Adam Baldwin could have joined TNT’s The Last Ship to collaborate with producer Michael Bay, engage in classic action hero banter or relish the latest doomsday scenario.
What sealed the deal for the Firefly and Chuck alum was spending time with members of the U.S. Navy.
“Any chance I get to work in military-based activities … I jump at,” Baldwin says.
The Last Ship, partially filmed at the 32nd Street naval base in San Diego, follows the USS Nathan James as it searches for a cure to a virus which wiped out most of the earth’s population. Baldwin plays Slattery, second in command on the ship and a character he describes as having a gallows sense of humor. The production leaned on U.S. military advisers for authenticity’s sake, but it’s pure popcorn adventure.
Forbes dubbed the new series “the summer show to beat,” applauding its “high octane excitement from the word go with plenty of gunplay and explosions.”
It’s no accident a Bay production features a U.S. Navy vessel charged with trying to save humanity.
“[Bay] is an American man who grew up with that American ethos of right and wrong,” he says of the director/producer behind the Transformers franchise.
“He has a great love and affinity for the military, especially the Navy,” says Baldwin, whose own father served in the Naval Air Corps during World War II. “It’s just his mission to portray, within this extraordinary world, that foundational American element of the U.S. Military as a force for good.”
The Last Ship is the latest vision of a world teetering on collapse. Just look at AMC’s The Walking Dead or the indie drama The Rover for similar examples. So why are we drawn to such post-apocalyptic visions now?
Baldwin says our interconnected world may be to blame.
“Instantaneous information, from Twitter and Facebook to satellite communications, can bring us views of distant lands where barbarity occurs,” he says. “People want to view it from afar in order to process it.”
The Last Ship arrives at a new era in television content. The medium teems with excellence, from the recently wrapped Breaking Bad to Game of Thrones. Is it any wonder a director with Bay’s commercial pedigree would be drawn to TV now?
“Content is king, and this is where the good creators go,” Baldwin says of the current TV landscape. “Their visions are carried forward.”
Baldwin hopes The Last Ship sails for a second and third season, but he can’t say how the story will evolve beyond the current episodes.
“This season’s formula is, ‘find the cure and save the world.’ What is going to be that equation in season two? I don’t know right now,” he says, but adds he has a feel for Slattery’s future. “I’m given some hints where my character is going, and I like it a lot,” he says.
The Last Ship debuts at 9 p.m. EST Sunday June 22 on TNT.
Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies