The Last Ship, S1E1

Curious what people thought of the first episode of this Michael Bay-produced series.

Premise: after four months on a secret mssion in the Arctic, the crew of the US naval destroyer Nathan James discover that a) they’ve been left out of the loop on the news that some sort of supervirus has laid waste to most of the world’s population in their absence; b) the attractive but obnoxious female scientist on board has not in fact been studying arctic terns but has been desparately trying to find a cure. With the entire US political/military command structure gone, and with a renegade Russian military force after them, presumably for the cure (that doesn’t actually exist yet), the captain and crew of the Nathan James must figure out how to remain uninfected and operational until the scientist can come up with a vaccine.

OK, so I was kind of interested in the premise (from a William Brinkley novel I am not familiar with) and the production values are pretty high for TV. The Navy appears to be generously cooperating with the production, which can be good or bad, depending. I’ll set aside the implausibility of a highly contagious virus with a 100% fatality rate, as that seems to be standard for this sort of thing. Lord, though, did it ever get off to a cliched start. Here, I’ll break it down:

The good: fairly lavish production values for TV; Adam Baldwin (although admittedly he didn’t have much to do except salute in this ep); some attention paid to the logisitics of supporting a large vessel when supply lines have broken down; abundant military porn: Phalanx! Tomahawks! SH-60 Seahawks!

The bad: attractive but obnoxious female scientist; wise, all-knowing captain with the crinkly blue eyes; the contrived antagonism between these two; the ‘sciency’ bits are fairly ridiculous; Naval cooperation means they can’t take the plot very far in the anarchic direction that such a situation probably would devolve to; I think the baddies would be a lot more interesting if they were, say, French, rather than your usual mustache-twirling Russians.

Fun fact I learned from the show: the Marines apparently train their troops to shoot down helicopters from moving snowmobiles.

Bottom line: needs some non-chliched character development, and quick.

All comments welcome.

As a Navy guy, some of the dialog and scenes among the military are cringe worthy. That last scene with the Command Master Chief asking permission to salute made me throw up in my mouth.

And in my 27 years in the Navy, I’ve never utter the words “that’s an order” nor have I ever heard them spoken. Hollywood must think we say that twenty times a day.

The book which I remember reading a long time ago, put the ship in a post nuclear war environment was pretty good. This thing needs some work.

So, are they letting Baldwin be funny? Because otherwise I won’t bother.

When I first heard that TNT was going to do a series based on the book “The Last Ship” I was excited. I loved the book, although the author (William Brinkley) loved a good run-on sentence, because of the complex issues involved in having a small group of people survive an apocalyptic event.

Then I heard that Michael Bay was involved in it. Ugh.

Then I began seeing the previews. They really don’t seem to be following the storyline of the book at all except for these facts:
[li]There’s a ship[/li][li]It’s the last one[/li][li]It’s named the Nathan James[/li][li]uhhh, I think that’s it.[/li][/ul]

In the book:

[spoiler] It’s not a viral outbreak, it’s a nuclear war. There are NO EXPLOSIONS. There are no supplies waiting around. There’s no science solutions being worked on to cure anything.

Actually the majority of the book takes place not on the ship, but on an island they choose to begin rebuilding civilization on. There is no war, no action sequences, etc. [/spoiler]

Gah. How about the implausibility of a single scientist working in isolation managing to come up with a cure and/or vaccine (WHICH ARE NOT THE SAME THINGS!!) for a novel, presumably bioengineered, disease singlehandedly in anything less than a century or two?

But she has a portable lab in an aircraft hanger! Think Dr. MacGyver Smeghead!

There are plenty of shows I like where the acting isn’t great and the plots don’t always make much sense (Fringe and Falling Skies I’m looking at you) but they have characters I want to follow for some reason. This show, not so much. The two leads (the Scientist and the Captain) are awful and unlikeable. The captain looks like he walked right out of an '80s movie and onto the set. They both make it impossible to forget that you are watching a TV show.

I loved Rhona Mitra in Strike Back and coupled with Adam Baldwin means I will give this a long rope before I give up.

That being said, there were some corny lines but for an actiony TV show it wasn’t a terrible pilot. I am happy to hear that the cringe-worthy salute scene at the end is as dumb as in real life as it looked on the show.

One question for the Navy folks, are there really unmanned resupply depots floating in the ocean? Reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica, but felt like a badly made up plot device.

I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of Floating Autonomous Resupply Terminals (FARTs) in any ocean of the world.

