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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Here at Command Central, not so much with the hilarious. More with the 'What the Hell am I Doing'"
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November 16 2012

ABC cancels 'Last Resort'. The show was created by Shawn Ryan and featured Dichen Lachman as a series regular.

Bummer for those concerned. But to be honest, I left a few episodes in. I was trying to stick with an episode that was not engaging to me at all, when suddenly a character was steering a boat that was moving straight by steadily and widely pulling the rudder back and forth. Since no one involved apparently cared enough about not being so obviously fake-looking, I stopped caring about watching. Never went back.

This is pretty much my favorite new show this season! oO

edit: oh great, 666 Park Avenue has also been canceled ... the other new show I really enjoyed...

at least they're airing all the remaining episodes.

[ edited by D-e-f- on 2012-11-17 00:39 ]
b!x, I agree with you the show has had its fair share of issues. There's a great core concept there, but a little too much going on, and the show never quite figured out the correct balancing act.

For instance, I still haven't figured out what purpose Dichen's character is supposed to serve - she's literally only interacted with one guy for 95% of her screen time. What's the point? I love Dichen, and she's been very good, but I'd much rather be focused on Braugher (who has been EXCELLENT throughout) and the sub stuff.

Still bummed, though. It's a lot better than most of the other new shows this year, and given some time I think it could have been really great.
The episode from last thursday of Last Resort was pretty cool it was an out of sequence drug episode. But I figured that a military show that could be seen as anti-USA had a very limited audience.

Also agree with D-e-f- on the 666 Park Avenue show that it's sad the are both cancelled although I saw 666 Park Avenue as a weaker version of American Horror Story.

Both were serialized which is the only type of shows I really enjoy as then I can live in the world longer.

On the topic of American Horror Story does anyone know if Tim Minear is still writing for that show? When I saw his name in the credits that's when I really had faith in that show.
Darn. :( I liked that one. Like JAG, it knew to have a believable US military man, you needed to hire a Canadian. ;)

Yes, Tim is still with AHS and I like it even more this season.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2012-11-17 01:02 ]
On the topic of American Horror Story, that show has been renewed for a third season!
The thing is though, it often takes a series to "get it together". I mean, look at Buffy Season 1. The writing wasn't quite there, the performances were awkward, the fight scenes were rough (and not in a good way), and it was a little here and there - not saying it wasn't better than most things out there, but still. Season 2, all those things pulled together to create BUFFY. Firefly is the exception that proves the rule (OK, so there's a few that prove the rule, but not *lots*). :-)
Bet my dad's gonna be thrilled - not! - with this news, since he watches both shows.

I'm personally more disappointed that about Last Resort since the basic idea (what happens when the The Order is given...and there's a serious chance it's in error or for nefarious reasons) and cast were big selling points. Yeah, reality would have people like Braugher and Speedman just complete the order and launch the nukes (according to some Navy guys I'm acquainted with) and let the chips fall; same thing would be the same for Air Force crews in charge of silo-based ICBMs: you get the "Fire!" order and target coordinates, and you carry out your duties. Period. Still...a good show that was finding its feet is getting canned :(
There have been some really nice bits in Last Resort so I'll miss it, but I'm not passionate about it. Part of its problem. I think if it had gotten the extra 9 eps I might've reached that passionate level. I don't blame anyone, but 8 o'clock Thursday leading into Grey's definitely not a great spot for military show. Also, ABC kept pushing Scott Speedman as the hottest guy in 2 oceans while I kept yelling "More Daniel Lessing, morons!" ;)
A show that could be interpreted as "anti-USA" could definitely find an audience. You do know what Homeland is about, don't you? Americans aren't mindless drones. This show had a limited audience because it was flat out atrocious. The plots were increasingly baffling and outrageous and I think the drug episode last week was one of the most boring. It was too clever for its own good. It wasn't that interesting and the out of order plot telling was hard to follow after the third or fourth jump in time.

Overall, I just didn't think the show was good. It had potential but spent too much time dawdling. I didn't care for most of the characters and didn't even know most of their names. Dichen's character had no purpose.
I personally have really loved Last Resort, however it has always struck me as based on more of a TV mini series concept than a multi-season arc. I love how it takes a realistic look at global politics and warfare. Yeah, the scenario itself requires a certain jump in logic, but the questions it raises about nuclear warfare and the current world order have been quite fascinating.
Frankly the scenario probably did make a lot of the typical primetime network TV audience uncomfortable, as it depicts a rogue U.S. government. Homeland is on premium cable, which doesn't require as large an audience for a show to survive. In the end, I think Last Resort has been a bit TOO good at asking hard questions for its own good. Network TV viewers want comfort food, like "The Big Bang Theory" or "Grey's Anatomy," not shows that remind people how fragile our world actually is.
But like I said, I think the extreme tension at the heart of the show's plot would be difficult to sustain over multiple seasons. Hopefully it can be effectively wrapped up with a good sense of closure in the remaining six episodes.
I had high hopes for the show but it wasn't very good. In fact, it felt absolutely silly in places. America nukes two cities in Pakistan and everyone in Washington carries on as normal five minutes afterwards? Woeful plotting with a childlike view of geopolitical affairs.
I'll watch anything starring Andre Braugher and I'll watch anything written by Shawn Ryan. And LAST RESORT completely met my expectations. It's the first series since HOMICIDE that I thought has really used Braugher to his fullest. Scott Speedman has really surprised me. I always saw him as a generic pretty boy-type, but he's largely held his own opposite Braugher. Plus the cast is full of some of my favorite supporting actresses from other shows: Dichen (obviously), Jessy Schram from VERONICA MARS and FALLING SKIES, and Autumn Reeser from THE OC.

