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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 berthed “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 suspected, would make the U.S.S. Colorado’s voyage a short one, and my suspicions were ultimately confirmed
I was far from convinced the “Resort” masterminds knew what they were doing, but at least I was willing to give its second episode a look. That’s more than I could say about “Charlie’s Angels” a year earlier.
... 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 …
... 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. …
… 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. …
... 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. …
… 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.
... 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.
... 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. …
... even the great Braugher may have a tough time holding this unwieldy drama together. …
... 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. …
... 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 …
... 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.…
CSI NY 9.x
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North and South: The Complete 1975 Miniseries
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