Nov 14, 2016

[TV] The Last Ship: Season 1

Streaming services like iFlix really make you re-think your television viewing habits. Apart from trying to chase after the latest seasons of your favorite shows, the content libraries of such services passively make you consider going back to older shows and see what they were all about. Throw in the ability to watch the program just about anywhere on almost any device and you end up with some interesting entertainment discoveries.

I wasn't sure what to think about The Last Ship when I first tuned in. It just knew it was a Navy show that had managed to go on for at last three seasons so far. I hadn't even noticed that they were proud of have Michael Bay as an Executive Producer, not that such a thing matters all that much to me.

And while the show's shares a lot with other global pandemic tales include recent hits like The Walking Dead, it at least has a clear direction forward in the form of the mission the crew embark on. It doesn't mean things are roses and daffodils, but at least they don't quite start thing without any hope of "salvation" as it were.

Synopsis: The Last Ship is a US action drama series created by Hank Steinberg and Steve Kane with Michael Bay as one of the Executive Producers. The story is based on the 1988 book of the same name written by William Brinkley.

The USS Nathan James and her crew start the series on a research mission lead by Dr. Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra), a paleomicrobiologist who joins the crew under false pretenses of research into birds. In truth they searching for older samples of a virus that was spreading across the world before the show. But of course at the onset of things, the virus breaks and turns deadly and manages to kill 80% of the global population, unbeknownst to the USS Nathan James and her crew.

Captain Tom Chandler (Eric Dane) manages to contact what's left of the US government and is ordered to do his best to protect Dr. Scott and ensure that a cure to the virus is found. Thus the USS Nathan James becomes humanity's last hope for survival. But other forces are aware of the Dr.Scott's presence on the ship including the remnants of other navies and governments.

What I Liked About the Show: Well when you have Michael Bay's name slapped on a project, I guess you need to meet certain expectations. And thus the show has some pretty stellar special effects and combat situations in the first few episodes that really push the limits of what one expects on television.

The show is crafted to be the sort of military porn that a lot of folks enjoy. I'll admit that I still have a bit of a soft spot for this sort of thing even though we're dealing with a weird fictional pandemic and how the world might deal with things.

What Could Have Been Better: The show has a lot of quirks that comes with many first seasons of shows including a lot of experimental plots and different directions to take things. Thus we have things like relationships between members of the crew that aren't quite allowed under regulations and the usual hijinks like the engines getting damaged and all that fun stuff. The show loves its tropes and this first felt like a test bed for figuring out what directions might work with the show.

But the non-twist at the end was rather disappointing and felt like a play straight out of The Walking Dead. I know such post-pandemic dystopia stories all have similar potential sources of conflict but I really wished we'd take a new direction with this show. But I guess the old plays are still reliable ones in the yes of executives maybe?

TL;DR: The Last Ship is still an interesting show and a pandemic tale with a nice focus on a military response to things. If you like big ships and microbiology, then this show is for you. Thus the first season manages a decent 3 interpersonal squabbles among the crew out of a possible 5.

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