would an army sergeant cut off the phone line Grace’s dad Admiral Shepard (Bruce Davison) is using, only to let Shepard leave his office without incident? What’s to stop Shepard from talking to the press about what appears to be a White House coup? And do all (mostly male) submarine crews break out into “Fame”-like dance numbers every time they cross the equator?

ABC is berthing “Last Resort” in the 8 p.m. Thursday timeslot that brought quick deaths to “FlashForward,” “My Generation” and most recently “Charlie’s Angels.” Ratings monsters like “Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men” and “The X Factor,” I suspect, will ultimately make the U.S.S. Colorado’s voyage a short one.

I’m far from convinced the “Resort” masterminds know what they’re doing, but I’ll likely give its second episode a look to see where all of this might be going. That’s more than I could say about “Charlie’s Angels” this time last year.

HuffPost TV says:

... the pilot for "Last Resort" is very good … The next episode, which ABC recently made available to the media, is a less satisfying affair. Episode 2 tries hard to follow up on a wide array of storylines and deepen various characters, but there's so much happening in so many locations that a fair amount of it doesn't quite land. … the third episode is on a more even keel …

HitFix says:

... The "Last Resort" pilot episode is far and away the best I watched for this fall season. There are some bumps in the next two episodes, but also some very promising signs that, coupled with the talent involved, has me wanting to believe there is a great series here, and not just a great pilot that the series can't possibly live up to. …

The New York Times says:

… an action-adventure mystery slickly coated with suspense, but some of the uncertainty lies over whether the story can stay afloat for more than a few episodes. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... Given a boatload — yes, I said it — of fine performances and an attractive milieu, it remains very much worth watching even when it feels like the writers are depending on your inattention or forcing their characters to act improbably in the service of a puzzle-plot that at times feels held together with string and tape and white glue. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

… Just tell me what the heck is going on and who these characters are, let me know them as people and, for heaven's sake, stop shouting at me: Like most viewers, I'll have my fill of being shouted at between now and Nov. 6 anyway. ... It doesn't help that in its failed effort to make sense, "Last Resort" seems to borrow from other, better shows, such as "Lost" and even "Homeland," not to mention submarine films like "Run Silent, Run Deep," any number of Vance Packard novels and "Lord of the Flies." Ultimately, though, maybe it's most like "Gilligan's Island," but with more laughs.

The Washington Post says:

... complicated and frankly outrageous … “Last Resort” is a real stretch for those of us Cold War babies who were raised on horrifying doomsday dramas, where the prospect of one bomb launch meant instant annihilation and permanent winter. It’s an adrenalin-doused premise that is handsomely executed, but it feels like we get to Defcon 2 way too fast.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... On paper, this drama from executive producer Shawn Ryan ("The Shield") sounded like fall's best bet. In execution, it's intriguing and flawed. … a military contractor rep (Autumn Reeser) has a particularly painful-to-watch scene. But the relationship between Braugher's captain and his XO (Scott Speedman, "Felicity") is nicely drawn. …

The Denver Post says:

... even the great Braugher may have a tough time holding this unwieldy drama together. …

The Boston Globe says:

... All of the material crammed into tonight's episode is both intriguing and tensely directed (by Martin Campbell, "Casino Royale"), raising a host of strong possibilities for the show's future. …

USA Today says:

... Admittedly, the prospects of TV survival for Last Resort grow a bit less likely next week, with an off-kilter second episode that crosses from hyperbole to hysteria. But Thursday's more-promising launch of this taut conspiracy/adventure carries off one of the season's riskiest and most intriguing premises in much more promising fashion …

Variety says:

... the opening hour is crisp, tense and full of possibilities, arming the show with considerable storytelling artillery as it navigates these treacherous waters. … the second hour proves a bit of a mess, and while still watchable raises concerns "Last Resort" could begin taking on water quickly.…

8 p.m. Thursday. ABC.

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Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:10 a.m. CST

    was a bit silly

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    but we'll see.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:12 a.m. CST

    the pilot was phenominal

    by saintsaucey

    Gonna be a great series with a long shelf life.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:28 a.m. CST

    if you dont enjoy it, dont continue to watch it

    by palewook

    i'm a bored with conspiracy shows, but i found the acting in last resort to be solid enough i will continue to watch for now.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:43 a.m. CST

    I'm watching this because I'm objectively pro-traitor

    by FluffyUnbound

  • but some of the questions Herc already addresses, are the sorts of questions that need to be dealt with very quickly in the show, or what little credibility it has will be strained and broken.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Equator dancing

    by FredipusRex

    Yeah - it's called the Line-crossing ceremony. Different boats have different traditions, but skits, follies, etc. are part of the process. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line-crossing_ceremony

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Do they call the chief of the boat COB?

    by LoopyDAVE76

    Now, COB!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:36 a.m. CST

    It'll flash backwards and sideways for soap opera.

    by kabong

    There ain't going to be any going "rogue."

