Is Your Pastor or Priest a Man of Action? Check Out Pastor Stephen Grant in, for example, WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, MURDERER'S ROW: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL and THE RIVER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL by Ray Keating

Pastor Stephen Grant?

Stephen Grant is the pastor at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church on eastern Long Island. Grant is one of the more unique second-career clergy around, as he once worked for the CIA. Besides theology, his interests include archery, golf, writing, classic films, the beach, poker, baseball, and history. Grant also knows his wines, champagnes and brews. Oh yes, he generally dislikes politicians, and happens to be an expert marksman with a handgun and a rifle, while being pretty handy with a combat knife as well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Is TNT’s "The Last Ship" the Best Show on TV?

by Ray Keating

5 Stars out of 5

With so many channels and online viewing options, some might argue that we’re in the midst of a new golden age of television. Then there’s the view that while choices abound, there’s still nothing good on to watch. Of course, the truth lies somewhere in between.

At the high-quality end is a show that first hit TNT in the summer of 2014, and just finished up its fourth season on Sunday night (October 8th) with a two-hour finale. The Last Ship was launched in impressive fashion, and has maintained excellence throughout each season.

In fact, in my humble opinion, The Last Ship quite simply ranks as the best show on television.

I know, I know, that’s a bold claim, and countless people will scoff, but I will not relent.

For those who have not watched, the basic premise of The Last Ship is that a viral pandemic has wiped out some 80 percent of the human race. Those onboard the ship – the U.S.S. Nathan James – must find a cure and save the world. Along the way, the show shines in a variety of ways.

First, everything flows from excellent writing and storytelling, and a top-notch cast. That cast includes Eric Dane as Captain Tom Chandler, Rhona Mitra as Dr. Rachel Scott, Adam Baldwin as Captain Mike Slattery, Charles Parnell as Master Chief Russ Jeter, Travis Van Winkle as Lt. Danny Green, Marissa Neitling as Lt. Commander Kara Green, Bridget Regan as Sasha Cooper, former Navy Intelligence, and many others.

Second, it’s easy to care about the men and women serving on the Nathan James. Not only are they brave members of the U.S. Navy risking it all for mankind, but they each have their unique backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, loves, flaws, and losses. For good measure, the reality of serving under fire means that everyone doesn’t make it out in the end. Sacrifice for others is powerfully portrayed.

No doubt, and to its credit, The Last Ship serves as a salute to the men and women who serve in the U.S. military, but it does so not in a corny, the-characters-are-perfect kind of way, but rather through superior narrative.

Third, during this time when the human race is at risk, all aspects of human nature come to the fore. True leaders emerge, inspiring others to do what’s right. There are those who tap into courage, and seek to help and save others, while some act selfishly or ruthlessly, guided by fear, hatred, mistrust, and even petty politics. And still others do the wrong thing but for what they truly believe is the right reason.

Fourth, the show acknowledges and offers glimpses of the faith life of the men and women of the Nathan James. Master Chief Jeter serves as the ship’s unofficial chaplain, and provides powerful moments, particularly earlier in the show, when leading prayers and offering guidance to members of the crew.

Finally, The Last Ship offers the right balance between action and characters. Yes, there’s plenty of adventure and conflict at sea and on land in this military-rooted show. But the action is not mindless. Instead, some quality special effects for a TV show combine with the fact that the emotional impact of the action is significant because viewers care about the characters involved.

Four seasons of great TV – generating feelings of joy, excitement, caring, reflection, suspense and sorrow among those tuning in – is quite the accomplishment. Fans have at least one more season coming next summer. I, for one, can’t wait. And let’s hope that TNT has the good sense to let The Last Ship continue sailing for a few more seasons after that.


Ray Keating is the author of the PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVELS. The latest in the series is LIONHEARTS.

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