Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Is Chicago Fire Red Hot?

Fall Television is officially here!  With all of the new TV programs airing this fall, Amber West and I have a ton of homework to do…  This week, we decided to break the mold and do something we’ve never done before—review the same show!  Will Amber and I agree or disagree after watching NBC’s Chicago Fire?

There’s just something about firefighters… they’re sexy, courageous, generous, and did I mention sexy?  But seriously, can you imagine the pressure our firefighters are under on a daily basis?  Saving lives; risking their lives; protecting everyone, including one another, at all costs; living with some of the highest levels of stress imaginable—they really are heroes.

Created by Dick Wolf (creator of all the Law & Order series), Chicago Fire follows a group of firefighters and paramedics as they serve Chicago and work to maintain and balance their personal lives.  And, as if the job isn’t tough enough, the new drama starts off with these brave men and women losing one of their own.

Now, we all know that every fire starts with an ignition source; and with Chicago Fire, that source would be the sexiness.  Just look at this cast: Jesse Spencer (House) as Lt. Matthew Casey; Taylor Kinney (The Vampire Diaries) as Lt. Kelly Severide;  Eamonn Walker (Oz) as Chief Wallace Boden; Charlie Barnett (Men in Black 3) as Firefighter Peter Mills; and Lauren German (Happy Town and Hawaii Five-0) as Paramedic Leslie Shay.  The series also stars David Eigenberg (Sex and the City) as Firefighter Christopher Herrmann and a few ladies I’m not familiar with (Monica Raymund and Teri Reeves).  Plus, for those Fairly Legal fans (may the show rest in peace), it has been announced that Sarah Shahi will join the cast in the upcoming episodes…

Hello, Shirtless Jesse Spencer!

But, is all of this eye candy enough to keep us coming back for more?

If this new series is anything, it is dramatic.  We watch the firefighters and paramedics deal with addiction, guilt, blame, stress, heartbreak, and injuries.  Every week, the brave men and women rush out to all sorts of emergencies—fires, wrecks, and other life-threatening situations.  By definition, this makes Chicago Fire a procedural drama.  However, the series also has ongoing storylines from week to week, making it a serial as well.  Being that we’re only one month in, I’m not certain how difficult it will be to follow the series if missing an episode… but, I don’t think it will be all that hard to pick right back up where we left off if we do indeed skip a week.

I chatted with a volunteer firefighter about NBC’s new program, and let’s just say he’s not so thrilled with the end result.  He mentioned that the cast and crew spent months following an actual Fire Department (if I remember correctly, I think he even said a Chicago Fire Department), and from what he could tell, the creators took certain liberties with how real firefighters do their job.  Sadly, he said firefighters never undress and strip down to a bare chest in the street after battling a fire.  I say sadly because I know many of us women wouldn’t mind seeing this happen, and thankfully the creators give us this tiny gift on the television screen.

Hello, Taylor Kinney’s abs…

Heehee.  Sorry, back to being serious…

My fire fighting friend also stated that paramedics never ask anyone involved in a horrible crash to turn their necks, especially not a small child.  He added that the fireman do not use their radio system to talk trash or do anything else that’s unprofessional over the air waves.  All of this may not be true of every single fire house in the world, but these were his thoughts on the program, and he wished the writers would make it a bit more realistic while still making it interesting for the television audience.

All of this said, I realize Chicago Fire is a fictional television program.  I did not let any of the inconsistencies with what firefighters and paramedics actually do sway me away from watching.  But, having watched all four episodes to date, I’m still uncertain of how I feel.  I like Dick Wolf.  I like a few of the actors, particularly Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, and Lauren German.  I like the fresh idea of a series with firefighters and paramedics when most of today’s TV centers around police procedurals, the supernatural, and sitcoms.  But, can I award the drama with anything other than the SSTV rating at this time?  No.  I can’t.  And, if anyone wants to “make” me, I’d downgrade it at this very moment to an NIV rating… and I don’t want to do that—not yet anyway.

I was really looking forward to Chicago Fire and I’m not giving up yet…

Chicago Fire’s firefighters and paramedics work together to save lives…

What do you think?  Have you watched Chicago Fire?  Have you seen anything in the series and asked, “Would that really happen in real life?”  If so, do the writers’ liberties bother you enough to stop watching?   I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what she thinks about the new NBC fire drama.  Did we agree or disagree?  Trust me; we usually have very different tastes when it comes to our favorite television shows…

Come back next week when Amber and I review something… we’re thinking about changing things up again and trying something else that we’ve never done before.  Stay tuned!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV)Do we really have to explain? Blech

13 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Is Chicago Fire Red Hot?”

    1. I won’t like, Jess. Mr. Lockwood and Dr. Chase are the main reasons I tuned in to Chicago Fire in the first place. The fact they are both firefighters didn’t hurt either… But, that said, the story needs to pick up. And, like I said in my review, I’m not giving up yet… I didn’t want to give away too many spoilers, but there is a new story/twist with Jesse Spencer’s character where he’s stuck dealing with a dirty cop (played by Jason Beghe). Now this, I like…

  1. We’ve got it on DVR. Oddly enough, part of the first episode was filmed in front of my sister and brother-in-law’s condo. He happened to be standing in the doorway making a call, so he’s in the background (though purely by accident) when they had that scene with Rahm Emanuel…it’s just a silhouette of his head, but we found it amusing. 😉

    1. That is pretty cool, Kitt!! I wish I had known before erasing the first four episodes off of my DVR and I would have looked for him… maybe done a screen shot and said “Kitt’s bro-in-law.” 🙂

      1. Eh, he was mostly just a blurry background blob. LOL! You could kind of make him out, but not super clearly. Oddly enough, he was on the phone with my sister at the time.m

  2. SO, being the wife of a former firefighter, you know I have to put in my two cents. Jason and I actually watch this show together, and believe it or not, he likes the show. This is coming from someone who has always hated shows like Grey’s and ER, because they were “too fake.” Granted, there are some things that aren’t totally “protocal” on the show. Puliing a child out of the car without a backboard, for example. However, there is a lot about it that is surprisingly accurate. When the Chief reads the smoke and predicts what the fire is doing, that’s accurate. My husband was pretty impressed that they took the time to explain that through the story. The flashover, and they way it was staged, in the very first episode is also accurate. The dynamics between the firefighters at the station, the dynamics between them and their families, between the hospital staff, etc is all pretty spot on. He actually made a comment that so far, they have all had their masks on while in the building, which is something that shows/movies about firefighters are notorious for getting wrong. Anyway, we like the show for entertainment value, and the fact that he can watch it, and not get too upset about all the things that aren’t based in reality, says something. Of course there are things that aren’t totally real life, but then, no one would want to watch the show!!

    1. Desri, I love that you chimed in, especially considering your husband’s history with the fire department. I don’t know why I didn’t even think of asking you for his opinion before my post. It would have been great to have two different fireman’s takes.

      The firefighter I spoke with hasn’t given up on the show yet either, so that says something, but he only pointed out the inconsistencies and his frustrations. I love that now we have another fireman’s view on the positives, and his appreciation of the care and attention to detail from the cast and crew’s time with an actual FD.

      And, I agree with you. If the writers and creators did everything by the book, people wouldn’t want to watch the show…today’s television audience needs sex and drama, anything to help them escape from reality.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Interesting. My s-i-l is a paramedic – I should ask her if she’s watched this. I know when she worked in a big city (now she’s a flight paramedic – works on a helicopter) that there was quite a bit of rivalry between the paramedics and the firefighters. Wonder if that’s common or a regional thing? Sounds like they all get along quite well in the show.

  4. i’ve watched 4 episodes so far but i have to admit it isn’t cutting it with me. it seems so phony. the inconsistencies you mention make it so bad. the radio stuff is totally wrong. I know lots of firefighters. There is enough ego and enough competition going on that none of this dishonest stuff is necessary. So yes, I’ll continue to PVR the show but it’s off my ‘watch live and I can’t wait’ list.

  5. I read up a lot on firefighting and arson investigation when writing my mystery, GRACE & FIRE (yet to be published). I find that stuff so fascinating that I want more of it included in the show. Abs-schmabs, show us some firefighting! But yeah, I know they need to focus on these characters and other plot lines. I have this show in my queue, but I’ve only watched a couple of episodes so far. Jury’s still out for me too.

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