The Last Ship had a tough, well-tread row to hoe - or, in its case, sail. We've seen the onset and aftermaths of deadly pandemics before, from Helix to The Walking Dead. And the post-apocalypse scenario, with government tottering, breaking or broken down, has been on the television screen as recently as Revolution.
But The Last Ship did a good job of telling its plague and post-apocalypse story in an original, often exciting way. The ports of call and the encounters of the crew were all good narratives. The conflict with the Russian ship and commander was well played, and packed at least one big surprise. And, best of all, the pursuit of a cure/vaccine proceeded in a believable way, which left room for success as well as disappointment.
It was also clear, at the end of the season finale, that The Last Ship caught the wave of impending apocalypse just right, and in most ways better than Revolution. This is probably due to the proximity of our story to the onset of the plague, which allows all kinds of people in all kinds of positions and power to still be around as potential and actual characters.
What's most of interest, now, is whether the second season will take the ship back out to sea, or if we'll see more action in the U.S.A. Intrinsic to the first season was the running of a ship - chain of command, loyalty to the commander, all the things we've come to expect and appreciate in these kinds of stories. But I won't miss that, overly, if the story spends more time on solid ground, with the last ship as metaphor as well as reality.
See also: The Last Ship Debuts: Helix Meets Last Resort
not quite apocalypse, yet