8 November 2012 | spoenkel
Never judge a TV show by it's pilot
We've all seen shows that started with a very exciting pilot suffer a slow boring death. A good show needs more than a good concept at the start, it needs good storytelling, good acting, likable characters and it needs to find a good pace.
The pilot of Chicago Fire was very weak. The story lines felt too familiar (old friends drifted apart through tragedy, secret painkiller addiction, unrequited love etc) and didn't blend together. And, as you can see on this IMDb page, in the next few days a lot reviewers burnt Chicago Fire to the ground.
For some reason I kept on watching. The second episode was a bit better, but by the third episode the show really found it's stride. I've just finished watching the fifth episode and came the conclusion that 1. Chicago Fire somehow ended up to be my favorite new show of the year and 2. All the negative IMDb-reviews are now really unfair.
Which is why I suddenly felt compelled to write a review of my own. I never do this, so bear with me.
Chicago Fire is not a procedural 'fire of the week' show. It actually does the ensemble drama really well. There is nice balance between the characters and I especially like how these characters connect with each other and how the story lines are slowly developed. In a way, it reminds me of The Good Wife, but with more action scenes (which is a great compliment in my world)
The friendship between roommates Leslie Shay (Lauren German) and Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) is great. Severide plays the tough on the outside, soft on the inside guy, who walks away from his medical problems by secretly taking lots of illegal painkillers. Not very original or interesting, but I've got to admit that my cynic self is really warming up to Kelley. Partly because Kinney plays the part very well, and partly because of his genuine scenes and aforementioned friendship with Shay.
Shay is gay, but that's not an issue on the show, just a part of who she is. As it should be, I applaud the CF writers for the way they portray her. Her scenes with fellow paramedic Dawson (Monica Raymund)are among my favorites.
Dawson also has some cute scenes with new kid on the block Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett), but is too much in love with lieutenant Matthew Casey to notice their chemistry. Sadly for her, Casey is already engaged to another medical professional. This may sound a little soapy or gooey, but actually, Dawson kicks ass. Literally. Which gets her in to trouble sometimes.
Lt. Casey is arguably the real star of the show. He is played by Jesse Spencer, whom I liked in his House MD days, but who really impressed me on Chicago Fire. He plays the classic good guy, but not in a boring way. His intense storyline involving a dirty cop truly propelled the show to greater heights.
I'm not gonna name every character or storyline, but they're all getting better very fast. (Quick shout out to Eamonn Walker who plays the awesome Chief Boden.) The show may be a bit unrealistic, but that's not what I look for in a good drama. I'm a big fan of Breaking Bad and Dexter, both are very entertaining, and excellently written ánd acted shows, but both are also very unrealistic. Chicago Fire may not yet be on their level of awesomeness, but it is getting there. My point just is, I am really glad I gave this show another chance and I hope that you will too.