WonderCon 2014: Getting on TNT’s ‘The Last Ship’

The Last Ship TV Chat
This past Saturday afternoon at the annual Wonder Con event, cast members and executive producers of the new upcoming TNT drama The Last Ship hit the stage to talk about their riveting new series.

‘The Last Ship’ – as explained by executive producer Hank Steinberg – is actually based on a Cold War-era book for which TNT brought to him and fellow executive producer Steven Kane to develop for the small screen. They adapted that story of a global thermal nuclear war into a modern-day global pandemic story and added plotting to “give the show drive”.

The basic premise behind this new series is that the USS Nathan James has been out to sea on a special mission for the past four months. Housed within that battleship is Dr. Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra from ‘Strike Back’ and ‘The Practice’) who, unbeknownst to the entire crew, including Commander Tom Chandler (Eric Dane from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’) and Senior Officer Mike Slattery (Adam Baldwin from ‘Chuck’ and ‘Firefly’), is hunting for a cure to a fatal plague that started seven months prior. Once the crew is permitted to break radio silence, they learn the devastating news that a global pandemic has nearly eradicated the world’s population; and it is now up to them to assist Dr. Scott to find a cure.

Needless to say, the crew and medical team on the USS Nathan James are racing a “ticking clock”; and according to Steinberg, “since they are on that ship, they can go anywhere as long as they have food and fuel”. He further shared that they will be a lot of “traveling” on the ship both “emotionally and existentially”.

The cast members on the panel included Charles Parnell (‘All My Children’ and the TV series ‘Crash’), who plays Command Master Chief Petty Officer Jeter and Travis Van Winkle (‘Hart of Dixie’ and ‘90210’), who plays Lt. Danny Green. Parnell shared that he had the opportunity to go to San Diego, meeting the real life counterparts to the role he (and other cast members) would be playing in the series, getting a “full education” from them on what life is like aboard a battleship and he “read up on the beginnings of the Navy” to have a better understanding of military service. Whereas Van Winkle shared that his character is the only Navy Seal onboard so he spent time with real Navy Seals as well as going through knife and weapons training to prepare for his role.

Since the entire pilot episode of ‘The Last Ship’ was screened for the audience, the Q&A portion of the panel was short. But viewers should take note there is plenty of action in this new drama – that comes from executive producer Michael Bay (the Transformers franchise) – as well as a little bit of romance and plenty of mystery surrounding the pandemic. You can judge for yourself by watching the following teaser:

‘The Last Ship’ will debut on TNT on Sunday, June 22 at 9/8c.