After the devastating loss of The Chicago Code, Britney & I have searched to find a replacement TV show for our Chicago pop culture fix. This year's fall TV lineup held several options: Boss, The Good Wife, Happy Endings, Mike & Molly, Shameless, and Chicago Fire among them. Eliminating shows on cable channels and sitcoms, we were left with Chicago Fire.
This show, like many of its cop drama counterparts, has pros and cons. Because it's set in Chicago, Britney and I were willing to hold back on critiques for a few episodes, enough time for us to get to know the characters. Now, halfway through season one, we are pretty much hooked (despite being several weeks behind in watching, but it is on our apartment to-do list!).
What we like about the show is the Chicago factor--minus some geographical oddities (how is the Sears Tower in every shot?), we like spotting the different locations. Twice last week I rode bike or drove past an area where they were filming (as made apparent by all the fire trucks chilling by giant lighting structures and actor trailers parked along my bike route, guarded by cops). One of the sets we drove past featured a car rammed into a concrete pillar. Traffic slowed as we went by--with the cops and fire trucks and all the movie smoke they were using it really looked liked a legit accident. Then we saw that the car was propped on blocks and people from the set crew were literally leaning on it, taking a smoke break.
The characters and their story lines have also intrigued us, not so much that we can't wait to see another episode, but enough to get us to talk about them in everyday conversation, as if they were mutual friends we are curious about. I would say this is significant, but we talk about our neighbors and the pizza delivery guy with about the same concern. So far we haven't spotted any of the lead actors out and about--that's still on our bucket list.
The believability/credibility of the show suffers when they send the firefighters to '800 West Halsted' (as a north-south street, there is no such address on Halsted), or when this squad, whose fire hall appears to be located somewhere southwest of the Sears Tower, responds to calls on the South Side, downtown, AND in my very own neighborhood (a fairly large radius considering the existence of other units in each of these neighborhoods). On the other hand, we had to give the show credit one night when the nightly news that comes on immediately following the show reported two real accidents that were startlingly similar to two featured in that night's episode.
Despite all the drama, Britney and I have found Chicago Fire to have some great comedic moments. Alongside the sexy firefighters/EMTs, the cast also includes men I personally am more familiar seeing on a fire/rescue squad: funny old guys. From the character who goes by 'Mouch' (half man, half couch), to the pranks they pull on each other, these are the firefighter types I know and love in real life.
To all firefighters/EMTs/first responders: Brit and I would love to know what, if anything, is realistic about the show/the accidents they respond to. We've done our best to be a bit skeptical and we know they super play up the drama, but as I said, sometimes the news proves they got some things right. And finally, thanks for all you guys do daily & nightly. From the mundane to the grisly to the downright strange, rescue squads respond to all levels of emergency calls with great care for humanity. If there's one thing the show gets spot on, it's the focus on taking care of victims above all else when the call comes in. You guys are the real stars.