Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek continue to build up TV’s biggest gamble this season – LAST RESORT.
People compare the show to LOST, but I prefer to think of the show as having no episodes involving Jack flying a kite and getting a tattoo.
The show is being pitched to press as a drama about a US nuclear submarine crew who refuse to fire their Trident nuclear weapons at a middle east country – however our take is the series will won’t see much in the way of submarines, and will (if the writers have the balls – and they probably do since they’re both crazy excellent writers) be more about how you create a society out of the situation, and the terrible pressure that will put upon the characters. Because the best TV comes from a place of pressure cooking characters until you see something terrible or brilliant. And the worst comes from SMASH. People compare LAST RESORT to LOST, but I prefer to think of the show as having no episodes involving Jack flying a kite and getting a tattoo (ah, the wilderness years of LOST, before ABC pulled the six season trigger). Plus, hey, LOST had a submarine and LAST RESORT has one with nukes – so advantage Ryan/Gajdusek.
…you can bet your residuals not all the natives are going to be happy about an invading force turning up with a nuclear weapon and the United States of America on their backs.
Jumping aboard LAST RESORT (don’t worry, Variety will out pun us about this show title) in the directors chairs are Kevin Hooks, Michael Offer , Chris Misiano, Lesli Linka Glatter, Adam Arkin, Gwyneth Horder Payton, Billy Gierhart (Terriers! The Shield!), Clark Johnson, Paris Barclay and Steven Depaul. Martin Campbell already directed the pilot episode, which the network plan to air unedited.
So, what do we want from the direction? If the writers write the ultimate cock fight scene – which given the stakes the show, they kinda should – we want tension, sweat, and steadicam into peoples faces. And, hey, Hawaii isn’t too ugly and the cast won’t break any camera lens with ugly, so let’s see the island too.
The show certainly has the writers, directors and cast to go places, anyway
Staff writers entering the fray (and by fray I mean air conditioned writers room, they can imagine the fray) are Ned Vizzini, and David Wiener.
So, what elements does the pilot set up for the writers to mine? The good news is this; lots. Not much is revealed about the islanders, but you can bet your residuals not all the natives are going to be happy about an invading force turning up with a nuclear weapon and the United States of America on their backs. Then there’s a small matter of establishing social order and, well, a society that works for everybody involved. Or at the very least doesn’t lead to civil war, because the stakes on that island are clearly too high for a civil war too… On second thoughts. Yeah. Pressure cooker these suckers up.
Not everything is particularly clear from the pilot – for example, it wasn’t really clear for me who I was supposed to actually be rooting for (or focused on, may be a better phrase), or who was the protag. But that’s good news, because – hey – episode 2.
The show certainly has the writers, directors and cast to go places, anyway. The show is a format which will very clearly attract international sales as it’s international in scope, and the pilot genuinely feels like that god-awful phrase ‘event TV’ for a change, so ABC will presumable promote the hell out of it. (Memo to ABC: you’re against BIG BANG, and you have no lead in – so big bang the shit outta this with your promotion).
Andre Braugher commands this page, yes?
The cast is loaded with secret and not so secret weapons, too. Andre Braugher could read the phone book and I’d be crying every time he said a surname like “GUN” or “HOSPITAL”. Dichen Lachman did both two seasons of Joss Whedon’s DOLLHOUSE - in season one, she got to do some interesting things, but wasn’t terribly used. By season two, Joss Whedon and writer friends were throwing scenes from attempted rape to murder to comedy her way, liberally and with painful glee. She has range, and in the LAST RESORT pilot her character chuckles along in a bar she owns, presumable setup for romantic intrique with a network TV handsome fellow. If episode 13 doesn’t finish with her character holding a gun at Andre Braugher’s head while every other character holds a gun pointing at her head, the writers weren’t paying attention.
LAST RESORT starts on ABC in a few months time. If Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek play their cards right in this high stakes game of writing poker, they may blow our minds. And the minds of some characters.
Catch a preview trailer, which spoils loads, below – you spoiler fiend, you.
Responsible for the day to day management of End Of Show, and co-hosting the radio show & podcast. Kevin once stopped a News Corporation employee from stealing Joss Whedon’s shoes at an aftershow party.