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST

    The pilot is available at cbs.com

    by Dkev00

    I found it enjoyable and a lot better then that fuckin Revolution.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Credibility Knock 1,035,455

    by jemagee

    Doesn't take much to figure out what network a show aired on (here's a hint, Persons UnKnown did not air on ABC)

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    @Dkev00

    by jemagee

    The pilot for an abc show is available at cbs.com? That's cool

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST

    SeaQuest DSV 2012...

    by dj_bollocks

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Wish they would bring The Unit back

    by seagrass

    Four seasons wasn't nearly enough.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Crossing the Equator.

    by tailhook

    Every boat tends to have its rituals for crossing the equator(which can get very elaborate), that part is true. But given the cramped situation and nature of the beast, i'd imagine it would be a lot more subdued than what you saw there. The last thing you want on a sub, unless you're in very friendly waters, is to blast loud music ship-wide and have everybody essentially leave their station unattended.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:29 a.m. CST

    if it wasn't a drama

    by jon pertwee

    i could see it becoming 'gilligan's island with a nuclear sub'

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:33 a.m. CST

    They refused to bomb Pakistan????

    by Smerdyakov

    I could see refusing to bomb London....but Pakistan?

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:39 a.m. CST

    At least its not a damn cop procedural...

    by Dan

    Looks like LOST only good!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:54 a.m. CST

    So, this is like the submarine from World War Z?

    by Smerdyakov

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Credibility?!?!?!?!

    by Tom Ward

    the pilot frequently strains credibility. How did that hotheaded, mouthy and downright obnoxious Chief of Boat (Robert Patrick) manage to rise to such an important position in the U.S. Navy when he keeps needlessly pissing off his superiors? And would an army sergeant cut off the phone line Grace’s dad Admiral Shepard (Bruce Davison) is using, only to let Shepard leave his office without incident? What’s to stop Shepard from talking to the press about what appears to be a White House coup? uhhh, those weren't army that cut of the Admiral's call, its was Marines. And believe me - Navy Vet here - Master Chiefs, which is what Robert Patrick's character's rank is, do not make it to that rank by always kissing the officer's asses; although yes, as COB he should have respected Lt. Shepard's rank, but he was dead on in reminding Chaplin of the Navy Regs, because as a Master Chief, he probably would've been in longer than the captain. As for what's to stop Adm. Shepard from talking to the press - nothing in the TV world, but if you're searching for credibility, a Courts Martial would definitely stop him from doing that. The show took a lot of "hollywood" liberties, but a lack of credibility isn't one of them.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Was it a bit over-top? Sure. Was it fucking awesome? YES!!

    by zillabeast

    I could care less about the realism factor. It's TV, it's entertainment, and it kept me glued to my screen for 43 minutes. I really do hope subsequent episodes can keep up with the pilot. LAST RESORT is the best new network hit since FRINGE premiered.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Re: above, *could be

    by zillabeast

    "is the best new hit" might be a bit strong. It's just a pilot. I have this rule that episode 4 is always the best indicator of a series' long-term potential. I guess I'll have a more focused opinion in a month.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 2:06 p.m. CST

    how can they stretch this concept over multiple seasons?

    by Titus05

    lots of filler is my guess

  • The timeslot was the LEAST of their problems.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Why watch the pilot? Three words: Autumn Reeser strips.

    by Cash907

    Nothing more needs to be said.

  • Okay, maybe it won't live up to BSG standards, but it looks promising.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:14 p.m. CST

    I wish this was real.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    And the people seceding were all located in Texas.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Loved that pilot!

    by Judge Briggs

    Had me hooked ... just like The Shield and Chicago Code (fucking ridic it got canned so fast) ... I work in the intelligence community and with former SEALS and Rangers... I can't wait to hear what they think of this show ... (I am sure they'll laugh it off) ha

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:54 p.m. CST

    LA

    by MegaBeth

    Looks like shit. A fast attack sub would end their little adventure in about 10 seconds.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:07 p.m. CST

    LA

    by MegaBeth

    Cancelled in 5 episodes.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:59 p.m. CST

    As much pathos as a mid-range episode of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

    by Nintendarth

    Guaranteed Cancelled! Bye-eye!