That one was especially head scratchy to me. I mean from a dramatic standpoint, I get what they were trying to do there. It was the recycling of the end of A Few Good Men where the Marine tearfully salutes Tom Cruise and says there’s an officer on deck (which of course was trite and cliche 20 years ago).

But realistically? Asking for permission to salute the captain? Wouldn’t any officer or enlisted man just snap to it rather than asking?

I just wanted to jump on spifflog’s bandwagon. 20 years in the Navy, and that last scene was truly barfworthy. TV does not know how to do enlisted people. We are not all pomp like the Master Chief, and we are not all doofuses like the guy who falls down the stairs, knocks his mask off, and smears some dead guy’s blood all over his face:smack:

The action sequence in the beginning? Those helicopters are in no way going to be able to get near that ship. It has RIM-66M Standard medium Range SAM’s, capable of engaging a target 40 miles away. It also has Ballistic Missile Defense capability, although the scene where they see the nuke it looks like they can’t even track a Ballistic Missile

The only thing that they got right was the spiel that was announced over the ship’s 1MC(loudspeakers) when they went to general quarters. You often hear a ship go to general quarters, but rarely do they recite the whole announcement.

Yeah. I’m not a Navy guy, so maybe what follows below is plausible, but I cracked up when:

with all the other anti-aircraft capability they supposedly have, they used the five-inch deck gun to shoot down one of the attacking helicopters. I’m pretty sure they did it just to enable the shot of the empty shell casing clanging off the deck. Which, come to think of it, may be silly by itself. The gun is inside a closed turret. Do the casings just get dumped out on the deck like that?

We usually salute the Captain (at sea) the first time you see him each day. The second or additional time, you just walk past him, say good afternoon etc. But you’d never salute the CO on the bridge just because he didn’t something well such as maneuvering the ship out of a collision etc. You just wouldn’t. And if you did you’d get the international “time to wipe your nose” sign from a fellow Officer!

Everyone know this of course, but this MacGyver stuff of holding fuses, and going on search parties and such is also nuts. A good CO gets out of the crew’s way and let’s them do their job. He’s also not the Tactical Action Officer (TAO) but that’s another discussion.

No, there are not. I think that’s why in the book, the ship is nuclear powered.

There are pre-stocked ships in strategic locations, but they are manned, and they move occasionally.

These pre-positioned ships support a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). While there is some food there and some bulk fuel, it’s not at all conducive for surface ship support, and not intended for that.

The ship in the book also had nuclear weapons of it’s own; it’s not clear whether it does on the show. I wonder if that one nuke was just a freak event, or if there’s been a nuclear war on top of the pandemic. I’m guessing there’s been at least 1 or more regional exchanges in places like the Indian subcontinent, the Koreas, and the Middle East. Nuclear war would explain how quickly they managed to go from being able to watch TV broadcasts of the chaos & even make a few phone calls to dead air (then again so can bad writing). I just really want to know is this a 10 episode limited series, or does TNT intend to be an on-going thing like CBS did with Under the Dome? I do not want to get sucked in like I did with the later.

Sorta like Last Resort but cheesier and the characters don’t seem as compelling. Luckily I read the thread first so I knew to avert my eyes during the bridge salute scene. I’m a bit nauseous just thinking about it though.

The dog is cool.

I never saw so much steely-eyed saluting in my life.

To be honest, the saluting started to look really stupid after a while. Like when you say a perfectly ordinary word like “bulb” over and over and it starts to sound really stupid. I never thought of saluting as ridiculous before, but it sure seemed that way on the show.

:: salutes and gazes determinedly into the camera ::

When I first joined the Navy, I was confused that people weren’t saluting each other all the time - this was the military, right? One of the main differences between military and civilians is the saluting, right?? Yeah, I know, but I was a dumb kid…

Anyway, I had no interest in seeing this show. My husband, who will suspend a lot more disbelief than I can, said he managed to watch about 5 minutes before turning it off. I think I decided to take a shower when it came on, and by the time I was done, he’d already surfed off to another show. He clicked back for the “Permission to salute” scene, and we pretty much knew the show was crap.

And now we’re seeing previews for the next episode with someone yelling “Fire the torpedoes!” Since my husband had served on both subs and surface ships, he explained that in reality, the whole process of targeting and firing torpedoes is very meticulous and boring and not good TV. And no one ever says “Fire the torpedoes!” - the commands are for specific torpedoes in specific sequences, depending on the mission.

Bottom line, people who do shows about the military generally don’t know about the military and they don’t care. And that’s why I pretty much don’t watch them if they’re trying to be serious. But I did like Down Periscope! :smiley: