Wednesday, September 27, 2017

DRAMA ROUNDUP: 'The Last Ship,' 'The Good Doctor' and 'SEAL Team' (September 24-30)

Various reviews from dramas for September 24-30, 2017:

TNT's The Last Ship - Episode 4.07 "Feast"
ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 1.01 "Pilot - Burnt Food"
CBS' SEAL Team - Episode 1.01 "Tip of the Spear"

In 2017, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage of various shows, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various dramas that aired new episodes from September 24-30, 2017. Enjoy!

The Last Ship - "Feast"
The search continues with a reconnaissance mission but things turn violent when an old foe resurfaces. Written by Hiram Martinez and directed by Bill Roe

I'm basically at the point with this season of The Last Ship where I appreciate some of the technical moments of action instead of really caring about the main plot. "Feast" is the big episode that reveals evil Peter Weller's villainous plan for the human race. It consists of the crew aboard the Nathan James watching an expository video of him noting his research while also perfectly summing up everything he aims to do. It's such a weird moment that doesn't play all that well. I don't really care about his one-note villainy this season. Nor can I really appreciate the elaborate shootout and bomb explosion that takes place at Giorgio's place. It's instead an incredibly silly moment because Omar simply shouldn't be alive. His story should have come to an end when he got shot in the back. The tease of his return was always imminent. But it mostly occurs in order to hinder the main plot for an episodic adventure. As such, it feels like there isn't a whole lot of actual story to the plot of this season. If it needs to be stalled in this way where Omar dies again but Giorgio miraculously survives without being captured, then there are some problems in the main narrative. Basically, I'm just glad that Danny and Miller have finally trimmed their horrible beards. Meanwhile, I just don't get why the Master Chief is being so stupid and not getting his apparent injury checked at. It's all just incredibly lame. C

The Good Doctor - "Pilot - Burnt Food"
Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, relocates from a quiet country life to join the prestigious St. Bonaventure hospital's surgical unit. Alone in the world and unable to personally connect with those around him, his only advocate, Dr. Aaron Glassman, challenges the skepticism and prejudices of the hospital's board and staff. Shaun will need to work harder than he ever has before, as he navigates his new environment and relationships to prove to his colleagues that his extraordinary medical gifts will save lives. Written by David Shore and directed by Seth Gordon

This show flirts with dark themes. It wants to be a serious show. And yet, the execution of certain moments is really weird and laughable. Most of that comes from the origin story aspects of the Shaun flashbacks. It's suppose to be traumatic to see the abuse he endures from his father. But it's laughable that it also features his father flinging a bunny against the wall. Similarly, it's suppose to be tragic that Shaun's brother dies in an accident. But the musical cues of that moment just seem wrong and manipulative. However, things are still mildly effective in the present-day story with Shaun joining the staff of this hospital. It's going to be a constant fight for him to be heard and respected. He can save lives but he also gets thrown out of buildings until people know better. Of course, he gets the job but will continue to face oppression. And yet, his reactions to seeing how people interact with him are so pointed and strong. He genuinely wants to know why Claire can be both dismissive and friendly to him in the same day. He genuinely wants to know if Dr. Melendez's abrasive personality helps him as a human being or as a surgeon. It's him having the perfect comebacks to really knock people back on their feet. But it's mostly just setting up things. What happens next will determine the strength and lasting power of the series. B-

SEAL Team - "Tip of the Spear"
The most elite unit of Navy SEALs must navigate their professional and personal lives as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high stakes missions our country can ask of them. Written by Benjamin Cavell and directed by Christopher Chulack

The premiere for this show really is similar to NBC's The Brave and History's Six. And yet, it was more effective here than with those two shows. Yes, the main plot still deals with the SEAL Team rescuing a blond American woman who has been taken prisoner by nondescript terrorists. Yes, it's a story about how these soldiers are the best at what they do but face complications in their personal lives at home. But the writing just seems to be a little bit sharper. The world seems more expansive while also focusing on the internal struggles for the characters. Perhaps it's just more effective because of how charismatic David Boreanaz is in the lead role. The show isn't just choosing to focus on these extreme missions either. That gives the show its procedural aspect. It allows the show to feature its top-notch technical proficiency while still being a CBS show. But it's also aware that there is a great cost to this kind of work. It's a sacrifice for one's country to live this way. It's a sacrifice that fundamentally changes the people who make it. Yes, it's also a story about someone on the core team being killed recently. A new recruit joins for the latest mission and makes a questionable decision in the field. But the opening scene that shows that death is well-directed while having the confirmation that it was bound to end in tragedy. Plus, it's clear that it will have lingering effects on the team. It's not just a reason to bring a new recruit in. It's the incident that forces a lot of story to the forefront for Jason. As such, it feels like a more genuine examination of grief and post-traumatic stress. Those are solid ideas. Hopefully, the next episode will be a little more original with its main plot. C+