Last Resort: Season 1 Review

creators: Karl Gajdusek & Shawn Ryan

channel: ABC

starring: Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser and Daisy Betts

genre: Action | Drama | Mystery

first aired: September 27, 2012

Many shows kick the bucket prematurely and for good reason. Other shows are unlucky to live in a day and age where ratings calculation are bogus and the new paradigm of streaming and DVR hasn't been yet taken into account. For some this show was a rare chance for a high concept geopolitical show to be on the air with mystery, conspiracy and a story of a dictator in the making. It may not have turned out the way we all wanted and sadly was scheduled for cancellation. Showing once again that big networks don't know the meaning of risk, diversification and TV production value.


A brand new nuclear submarine is off the coast of Pakistan and equipped with a new submarine stealth system. The sub is commanded by Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) and XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman). They receive orders to pick up a group of Seals from a secret mission in Pakistan and proceed as normal.

Right after pickup the sub is given orders to strike on Pakistan with a nuclear warhead. This order comes without provocation from the Pakistanis and from a secret backup channel of emergency. A channel only used when Washington gets destroyed or attacked. The sudden orders in combination with the location of the orders request sparks suspicion in Chaplin and demands to speak with someone in charge, in essence disobeying the order. The sub then immediately is attacked upon by the U.S. Air Force and required to submerge to protect itself. Despite of these events, Pakistan still gets hit by a nuclear strike.

The only remaining option for Captain Chaplin is to set port on a lonely island and call it home. He has to survive there with his crew in this new world order. From then on the sub runs into trouble with the locals, local mutiny, illegal pirate activity and most importantly a secret plot to take over the U.S. government. His decision to disobey orders has put them right at the middle of who's going to run the globe and raising the potential of a World War to commence.


With a high concept military conspiracy show on the air. You would think that the suspense of twists, big reveals and high stakes would catch any viewers attention. As the show was basically "Crimson Tide" on ecstasy. With global parties willing to obstruct and gain from potential catastrophic situations and not caring about the fallout they cause. How could this show not be intriguing and still not get a big enough audience?

Their are a lot of factors to why it got cancelled and big audience couldn't be maintained  The fact alone that plot lines didn't escalate a bit further, faster and maybe more violent is one. Having the show also on a network like the family friendly ABC made the shows existence even more difficult. As it would be impossible to provide the HBO or AMC level of drama and danger. Making the show rely much more on petty romances, silly sub plots and events where violence and rash decision making would most likely get people killed. Instead never amounting to a significant body count, probable conflict situations or even more serious and deadly repercussions to the island's inhabitants and the world political scene.

Concurrently without these issues, the show would have been doing fine. Being the satisfactory entertainment kick for military espionage and backstabbing that was indeed missing from TV. These kind of army shows usually are very tame and low budget (Army Wives, The Unit) and audiences in the past have shown that espionage and conspiracy sell (24). Unfortunately for "Last Resort it wasn't on a network such as FOX, HBO or FX, but on ABC.

What was so special about "Last Resort" in general and what it brought to the table was original political and military industrial complex insight and mystery that could have put the show right at the top. The idea of a madman on the trigger, playing war games with nations and making his own island nation. Is not only a great idea, but immediately leads to moments of incredible suspense and to a number of hypothetical outcomes reminiscent of films like "Fail Safe".  


Evidently now that the show is canceled, their might not be much reason to give it a shot. Though, if you wanted to see how the power play struggle of a rogue nuclear nation and the world's biggest superpowers would play out. Then this wouldn't be a bad choice, nor a terrible representation of it and not even for a second a waste of time in your daily entertainment consumption.

Personal Rating:

4 Stars.jpg

review by Paulaner

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