Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: Shawn Ryan's Last Resort Makes a Splash

The broadcast networks have more than 20 shows debuting this fall, including a Revolution-ary drama from J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke, a fresh take on the Green Arrow and a new comedy from Friends‘ Matthew Perry. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots.

First up on our list….

THE SHOW | ABC’s Last Resort (Thursdays at 8/7c)

THE COMPETITION | The Big Bang Theory/Two and a Half Men (CBS), The X Factor results show (Fox), 30 Rock/Up All Night (NBC) and The Vampire Diaries (The CW)

THE CAST | Andre Braugher (Homicide), Scott Speedman (Felicity), Robert Patrick (The Unit), Daisy Betts (Persons Unknown), Autumn Reeser (No Ordinary Family), Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse) and many others

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE SET-UP | Created by Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit) and Karl Gajdusek, Last Resort stars Braugher as Marcus Chaplin, the captain of a submarine that, after offering a ride to a team of tight-lipped Navy SEALs, receives orders to launch missiles at Pakistan. Given the directive’s sketchy origin, Chaplin elects to ignore it, at which point the USS Colorado becomes the hunted. Chaplin charts a course for safe-ish harbor until he and his crew can glean what has gone wrong in the rest of the world. Speedman plays Chaplin’s XO, Patrick the book-abiding Chief of the Boat and Betts a lieutenant trying to lose her label as “an Admiral’s daughter” and gain respect. On the dry land side of things, Reeser plays a military tech honcho who suspects the Colorado has been targeted by its own country.

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | We’re launching this year’s Fall TV First Impressions series with what I feel is poised to be this year’s best new drama, so its merits are many. Last Resort‘s premise, while reminiscent of the Tony Scott-directed Crimson Tide, is nonetheless compelling and is unspooled efficiently, affording insight into the varied personalities populating the Colorado’s close confines. The pacing of the premiere is steady with nary a lull, while the occasional spurts of speechifying — especially as the Colorado questions the attack order — are succinct and stirring. Among the performances, Braugher is every bit as commanding as his sub captain, Patrick’s character is looking like one we’ll love to hate and Reeser has enough spunk to drive Lou Grant mad.
Concerns, though few, include predictably angsty cutaways to Speedman’s wife (Falling Skies‘ Jessy Schram) back home and what the show — namely its intensity levels — will look like after the Coloradans make camp on a remote isle that serves as home to Lachman’s beautiful local and Sahr Ngaujah’s power-hungry “mayor.”

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Missiles launched by friendlies may be the last of Last Resort‘s concerns as it looks to make a splash opposite CBS’ hotter-than-ever 8 o’clock comedy block (where Big Bang now feeds into Two and a Half Men) and The X Factor (which could benefit from Britney buzz). And from FlashForward to My Generation to Charlie’s Angels and Missing, opening Thursday night has never come easy for ABC. Hopefully, Last Resort‘s arsenal of big thrills will keep it afloat long enough to “grab (ratings) sunlight,” as they say on ‘dem boomers.

Watch a video preview for Last Resort, then vote in our poll below.