Monday, March 10, 2014

Pilot Review: Sirens

Sirens (USA)
Premiered March 6 at 10pm

There was a point not long ago that I watched pretty much every series that USA aired. The network used to dominate the summer, and I heartily enjoyed their shows as low-key, relaxing fare. I finished “Burn Notice” and then decided that there wasn’t anything on the network that interested me all that much anymore, and abandoned a handful of shows I had faithfully watched up until that point. Now comes the first series premiere since I stopped tuning in to USA, and it’s also the network’s first original half-hour series that I’ve seen. It’s a comedy based on a British show that got cancelled after just one season and was itself based on a book. It’s co-created by Denis Leary, whose “Rescue Me” is classic for many reasons, and I had hoped that transplanting his universe from firefighting to EMT work might prove tremendously successful. Instead, this show is horribly grating and unwatchable. I actually think it’s a perfect role for Michael Mosley, alumnus of “Pan Am” and the final season of “Scrubs,” but his part is so poorly written that it’s hard to appreciate him. The rest of the cast – particularly veteran Hank and newbie Brian – is impossibly annoying. Jessica McNamee’s Theresa is somewhat more appealing, but she and Mosley’s Johnny seem to work much too closely for any of their drama to be comfortable. Isaiah Mustafa, the man better known as the Old Spice Commercial guy, is also wasted as Denzel, a.k.a. Danny, a character much talked about but not all that interesting in real life. The show’s aggressive language and juvenile plotlines make it utterly off-putting, and I had trouble even making it through the half-hour pilot.

How will it work as a series? Between all of the conversations about Jeff the Chef and tracking Theresa’s phone, Johnny and Hank do make time for a bit of rescue work, most of which seems to involve hazing Brian in the least exciting of ways. I imagine it might eventually translate to something serious, but for now it seems like this is just going to be an over-the-top comedy that I certainly wouldn’t want to watch.
How long will it last? Not too long. The show premiered with “Suits” and both did pretty terribly. Only one show in USA’s recent history has failed to earn a second season – the entertaining “Common Law” – and so it seems likely that USA might endorse any show, but I think that this one won’t have enough going for it and that USA will opt not to bring it back for a second outing.

Pilot grade: D-

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