The Last Ship: Insert Seasickness Pun Here

The Last Ship - Rhona Mitra
The Last Ship (Photo: TNT)

The Last Ship? More like… eh, I’ve got nothing.

Prior to the first commercial break1 of The Last Ship (Sundays at 9/8c, only on TNT) the following questions occurred to me, in order:

  1. Adam Baldwin’s in this? I love him, but his sci-fi-y shows never last. Not just Firefly – allow me to point all you wonderful people to the wonderful and yet criminally short-lived Daybreak.
  2. Why didn’t she say something in Arabic? How freaking hard would that have been to teach one sentence to the actress and subtitle it, and make the scene work better by having her comfort a dying patient in his own language?
  3. Why are all the CDC doctors British?2
  4. Is the *second* set of jargon on the screen supposed to be what makes me understand this is Very Important?
  5. Would the role of the captain have been better cast with Patrick Warburton?3
  6. “The hell is that woman doing?” Ha! I was just about to ask the same question, but in a less growly tone.
  7. I grant that it was incredibly useful that it had a guy with a bazooka on it, but where did that third snowmobile even come from?
  8. Do commandos really just fling themselves from moving helicopters? Yes, they’re badass Spetsnaz, but still…
  9. Who the hell made this thing? This show thing. Who made it? Is it based on a a book I’ve never heard of, one of those airport bookstore throwaways with a cover that looks a lot like the key art for this series?

Turns out kinda yes – The Last Ship was a 1988 novel about a U.S. Navy ship that avoided nuclear destruction by virtue of being in the middle of the ocean when the nukes4 started flying. The TNT series makes quite a few changes (plague of possibly natural origin, less complete destruction of the world) but the core conflict remains – a small group of survivors whose best option seems to be to stay in their floating home while they try to find a cure.

I’m not going to analyze this any further. This is a TNT production with a bigger budget, so the writing is competent if unremarkable, the plot sometimes becomes subservient to set pieces, and the actors really would like to take that line again. Oh, and the guy playing the captain (Eric Dane) is the least convincing anything I’ve seen in a while.

This show has all the nuance in things political or technological of NCIS, all the gravitas of Royal Pains. Wait until the season/series has had its run, then seek answers5 as to whether it became a hot mess, even by TNT standards. At best, it could be worth a binge watch whilst stuck in an airport.

  1. 14 minutes of non-stop action and excitement! is doubtless what they told the network.  
  2. Spoiler! Turns out one of them is secretly Russian, which is an even more hackneyed device than Suddenly Gay.  
  3. Trick question – the answer to that is always ‘yes’.  
  4. Some fired by them; kinda a brutally real look at the scenario.  
  5. Any answers! From anyone! Damnit, man, the answer *must* be out there because – humanity!  

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About Aaron Mucciolo 206 Articles
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