With a literal title like “Chicago Fire,” you shouldn’t expect too much from NBC’s new firefighter drama, which features some very attractive people fighting fires in — where else? — Chicago. Between the name of the show and the billboards of beefy firemen brooding intently, NBC has told you exactly what you’re getting when you tune in.
Revolving around the inner-workings of a Windy City fire station, “Chicago Fire” features former “House” doc Jesse Spencer and “Vampire Diaries” hunk/Lady Gaga’s boyfriend Taylor Kinney playing Matthew Casey and Kelly Severide, rival rescue squad members.
Add in a fresh-faced rookie, some grizzled veterans and some hot female EMTs, and you have yourself a perfectly acceptable drama to pair with NBC’s long-running “Law & Order: SVU.”
The premiere episode is a little heavy on the station house politics, setting up the back story about how Casey and Severide blame each other for the on-the-job death of a dear friend and coworker. But once that’s established, the subsequent episodes start handling the balance between tense fire-fighting and soapy relationship drama much better.
Still, even though episode 2 is stronger than the pilot, expect some cheese-tastic dialogue such as this lovely exchange: “How long have you been a firefighter?” “Since the day I was born.” Yes, there is swelling guitar music involved. But what do you expect from a show with such a literal title? If the creators couldn’t get creative with the name of the show, why would you expect them to get innovative with the content?
Fighting fires is an inherently exciting profession, so there’s no shortage of drama to mine. But the show has the potential to quickly go wrong if it focuses too much on the relationship drama and not enough on the fires.
As it is, “Chicago Fire” is a perfectly fine drama that doesn’t need to be watched live every week. It’s not terrible and it is full of eye candy, so maybe that should be considered a win for the struggling NBC. Essentially, it’s the ideal new show for weekend DVR catchups while you fold laundry. And isn’t that what you need sometimes?
“Chicago Fire” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.