Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Chicago P.D.

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that could either a) fall in line with all the other police procedurals on TV, or  b) stand out as the next Dick Wolf success—Chicago P.D..

NBC Summary: Sergeant Hank Voight leads the officers of District 21, where the past history and rivalries between the officers create problems at the district.

Created by Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and a spinoff series of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. will serve as yet another typical police procedural on television.  Or will it?

My main question is this—will Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) be a good guy or a bad guy?  While I did not watch the entire first season of Chicago Fire, I did watch enough to know that he was not a “good” cop.  The character did not hesitate to cross legal or ethical lines.  And if he’s anything like that on the new show, what in the world is his staff going to be like?

And speaking of Jason Beghe, I’ve had a crush on him since I was a little girl when he starred as the quarterback, Tom Yinessa, on HBO’s 1st & Ten.  Yes; my parents let me watch with them—it was about football, after all!  And most recently, I’ve enjoyed his recurring character, Richard Bates, on Showtime’s Californication where he plays an alcoholic/sometimes gay/sometimes straight man.  His performances are fantastic.  Needless to say, I gave Chicago P.D. a try just for him.

The new drama also stars: Jon Seda (Band of Brothers) as Detective Antonio Dawson; Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) as Detective Erin Lindsay; the great Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky; and many others.

But let’s talk about Voight right now… like I mentioned earlier, Voight was not a “good” cop on Chicago Fire.  Actually, he went to jail.  However, in this new series, his character has negotiated some deal to get out of prison and land himself the supervisory position for the Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department.  We later learn this deal is for him to secretly report back to Internal Affairs… but will he?  Will he be 100% honest with them?  Probably not…

So is he good or bad?

Well, Voight instructs his staff to keep everything in-house… they tell him the truth, so he can lie for them.  This isn’t so strange.  Anyone who has played sports has heard the saying “what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.”  Same concept.

The Intelligence Unit is family, and to Voight, nothing is more important than family.  Yet, sadly, his sordid past actually gets one of his officers killed in the first episode (in a round-about-way).  Sorry for the spoiler.

Ultimately, Voight just operates under the mantra—and expects his team to as well—whatever it takes.

Does this make him bad?  Naaa.  I kinda like him and will continue to watch because of him.  I want to see how many professional and ethical lines he and his team will cross, while maintaining characters that I like and am actually rooting for.  There seems to be the “right way” and the “Voight way” of doing things.  Sometimes “Voight’s way” is the only way to get things done.  I get that real cops shouldn’t act this way, but this is TV and I like it.

But enough about just Voight…

Chicago P.D. bounces back and forth between his unit and the officers who patrol the streets of Chicago.  As a Law & Order fan, I can definitely tell this series is a Dick Wolf creation from the cinematography and style.   And being a Chicago Fire spinoff, many of the characters have done and will do a crossover stint at one time or another (for those who love and need more of Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer).   If I understand correctly, the series will actually do a full-blown crossover episode event with Chicago Fire and Law & Order: SVU.  Guess I’ll need to watch Chicago Fire that week.

While I will and already have watched more of Chicago P.D. than I have Chicago Fire, I can’t award the series with anything beyond a JFTV rating.  I like it; I do.  But I don’t mind letting the episodes pile up on the DVR to watch when I have time.  It’s just like when I keep a bag of those greasy potato chips in the pantry, but only reach for them when I need a fix.  After all, it is just another police procedural on TV today… just with a different kind of twist.

What do you think?  Do you watch Chicago P.D.?  I’d love to hear from you!

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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Warming Up with Chicago Fire

Television’s winter premiere season is officially here!  With all of the new TV programs airing these next few weeks, Amber West and I have a ton of homework to do.  But before diving in, we’ve decided to revisit one of our still simmering reviews (SSTV) from last year.  You know… the television programs we weren’t exactly sure how to rate after watching the first few episodes.

My selection—NBC’s Chicago Fire.  Will it move up the ladder after watching more episodes?  Or fall down?

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), Sarah Shahi has recently joined the cast…

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

Hello, Shirtless Jesse Spencer…

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.  And don’t worry; it’s really not all that difficult to pick right back up where we left off if we do indeed miss an episode—I tested this theory.

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.

I also visited with a good friend of mine, who just happens to be the wife of a former firefighter.  She and her husband watch Chicago Fire together, and while he does agree that not everything is completely protocol on the show, he believes most of it to be surprisingly accurate.  As one very familiar with these types of situations, he was impressed to see the series take the time to explain how the Chief “reads” the smoke and predicts what the fire is doing prior to sending in his team.  He also feels the dynamics between the firefighters with one another, with their families, and with the hospital staffs are represented fairly well.

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

All of this said, I realize Chicago Fire is a fictional television program.  In my first review, I had watched all four episodes to date and was still uncertain as to how I felt.  Taking into consideration that I do like Dick Wolf AND a few of the actors, particularly Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, and Lauren German, I decided to give it another shot.  I applaud the fresh idea of a series with firefighters and paramedics when most of today’s TV centers around police procedurals, the supernatural, and sitcoms.

So, has Chicago Fire moved up or down the Why It’s Worth a Watch ladder?  Up.  It’s still not something I watch religiously, but I do catch an episode when I can.  Therefore, I’m awarding the JFTV rating.  The freshman series isn’t perfect, but like that greasy bag of potato chips in the cupboard, I’ll go back for more if it’s there and my healthy box of granola and almonds is all gone.

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 which of her SSTV reviews she revisits…  I’ll give you one hint:  there’s singing involved!

Come back next week when Amber and I review something…  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

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Last Law & Order Standing

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to NBC and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Harry’s Law and Law & Order: SVU.

For the past twenty plus years, Dick Wolf’s productions have dominated the NBC primetime slots.  He first created the original Law & Order, and then added spinoffs SVU and Criminal Intent, as well as the short-lived Trial by Jury and LA.    

The last of the franchise still standing today is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, currently in its thirteenth season.  Like the original, SVU has a great ensemble cast, and it showcases gut-wrenching storylines. 

The Special Victims Unit is a specialized department that focuses on assault and rape cases in New York City, often times inspired by today’s headlines.   

For the first twelve seasons, the SVU team depends on lead detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni).  Benson, the product of her mother’s rape, and Stabler, the father of five children, take the cases personally and sometimes take actions we as viewers wish we could see more of on television – in other words, they’re not always by the book, and therefore one of the partners is always in trouble. 

SVU’s cast, for the most part, has remained the same for all thirteen seasons, including: Captain Cragen (Dan Florek), and also detectives Tutuola (Ice-T) and Munch (Richard Belzer). 

The original Law & Order split the hour-long program into two parts – “the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.” [t1]  SVU doesn’t follow the exact same formula, but does of course involve the district attorney’s office in each episode (returning favorites in season 13 – Casey Novak played by Diane Neal, Alexandra Cabot played by Stephanie March, and Michael Cutter played by Linus Roache from L&O).   

This season, viewers will see a new cast of characters following Meloni’s departure from the show and Hargitay’s rumored request for a lighter workload.  Danny Pino (Cold Case) joins as Det. Nick Amaro from warrants and narcotics, and Kellie Giddish (Chase) transfers to NYC from Atlanta as Det. Amanda Rollins

In addition to SVU’s fictionalized accounts of current events, viewers can count on a large revolving door of guest stars.  So far in season thirteen, we’ve seen a familiar story line where a hotel maid accuses a foreign diplomat of rape.  In episode two, SVU landed guest stars Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years), Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness), and real-life basketball greats Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.    

This week (tonight actually), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex and the City) and Paige Turco (Damages) guest star as husband and wife in a fictionalized account of a particular politician’s scandal. 

Before rating, I must issue this warning – the writers don’t sugar-coat things.  If you don’t like watching bad things happen to children, don’t watch! 

The past few weeks, the GTV rating has been awarded left and right; but, not today.  While I do watch Law & Order: SVU religiously, I can only award the JFTV ratingSVU is like junk food, particularly like that bag of greasy potato chips – it’s not great for us, but we keep coming back for more. 

SVU is the last of the franchise airing new episodes.  I simply can’t imagine television today without hearing this:

Of course, I am worried that I will soon have to get my Law & Order fix watching reruns only (thank you, TNT!). 

What do you think? Do you prefer the original Law & Order, SVU, or Criminal Intent? Will SVU survive Meloni’s departure, or will this be the last of the L&O franchise?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Harry’s Law.  The GTV ratings came to an end over here; will Amber award another top review over on her site?   

Come back next week when Amber and I switch over to FOX and review two supernatural programs – the new hit, Terra Nova, and the returning favorite, Fringe.

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 future Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts. 

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
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
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
 


 [t1]Opening narration spoken by Steven Zirnkilton