Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Pilot Review: 9-1-1

9-1-1 (Fox)
Premiered January 3 at 9pm

If there’s one thing that the TV landscape doesn’t need more of, it’s cop shows, but that’s not going to stop the networks from producing them. This one at least puts a bit of a spin on it, telling the story from the perspective of the 9-1-1 operator who gets the calls and then gets hung up on once help arrives or the emergency has been dealt with adequately or finitely. This episode unsurprisingly featured extreme cases, like a baby being flushed down the toilet and a young girl calling the police about burglars without knowing her address. I always look at standards procedurals, which I know I won’t be continuing to watch, with an eye for the cast members I know and what they’ve been in before. Angela Bassett recently received an Emmy nomination for guest-starring on “Master of None,” and I know she also did some work on a show I make sure not to watch, “American Horror Story.” Though they weren’t on it at the same time, Connie Britton launched that show, and she’s currently appearing on “SMILF” after finishing up “Friday Night Lights” and exiting “Nashville.” I’m glad that Peter Krause is getting work, but I wish that two of his cancelled series from a decade apart, “Dirty Sexy Money” and “The Catch,” were still on the air since they give him much better material to work with. This show is all about ethics of who gets saved and in what order, and there are enough different characters and threads that it just please those looking for some affirming stories of people who risk their lives to save others.

How will it work as a series? I don’t know who the star is supposed to be since Bassett, Krause, and Britton all seem to share top billing, and so it’s going to balance between their work and professional lives and how they interact in the heat of the moment. It’s just like any other procedural, though its city-less numerical title means that it may not be quite as focused on the characters and more on the work that they’re doing.
How long will it last? Reviews are fine for this show if not spectacular, but that doesn’t actually matter since it’s all about how many people are watching with procedurals. FOX doesn’t demand as much as other networks – namely CBS – but it’s still worth noting that this show did much better than the return of “The X-Files,” and something tells me it’s going to stick around for a while.

Pilot grade: C+

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