C.J.'s Awesome Return to 'Top Chef' and the Not Awesome Cancellation of 'Last Resort'
As happy as I am about CJ coming back to Top Chef, that's how unhappy I am about ABC's choice to end Last Resort.
The rogue nuclear sub drama had all the ingredients to be a smash hit: a stupefyingly great cast including Andre Braugher and Robert Patrick, fantastic pilot direction by Martin Campbell (who directed the 2006 James Bond flick Casino Royale), and one of the best writers in television in Shawn Ryan.
What's more, it lived up to the tall expectations those pieces set. Braugher and Patrick were dynamite, both together and apart; Patrick's work in the most recent episode, Thursday's "Nuke It Out," was his best of the entire series to date, as his Master Chief Joseph Prosser dared to cross local drug dealers and paid the price. Meanwhile, Scott Speedman has grown in leaps and bounds since TV audiences saw him as Ben Covington on Felicity a decade ago, and there's also been a strong guest cast including Jay Karnes and Bruce Davison.
While the show isn't perfect - the romantic subplots fall flat more often than not - it's been a breath of fresh air, a great serial story in a landscape of procedurals. It's less about how the crew of the Colorado will save themselves than it is about watching them evolve through facing that challenge. Sam's loyal wife Christine (Jessy Schram) has been pushed to her limits trying to defend him, while commanding officer Marcus Chaplin (Braugher) has seen his authority questioned numerous times, and there are plenty of conflicted, desperate sailors caught up in something bigger than they can understand. It's thought-provoking, often stomach-churning television.
Now the question is will the writers have the opportunity to give the saga of the USS Colorado a proper conclusion? And having given us the two best television shows of the past two seasons - let us never forget the brilliance that was FOX's The Chicago Code - how does Shawn Ryan just keep drawing the short straw in TV land?
Last Resort will finish out its thirteen-episode run beginning Thursday, November 29 at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.