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by Justin Krajeski
September 20, 2012 11:57 AM
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7 Things We Learned About 'Last Resort' From Creator Shawn Ryan: 'This isn’t a show about Democrats versus Republicans'

Scott Speedman, Robert Patrick and Andre Braugher in 'Last Resort' Mario Perez/ABC
The new drama "Last Resort" -- yes, the one with the submarine -- revolves around the naval crew of the USS Colorado as they find themselves pitted against their own country after questioning orders to launch a world-changing nuclear attack against Pakistan. It isn't long before they’re stuck on an uninhabited island, but don’t leap to any conclusions about the series just yet -- this is no "Lost." In fact, creators and executive producers Shawn Ryan ("The Shield," "Terriers") and Karl Gajdusek ("Trespass," "Dead Like Me") spent a good chunk of their conference call with journalists this week discussing just what "Last Resort" is and what it isn’t. One thing that's certain -- it's set to premiere on ABC on Thursday, September 27th at 8pm.

What do you need to know about "Last Resort" before watching? Below, you’ll find a few of the most noteworthy insights from the call.

"This isn’t a show about Democrats versus Republicans"

"Last Resort" is not interested in supporting a political party. Ryan maintained that the show doesn’t endorse a political agenda, despite some critics’ view that "Last Resort" has injected a dose of Tea Party politics into the fall lineup. "This isn’t a show about Democrats versus Republicans," he said. Instead, the show will tackle the notion of how easy it is "to think that you can do better than the guy in office and the guy running against the guy in office," and the reality that it’s never so elementary.

Shawn Ryan is very sensitive about "Lost"/"Last Resort" comparisons. "First of all," Ryan joked, "our title is 'Last,' so that's obviously very different from 'Lost.'" Ryan and Gajdusek both accepted the superficial similarities between the shows, while refuting that they manifest themselves on a deeper level. "If I don't like to repeat myself, you can imagine that I don't like to repeat others," Ryan added, admitting to having been a huge "Lost" fan when it was on air. His knowledge of "Lost," it seems, allows him to ensure that "Last Resort" is vastly different: "When an idea comes up [in the writers room], I'll be the first one to say 'well, they did something similar to that on 'Lost' so we can't do that.'" 

Even the island, probably the most blatant parallel between the two ABC shows, means something different for the characters. "The island on 'Lost' was really a purgatory for the characters," he said. "For our characters, the island is more of an oasis." And Gajdusek added that while "Lost" was very much a mystery, "Last Resort" is less of 'whodunit' and "more of a 'how will these people survive?'"

There will be lust. Scott Speedman's character, Sam, is a happily married man despite the distance between him and his wife. Never fear, Groaning "Felicity" Fans of the World: Speedman will still manage to find himself shirtless and in the throes of temptation, according to Ryan. "In terms of love, romance, sex: all of that is part of the DNA of the show as well." While the characters of "Last Resort" may have bigger (figurative) fish to fry, Ryan conceded: "When you find yourself caught on an island under incredible circumstances -- where you know you might die at any moment -- things happen." 

There will be violence. If you're not tuning in to see a military-grade tumble in the sheets, "Last Resort" will have plenty else on offer as well. The show is fueled by three major plot engines, the first being "Dangers from the outside, people... who are looking for ways to neutralize the submarine or neutralize [the characters]," the second "the indigenous population on the island," and the third, "people on the ship itself... they'll be dealing with some internal dissent."

…And there might be an apocalypse. Some people have been asking if "Last Resort" falls under the genre of "post-apocalyptic." Ryan said, "No, good god, no! We're nowhere close," adding, slyly, "Now is it pre-apocalyptic? Could it be heading that way? Well, we'll see."

There's a character for you -- and you, and you, and you. One of the show's perks is its ensemble cast, among them the great Andre Braugher ("Homicide: Life on the Street"), the aforementioned Speedman and Daisy Betts ("Persons Unknown"). "There are very different point of views represented on this show," Ryan said. "We've got ten series regulars... and I think we've got great arcs for all of them. if you invest in one of those ten, that character is going to have a great storyline certainly within the first 13 episodes that we've plotted out."

There's nothing like this on television. Despite comparisons to "Lost," and the serialized nature of "Last Resort" that can also be found in other ABC dramas like "Revenge," and "Grey's Anatomy,"  Ryan established early on in the call that "there's nothing like this on TV now or in the recent past. You're not going to mistake our show for another one."

"Last Resort" is currently filming its sixth episode, and its premiere is set for Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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2 Comments

  • Hannah | September 25, 2012 7:13 PMReply

    As the other commenter mentioned, Last Resort may not be realistic, but it sounds like it could appeal to just about anyone. Even if it is different than Lost, my mother, a huge Lost fan, has it on her must-see list. My boyfriend, a military fan, is excited for the Navy intrigue, and I’m hooked on the character drama and romance you mentioned. I’ll be working at my office at DISH when the premiere airs in a few days, but my Hopper DVR has Primetime Anytime, so it will automatically record all the prime time shows on the four major networks. I don’t have to worry about setting a timer, and my mom and my boyfriend will be happy with the entertainment when they come to visit.

  • Zaphoid | September 23, 2012 3:35 PMReply

    It must be hell to be an actor and to have signed up for this ridiculous spurge (or should that be "spewage"?).

    There are literally too many falsehoods in this one hour to list but the main one, and the one that supersedes all others are the actions of the captain and crew, particularly the Chief of the Boat. There would never, ever be questions directed at the captain as he was carrying out orders. And a captain would never, ever ignore or question his orders.

    Submarine crews, especially those on Boomers (ballistic missile carrying subs) are among the most rigorously selected and examined people in the military. To show the crew in this manner is demeaning to real crews and the Navy at large.

    This show depicts the U.S. Navy's submarine service as accurately as Star Trek depicted space travel. The only thing missing was the giant green hand.

    It isn't even good science fiction or plain old drama. Just junk.

    Now, on to your review above.....several mistakes and observations:

    The island is not uninhabited. It is occupied by a drug lord (who speaks perfect English) and has a 'NATO' radar station (there is no such thing) run by (wow, this is going to be difficult) a geeky guy and a drop-dead gorgeous girl (what, no actual 'NATO' military people?).

    The crew of the sub is laughable. Not one realistic representation in the bunch. Nice feature to add some T&A though. And an admiral's daughter at that - remarkable!

    Also nice touch to have the crew communicate through unencrypted voice and receive launch authorization through voice recognition from a one-time meeting some time ago. The captain would have been better played by Ming the Merciless.

    The author was correct that "there is nothing like this on TV currently". No other network would have put this spooge on the air - well, OK, maybe Fox or The CW.

    It never fails to amaze me how a poor writer can put a disaster like this over on the empty suits at the network.