Hey, remember that cop comedy Andy Samberg is doing? The one that's coming to us on Fox? From the mighty brains of Parks and Recreation’s executive producers Mike Schur and Dan Goor? Well, now it's also got Andre Braugher, who's the kind of guy you could wake up in the middle of the night, blindfold, drop in a burlap sack, drive to an abandoned field, make act alongside only animatronic Chuck E. Cheese creatures, and still get a pitch-perfect "tough cop oozing professionalism" performance out of. Which means all signs here point to "slay."
The temptation to compare television protagonists with their creators is usually one worth avoiding. After all, there's little evidence that David Chase has ever whacked anyone or indulged in overlong dream sequences. Even Louis C.K., to the best of my knowledge, has never actually slept with Joan Rivers. Still, it's hard to ignore the parallels between Captain Marcus Chaplin, the seething, speechifying lead of ABC's struggling Last Resort, and his authors, veteran showrunner Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit) and playwright Karl Gajdusek. [Ed.note: The usual disclosure: ABC and Grantland are both owned by Disney.] All three are confident, brash, and above all else, stubborn. Chaplin's unwavering commitment to an impossible cause is likely to get him killed; Ryan and Gajdusek's intransigence is merely likely to get them canceled. Either way, six episodes in, Last Resort is both a fascinating test case of the expansive, storytelling potential of television as well as a sobering reminder of the limits of the traditional network model. Like its simmering protagonist, the show has the potential to set the world on fire but, so far at least, it appears hopelessly outgunned.