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Last Resort | TV Review

After a fairly disappointing summer blockbuster season at the movies, ABC is prepared to bring some of the action-movie magic to the small screen with...
Photograph: Craig Sjodin Last Resort
By Jessica Johnson |

After a fairly disappointing summer blockbuster season at the movies, ABC is prepared to bring some of the action-movie magic to the small screen with Last Resort, an intense and sprawling new drama from creators Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Karl Gajdusek (Dead Like Me) that's unlike anything you'll see on TV this fall.

The shows opens with a breathtaking sight: a raft containing a team of wounded Navy SEALs being rescued by a gigantic nuclear submarine that surfaces from the ocean beneath them. This ship is the USS Colorado and Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) is her captain. After rescuing the SEALs, the Colorado and her crew set about their normal business. Things quickly get serious when the ship receives an order to fire on Pakistan with their nuclear warheads. However, Chaplin and his second in command, Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) are suspicious that order has come through a secondary system rather than directly from Washington, D.C. Concerned about raining death down on a foreign country under dubious orders, Chaplin makes a call to ensure that they're sound. It is at this point that all hell breaks loose. The Colorado is soon targeted by another American ship. Chaplin and his men head to the small island of Sainte Marina where they commandeer a NATO station in an effort to broadcast their side of the story and keep the U.S. military from taking them out.

It's mind-boggling how much action and plot is packed into just the first episode of Last Resort, a pace which only continues in the following installment. Besides the men and women of the Colorado, the cast also includes residents of Sainte Marina and a few people in Washington, including Kendal's wife (Jessy Schram) and a tenacious weapons contractor (Autumn Reeser) with a vested interest in the Colorado's survival. In addition to concerns over who sent the initial order to fire on Pakistan, Chaplin must contend with dissension in the ranks brought on by a rivalry between Lt. Grace Shepard (Daisy Betts) and Chief of the Boat Joseph Prosser (Robert Patrick), as well as a local crime lord (Sahr Ngaujah) who's not too pleased the Navy boys are intruding on his territory.

If Last Resort has any fault, it may be that its ambition seems almost impossibly grand. With a cast so large and story that spans continents, it can often feel like watching a juggler who's just barely keeping all the balls in the air. But in the hands of a pro like Ryan, the risks that Last Resort takes seem like safe bets. And the experience of watching him manage a grand story can be unbelievable thrilling.

Last Resort airs Thursdays at 7pm on ABC.

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