  • They had NO sparkle.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Good thing metal never corrodes or strains.

    by Nintendarth

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Good thing there's enough food to last forever.

    by Nintendarth

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Good thing there's bathrooms everywhere.

    by Nintendarth

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Good thing they'll never need medicine.

    by Nintendarth

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Atomic batteries to power - turbines to speed - SO REALISTIC!

    by Nintendarth

    Pass.

  • * A virus/something in the water causes everyone to go blind/go crazy/get sweaty-looking and rub their hands together to indicate infection. * an underground fight ring breaks out and someone you wouldn't expect to see getting gritty & real (captain?) has to enter the ring to show his stuff old-school style. * a con-artist begins making trades with everyone on the island to his profit & everyone else's denigration with vital supplies * the group gets stuck in one particular part of the island to avoid the budget of having to travel around * a young crewmember is injured in a cave-in after discovering a mysterious cavern that might contain a vital resource * the group must decide on how it will handle justice when a crime of passion involving a hub-but-not-essential character threatens to tear the island apart * WAR! someone wants to secede from the secessionists & form his own group with a darker, more vigilante-driven agenda * TREASON! someone wants to set off the missiles & will stop at nothing to succeed at his own sinister agenda. He'll have a magical laptop/ipad/iphone and will have mysterious contacts who will turn out to be Big Pharma or an Evil Businessman who is secretly the puppetmaster of the entire thing - and he's working with both the US AND PAKISTAN! Season - Series - Finale. Here's my suggestion. I have no idea if any of these events will take place. I suspect they ALL will take place within the first season. I would love to see people print out this message and keep it by their tvs and check off each episode as it happens. See how many I can get right. Think of it as LAST RESORT bingo before the entire production is wiped off the face of the television schedule for a new romcom family faux-documentary.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Oh, and for the record -

    by Nintendarth

    If the series can go an entire season without ANY of those plots, it may stand a chance. Doubtful, though. Has it hit any by episode 2? I haven't watched.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 12:24 a.m. CST

    I liked it.

    by Truxton Spangler

    Easily the best of the new drama pilots I've seen thus far. Revolution is on let's-just-see-how-convoluted-this-can-get probation, and Vegas?--I hope they give Quaid more to do than scowl for 40 minutes every week. Yeah, it's strains credibility and had its over the top moments, but unlike say...Revolution (with the exception of Elizabeth Mitchell), the cast is good. Braugher has enough gravitas to make you follow him, even if he might be crazy. It seems like an expensive show, though, so unless the ratings are good, I hope they have an endgame in mind just in case.

  • Something more in the look of BSG would have served this show well, or at least LOST. But 'generic tv drama look #2' felt lazy. Hopefully they do a good job developing the characters. Braugher is great but everyone else feels very 1 dimensional so far. I liked the pilot though, and pilots are often weak even for good shows (though there are a few exceptions)

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 8:31 a.m. CST

    As long as there are NO smoke monsters....

    by Dan

    Or Dharma iniatives that make zero sense in the big picture.....

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 10:47 a.m. CST

    am i the only one who cheers when pakistan was bombed?

    by Rakesh Patel

    Decent enough pilot although the equator dance just seemed god damn awful. Some bland and predictable characters, setting up the different groups and factions. I think scenes from the US as opposed to the island will probably become tiresome in the long run. As always sterling work from Andre Braugher Pilot did a good job to make me keep watching. let's hope they can keep it up. Martin Campbell I still will not forgive you for ruining Green Lantern

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 10:47 a.m. CST

    For fuck's sake, Herc.

    by Zarles

    Do you do ANY research on ANY part of what you're saying before you write these? You sound like an old person trying to figure out YouTube. zodlovesmaude, your mother makes zero sense in the big picture. Except when she has my dick in her mouth, that is. So every Tuesday night, basically.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Braugher's character isn't exactly sympathetic...

    by matineer

    although he's a great actor. After his attack on Washington I suppose he'll be hunted down by every US military unit worldwide, regardless of consequences. What's with that new CO's assessment of ship's condition, "We have damage." It's a miniseries idea to me. To each their own.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 12:29 p.m. CST

    On the Beach for Seven Days in May: The Series

    by MGTHEDJ

    7 Days in May: Some type of coup is taking place in D.C. because POTUS is seen as a traitor. A military action is ordered. One man stops it. Kurt Douglas in the original, Forest Whitaker in the 1990's TV movie remake, Andrea Braugher in this one. But how are they going to stretch it out for 5 years? They form an alliance with NATO? OZ and the Kiwis? Then it becomes On The Beach. I'll stay with it for now. Nothing else on at 7pm I must watch in real time.-----later-----m

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST

    So, wait, they turn a nuclear sub into an all-inclusive resort?

