The Watchman: ‘Last Ship’s’ Last Voyage, Vieira an Open Book, New Batch of ‘Snatch’

The Last Ship is pushing off one last time on TNT. The fifth and final season of the military drama, which depicts the aftermath of a catastrophe that nearly wiped out the world’s population, is here. Executive producer/showrunner Steve Kane calls the ending “bitter-sweet.”

“I’ve loved every minute of doing the show,” he said. “It’s been part of my everyday life, 24/7, for six years.”

Kane will miss writers’ room sessions where the scribes think, wouldn’t it be cool to do this? and the show then pulls it off. He called it “the chance to fulfill, as filmmakers, a giant vision every day.”

The Last Ship questions the costs of war, and the toll it takes on those involved. After so many years of military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, Kane said, “It’s a very timely question to ask.”

He calls the new season The Last Ship’s most emotional. “The scale of things gets bigger and at the same time more personal,” he said.

The Great American Read, PBS’s love note to books, returns Sept. 11. Meredith Vieira hosts. “It’s a wonderful way to get people to read again,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful reminder of how great a good book can be.”

Vieira loves a good murder-mystery, raving about Agatha Christie’s classic whodunits. She’s also become reacquainted with young-adult books, noting how she’s poised to enter the next stage of her life, which she calls “mature adult,” and all the anxiety that represents.

“I’m curious to see if the themes in those books still resonate” the way they did when she was a teen, Vieira said.

She’s iffy about offering recommendations. “I hope people wander into libraries and bookstores and spend some time,” Vieira said.

Viewers can spend some time with Snatch, as the sophomore season arrives on Sony Crackle Sept. 13. It’s set in Costa del Sol, where the Hill Gang is on the lam. They may be trying to lay low, but true to character, the Hills run afoul of the local kingpin.

“It’s really, really fun,” executive producer/showrunner Alex De Rakoff said. “It’s full of comedy, full of heart, lots of twists and turns.”

The series was of course inspired by the 2000 Guy Ritchie film, but it’s on its own now. “The story and characters are completely unique to the show,” De Rakoff said. “We are honorable to what Guy created, but we made it feel more contemporary.”

Rupert Grint, formerly Ron Weasley from Harry Potter, is the star and an executive producer.

The cast and brain trust will assemble in Los Angeles for premiere night. “We’ll get together, have a few drinks and celebrate season two,” De Rakoff said.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.