Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pilot Review: Station 19

Station 19 (ABC)
Premiered March 22 at 9pm

It’s hard to believe that “Grey’s Anatomy” has been on the air for fourteen years. It premiered two and a half years before I started this site and already launched one moderately successful spin-off that ran six years. If there’s one thing even more popular these days than medical shows, it’s those about firefighters. It’s hardly a surprise that this two-hour premiere went up against double-decker installments of “Chicago Fire” on NBC, giving those who love watching fires being put out a whole lot to enjoy on Thursday night. I knew before I watched this show that it wasn’t the kind of series I’d like, but I do feel that I’ll remember a few of these characters more than I do on other pilots. This show is a textbook example of a primetime soap opera, with high-stakes theatrics to boot, involving sensational cases that really make these firefighters work for their paychecks. I noticed the flashes right before each commercial break, reminiscent of a device that I first saw employed on “NCIS,” and I’m really not sure why that needed to be a part of this show since there’s no way anyone who starts watching an hour and knows what they’re getting into is going to tune out midway through without finding out what happens. The two faces I recognized were Miguel Sandoval, onetime star of “Medium” and much more, as the newly-retired captain, and Jay Hayden from “The Catch” as Travis. Jaina Lee Ortiz’s Andy seems to have a bit more personality than Meredith Grey, and could make a more appealing lead, especially as she gets used to her new position. This is it for me – I prefer fire shows like “Rescue Me.”

How will it work as a series? This series has already piled on the drama and shown how it’s going to be used in the second hour, with Andy not quire rejecting Jack’s almost-proposal and then competing for the top job with him while secretly having slept with everpresent cop Ryan. And I can also imagine that Ben is going to be a main focus of this show given his status as a transferred character from the medical drama that spun off this one.
How long will it last? Going up against another fire show wasn’t great for its numbers, and also competing with basketball means that it’s hard to tell how it will do in the future. I’m sure that ABC is going to put everything the network has into making this work, and something tells me that its ratings will improve as time goes on and it will become a long-running staple despite mixed reviews.

Pilot grade: C+

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