    by Royston Lodge

    Where do I sign up!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    zodlovesmaude

    by bender

    Of all the things in LOST that confused you THAT was it? The DHARMA Initiative? Did also have a hard time understanding that the show was set on an island? And will people quit bringing up LOST anyway. The only thing the two shows have in common is that their both set on an island.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:05 p.m. CST

    *did you

    by bender

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST

    bender95 - Oh hell no...

    by Dan

    Just the first one popped into my head... too much shit to mention from that overrated fuck pile.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:40 p.m. CST

    zarles - Good one, Skippy...

    by Dan

    Now get off the computer before your dad comes in and beats the piss outta you.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:03 p.m. CST

    For the record zodlovesmaude

    by bender

    Both things you mentioned have answers. Most of the unanswered questions aren't that hard if people would use their brains to discuss them rather than bitch about not having everything spoon fed to them.

  • I mean, that show was on an island. Clearly any island show is comparible to this.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Also zod, if it's overrated why did you watch all of it?

    by bender

    Otherwise you obviously wouldn't be complaining about the mysteries that may or may not have been answered. That would be stupid.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:35 p.m. CST

    Nintendarth, those questions tend to go away once they reach the island.

    by FluffyUnbound

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:14 p.m. CST

    And once again Hollywood shows its total ignorance of ANYTHING military

    by Raptor Jesus

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Lost .....

    by Dan

    I watched it liking it at the time, but it most of the time it bored me. The characters became dull and the show has nothing memorable for me now. I grew to dislike it...the reveals were of no consequence to the story, most of the time... Man in black was the smoke monster...big deal. With all build-up and jerking around, it amounted to pretty much what I figured the ending to be... As it stands now, the show has zero re- watchability. I can't think of one stand out episode like say "Battlestar, Buffy, Angel, Star Trek, Clone Wars, X-files.... any of the solid genre series; something that I will pull on in need a good genre fix. Last Resort may not even last that long or be any good, but I like what it's started. It doesn't have to be dense and cryptic to be "good" or get fellatio by the critics.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 1:20 a.m. CST

    Clone Wars ?

    by Phategod2

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 10:41 a.m. CST

    @theconsultant

    by Nintendarth

    The thought of Pakistan being nuked was pleasing to me, as well. It's full of some of the most evil fuckers on the planet, and its government deliberately shielded the worst mass-murderer alive in the 21st century.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 10:43 a.m. CST

    @bender95, wrong wrong wrong

    by Nintendarth

    There are two things in common between LAST RESORT and LOST - even admitted by the people making the show. One is that it takes place on an island. Two is that studios and networks are OBSESSED with finding another merchandise-ratings-geek trifecta they can bilk for huge amounts of money.

  • LOST and Last Resort (in the context of the shows themselves) have one thing in common. It's like how people compare Breaking Bad and The Wire when the only thing those two shows have in common is that they both involve drugs.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 10:52 a.m. CST

    zodlovesmaude

    by bender

    Your opinion of the show is fine. But quit saying all the mysteries added up to nothing blah blah blah. That is incorrect. What do you mean "Man in black was the smoke monster...big deal" That reveal came in the same episode he was introduced. You're acting like he was around for a long time before they revealed that. Seriously, have you even seen this show?

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Sorry, an episode after

    by bender

    MIB was introduced. In the season 6 premiere.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 8:12 p.m. CST

    I LOVED this.

    by I Hope You Die

    Yes, it strains credibility and you can nitpick all day, but it's entertaining. I'm not going to worry whether some minor item was feasible in a show where the premise is as ridiculous as it is awesome. The show works by not holding back. In the first episode we saw a country get nuked and a nuke launched on the US. This show could only be better if it turns out the conspiracy in Washington has occult or alien origins.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Am I supposed to be confused?

    by CherryValance

    lol I am. I don't get protocol and all that so I got confused between the different groups in the sub and Robert Patrick did something bad I guess but I missed it. I dunno. And why was that guy crying? He said it was his fault but I don't get why. Maybe that's later. I dunno. It seems good.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 10:25 p.m. CST

    If they hadn't nuked something, I'd have quit after the pilot

    by tangcameo

    I didn't expect someone else to nuke Pakistan after they refused. And didn't think Det. Frank Pembleton would set off a nuke off the US East Coast. The government will probably blame Pakistan for that one. Seeing the mushroom cloud go up beyond the White House and out past Lady Liberty reminded me of all those 80s WW3 movies and tv movies (Miracle Mile, The Day After, Countdown To Looking Glass). And why do I get the feeling the FBI just added me to a list for typing the previous paragraph. LOL