TNT delivered in the debut of their new show The Last Ship with stellar ratings. There were a recorded 5.3 million viewers for the pilot episode of the show on Sunday evening, June 27. If one includes the encore telecasts then there were 7.4 million viewers. The 5.3 million watching the premier set a record for the most-watched new series debut on cable television so far in 2014. Critics point out that Michael Bay is a producer of the show, which could draw in audiences. Bay is the producer of the Transformers series and the upcoming The Purge: Anarchy.
The Last Ship is centered around a military naval vessel that has been out to sea for months during what appears to be a top-secret maneuvering mission, but turns out to be for scientific purposes. On board the battleship are two scientists who have taken over the helicopter bay as their laboratory. Rhona Mitra from Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is Dr. Rachel Scott who is leading the scientific effort to find a cure for a horrible disease that has wiped out huge portions of the earth’s population. Scott has a helper, Dr. Quincy Tophet, played by Sam Spruell from Snow White and the Huntsman. Eric Dane, best known for his role as Dr. Mark Sloan on Grey’s Anatomy, is Commanding Officer Tom Chandler. Adam Baldwin from Independence Day and Firefly is the executive officer of the ship, Mike Slattery, under Chandler.
Commanding Officer Chandler and the crew have been in the arctic circle for four months in complete radio silence, and think they have completed their mission when they receive word from the Pentagon to stay in the arctic. This is because Dr. Rachel Scott spoke to higher authorities to continue gathering valuable microbes that could be the source of the deadly virus. But while out gathering samples, the doctor and the small crew on snowmobiles guarding her, are attacked by a group of Russian helicopters that are looking for the cure to the virus. After a firefight filled with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and the naval destroyer using its large five-inch caliber guns to take out the choppers, the men somehow take one of the Russians alive whose lasts words are “the cure.” Those kind of engaging fight scenes, filled with explosions that Michael Bay is known for, are the reason many tuned in to watch the debut of The Last Ship, and gave TNT’s new drama such stellar ratings.
Chandler then goes to Scott demanding to know what is happening aboard his ship. Finally Dr. Scott reveals that she is onboard to find a cure for a virus that originally broke out in Egypt seven months prior. Scott was looking for the primordial strain of the virus, which she believes was in the permafrost, which arctic birds were eating in. Those birds then became the carriers of the virus and spread it around the world. When The Last Ship left port in Norfolk Virginia, 4 months prior, the virus was at stage 2, limited to small clusters in Africa and Asia, now it is at stage 6, a full-blown global pandemic. 80 percent of the world’s population is infected.
The crew of the Nathan James is assembled and told what has happened to the rest of the world while they have been away at sea. Their orders from the President, who was formerly the Speaker of the House, third in line for the presidency, are to begin heading south for a bio-lab off the coast of North Carolina. The problem is The Last Ship needs fuel. Luckily they encounter an Italian cruise ship in the Atlantic. The virus has killed everyone aboard, but the crew of the Nathan James is able to scavenge food and fuel. They continue traveling southwest through the Atlantic to go back to America.
The episode ends with Commander Chandler and XO Slattery arguing over the direction the Nathan James should take. Chandler pulls rank and gives the crew an inspiring speech on their duty as possibly the last surviving members of the United States Navy, and perhaps the last hope of humanity. TNT’s The Last Ship looks to extend on the stellar ratings of its debut event with more drama in the upcoming episodes on Sundays at 9PM Eastern Standard Time.
By B. Taylor Rash