I do think the show was a tough sell for ABC. All of the many many characters are various shades of gray. As an audience member, you don't even know if the lead, Braugher's character, is incredibly cunning or just a complete nutjob. I do feel like we are reaching a point where all serialized drama is going to be on cable and the broadcast networks will be the home of reality shows, sitcoms, and procedurals. That's basically the CBS model right now.

I think Shawn Ryan has had enough good/great shows canceled (THE UNIT, TERRIERS, CHICAGO CODE, and LAST RESORT) that now, under the Whedon Rule, he now officially qualifies to write the next big comic book film. (Or does that only apply if he's resurrected one of his canceled show as a feature film first?)
It was a good concept, but poorly executed. For once, the writing was okay, but it wasn't directed very well.

Another one falls. BTW, have any of you heard about, "The Last Ship"? It was another possible pilot floating around, thought it had a green light. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
What Simon said. It was pretty awful.
Frankly the scenario probably did make a lot of the typical primetime network TV audience uncomfortable, as it depicts a rogue U.S. government.

Funny, because I seem to recall that the X Files was quite successful in it's time (and I'm quite happy to see that Person of Interest seems to be chugging along.) Personally, rather than just jump to the itself-moronic conclusion that Viewers Are Morons I'm inclined to believe that most tv cancellations - barring the occasional provable instance of excessive Executive Meddling - happen as a result of the viewing body having a knack for taste where it
counts (at least until proven otherwise.)

ETA: Imo the first and greatest value of television is it's ability to entertain, and I'm sorry - no matter how inspired or enlightened a show's plot or concept may be, if it's creative staff can't find a way to make it entertaining enough to attract the audience available to them, then any blame should go to their flawed execution and not the viewer's expectations.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2012-11-17 13:29 ]
I just got tired of the island crap. Shoot the guy that keeps screwing everything up!
The cast was great and they a great central premise... but I didn't buy into it entirely. It's a shame but I'm sure everybody involved will do fine.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-11-17 18:11 ]
I found it intriguing but flawed (and occasionally hilarious, probably not intentionally). Will watch the remaining episodes, though, I want to see where this was going.
Yeah but in Person of Interest it's explored less and yes the X-Files was but that was a long time ago and a sci-fi show not a somewhat more realistic show. You can get away with a lot more in sci-fi than in drama.
Honestly, you could argue it was the most pro-American show on television; the Administration was shown to be corrupt, the sub crew believed in their country. The ratings showed it skewed heavily towards an older generation (it was outperforming The X-Factor, Glee, and most other shows in total viewers - it just did pretty badly in 18-49, which is where the advertising $$ is), and I know the audience had a heavy military community aspect as you could see it in the online comments. When certain cast members expressed thanks over the election, they got notes.
Yeah but in Person of Interest it's explored less and yes the X-Files was but that was a long time ago and a sci-fi show not a somewhat more realistic show. You can get away with a lot more in sci-fi than in drama.

And therein lies my point - it's the presentation that counts first and foremost, not the topic. Find a way to introduce your audience to something so that it's entertaining and you're good to go.
Even a show like 24, which featured its fair share of ludicrous plotting and over the top action, and was fairly pro-America-is-a-righteous-superpower brought up questions about torture and rationalizing it under the belief that the ends justified the means. And audiences enjoyed a show that portrayed its government agents firmly in the gray of morality, even if they had the right intentions most of the time.

I also don't buy that Homeland survives because it has a smaller audience and less expectation. It's a critically acclaimed show with many loyal fans. That's more than Last Resort ever received.

I want actors I like and writers I like to do well, so if it seems like I'm rooting the show to fail, I'm not. But it was just not a good show and the producers made too many mistakes along the way. It would have benefitted from being even more anti America.
I didn't even find myself enjoying actors that I actually enjoy. Braugher deserves more nuance. Patrick completely forgot how to act at all. Lachman frequently seemed to not really be there. I can't speak to how it was, but the few I saw felt like even the people in it hadn't quite bought into what they were doing. And, as Simon said, the geopolitics were mostly laughable, and for a crazy-ass premise like this, something has to be grounded. It never felt like anything was grounded.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-11-17 20:16 ]
In later episodes they eased Braugher down a notch and gave him some grounding, b!X. For me anyway. It's all subjective, but for me it wasn't a bad show - it just had a whole lot of characters and little sense of family between them. I pin the issues around connection to the audience. They did an Out of Gas style episode last week, and while technically great it just didn't hit the heights it deserved to reach.
I watched the first two episodes and thought the whole thing better than you could possibly expect given the utter absurdity of the premise, but ultimately I just kept thinking, "This whole show is ridiculous." I'm willing to suspect my disbelief as much as the next fella (I liked CHUCK, after all), but some ideas just won't sustain a series.
Well this is so weird, I had heard about this show being made (ie like making a pilot) but I never heard that it was on the air! Well, too late now....
I'm with Simon. The actors are talented, but that talent is wasted because the entire premise of the show is absurd.

It's too bad, really. Andre Braugher is excellent. I'd love to see a character like the one he's playing face off with Edward James Olmos's Bill Adama. Wait, hang on - why didn't they just do something like that?! I suppose it's too late to call Edward up and ask him to play the captain of one of those subs? Damn...
I said the premise was too thin to sustain a full series, and I followed it but it wasn't much,b ut I'll miss it.

(what I don't get is why _Revolution_, which is literally e ndless, alomst pointless, travelling, is so solid.)

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