'Rectify' returns, 'Last Ship' launches

Aden Young plays a newly free Daniel Holden in "Rectify."
Aden Young plays a newly free Daniel Holden in "Rectify."
Posted: June 20, 2014

* RECTIFY. 9 tonight, SundanceTV.

* THE LAST SHIP. 9 p.m. Sunday, TNT.

"RECTIFY" IS not a show in a hurry. When the drama, one of last year's best, premiered in April 2013, I was struck by a scene in which main character Daniel Holden (Aden Young) fell asleep while riding in the car taking him away from the prison where he'd spent 19 years on death row. It was a daring choice for a medium that tries to keep us up nights, but the right one for the character, who, after years of staring at walls, reacted as a newborn might to overstimulation.

His sensory overload would get worse: The six-episode season, which covered Daniel's first week out of prison, ended in his being beaten nearly to death, and he begins Season 2 tonight in a coma.

That's a more TV-friendly form of unconsciousness - comatose characters are free to engage in flashbacks or to converse with the dead - but it also marks "Rectify" as a show willing to make us wait: for action, for answers, for the revealing of character at the speed of actual life.

As much as I love it, I wouldn't want all of TV to adopt this pace, and if you watched "Mad Men" this season hoping to meet Charlie Manson or see some other mayhem unleashed on Don Draper's tastefully designed world, "Rectify" probably isn't for you.

Beatings aside, the biggest horror's already happened. A girl is dead and the man who may or may not have been responsible is free, but not free, in a place where he no longer belongs.

There's mystery, because the murder case is unresolved, but the drama lies in discovering what prison has made of Daniel and in seeing how he and those around him deal with the walls that still keep them apart.

'The Last Ship'

Seafaring action's nothing new for Michael Bay ("Pearl Harbor," "Black Sails"), but in the "Transformers" director's latest production, TNT's "The Last Ship," the most important action's taking place in test tubes.

Eric Dane ("Grey's Anatomy") stars as Tom Chandler, captain of a U.S. naval ship carrying scientist Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra, "Boston Legal"), whose mission to save the world from a global pandemic is so secret not even Chandler knows about it until billions of people are dead.

I can't think of a more depressing lead-in for TNT's alien-invasion drama "Falling Skies," which returns Sunday for a fourth season of Stuff Getting Even Worse, but the cast is solid - including Adam Baldwin ("Chuck") as Chandler's No. 2 - and if we must contemplate annihilation-by-virus, there are certainly less-pretty places to view it than from the deck of "The Last Ship."

'Crisis' DVR alert

Remember "Crisis," the NBC drama about the kidnapping of a bus full of well-connected D.C. high school students?

Probably not.

The thriller, whose stars include Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney, has been one of the spring's better network shows, but its Sunday ratings have been dismal, so much so that its two-hour finale's been moved to 8 p.m. Saturday night.


Email: graye@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray

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