Saturday, September 29, 2012

Going negative on Last Resort details unwarranted - sub captains

UPDATE (30 SEP 2012):    Ouch!  Ratings for ABC's Much-Hyped Submarine Drama
ABC’s highly promoted drama featuring the crew of a nuclear submarine, “Last Resort,” debuting in the hotly contested 8 p.m. slot, settled for a 2.2. CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” also airing at 8 p.m., delivered a 4.8 for its season premiere -- the best number of the night.

What did the Navy provide to production of "Last Resort"?  Officially, neither credits nor thank you's for anything.  Vigilis has since learned of unofficial NAVY technical advisors, however:

"We also had a couple of advisers in the pilot preps stage, and then one during the production stage – two different people who had been captains on naval submarines – and he spent time talking to those guys about stories, in general, and about how they might approach certain things from the pilot. He is someone that really studies and does his homework, and then arrives with a real plan of attack, not only for that scene, but how the scene will play within the scope of the whole episode."   - Shawn Ryan; interview by C. Radish  September 27th, 2012

Real submarine captains!  What the grumblers may be missing is that literary license may be warranted when the advisors are readers of the same blog as they and others (my guess, Rubber Ducky) probably know who the actual advisors were. Just a thought for not letting perfection be the enemy of the good, nor too many details the ruin for fictions.

"Last Resort" is a long awaited TV-series depicting women serving in a U.S. submarine crew. The pilot episode debuted Thursday, but had been available online to streaming viewers, including real submariners, earlier.  Numerous 'bubblehead' criticisms were promptly registered as negative comments at the preeminent U.S. submariners' blog here

Although Last Resort included some flaws that almost any sailor might pick up and major technical shortcomings that only submariners could recognize, its adventurous storyline and attractive cast make it very entertaining to audiences, inlcuding us submariners.

In fairness, even the hit film version of The Hunt for Red October  received inauthenticity grumblings from some submariners.  Such intolerance was despite admiralty-grade technical advice, the appearances of actual Navy vessels and even some real submariners in the film:

The Navy gave the filmmakers access to submarines, allowing them to photograph unclassified sections of Chicago and Portsmouth to use in set and prop design. Key cast and crew members rode in subs, including Alec Baldwin and Scott Glenn doing an overnight trip in USS Salt Lake City. Glenn, who played the commander of Dallas, trained by assuming the identity of a submarine captain on board the Houston (which portrayed Dallas in most scenes). The sub's crew all took "orders" from Glenn, who was being prompted by the actual commanding officer.

Glenn had been a U.S. Marine. Baldwin also learned to steer a Los Angeles-class submarine. Some extras portraying the Dallas crew were submariners, including the pilot of the DSRV, Lt Cmdr George Billy, commander of the DSRV. Submariners from San Diego were cast as extras because it was easier to hire them than training actors. Crew from USS La Jolla, including Lt Mark Draxton, took leave to participate in filming. According to an article in Sea Classics, at least two sailors from the Atlantic Fleet-based Dallas took leave and participated in the Pacific Fleet-supported filming. The crew of Houston called their month-long filming schedule the "Hunt for Red Ops." Houston made over 40 emergency surfacing "blows" for rehearsal and for the cameras.  - Thomas, Bob (March 2, 1990). "High-Tech Novel Took Five Years to Reach Screen".  - Wikipedia.
Submarines are always silent and strange.

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