I Wanted to Like It

I truly wanted to give the series 9-1-1 that is airing on the Fox Network a fair chance. After all, I’ve worked in public safety in many capacities for the past thirty years. And, I went to the same high school at roughly the same time with series co-creator Ryan Murphy (he is two years younger than I), so I should want to support his efforts.

The show profile at Fox.com says,

image of 9-1-1 logoCreators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear reimagine the procedural drama with 9-1-1, exploring the high-pressure experiences of police officers, firefighters and dispatchers who are thrust into the most frightening, shocking and heart-stopping situations. These emergency responders must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in their own lives. The provocative series stars Angela Bassett, Peter Krause and Golden Globe nominee Jennifer Love Hewitt (“The Client List,” “Ghost Whisperer”). Additionally, Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds, Kenneth Choi, Rockmond Dunbar and Ryan Guzman (“Notorious,” “Heroes Reborn”) are featured in series regular roles.

image of Angela Bassett from 9-1-1So here’s the problem: These high caliber actors have been put into a show that is supposed to be provocative and all I can see is terrible scripting, campy acting and unrealistic dialogue. Public safety workers simply don’t talk the way these actors are talking on the show. Honestly, Angela Bassett as beat cop Athena Grant? Someone with her stature should be cast as the mayor, not a street cop. Her delivery is akin to a Shakespearean actor reciting an episode of the Flintstones. It simply doesn’t fit. Most of the characterizations on this show are over-the-top and unrealistic.

The heroic acts portrayed on the show always seem to have some dramatic overture attached to them. In the real world of public safety the participants are gritting their teeth, digging in to the task at hand, and often cussing every other word just to get the job done. They don’t fill their time with grandiose monologues about how the job will be done. They do the job.

As to the relationships between the characters on the show, it just seems forced. The love interests are smashed together out of the convenience of the soundstage, as it were. The struggles of the various public safety workers are stereotypical — just more of the same that we see on every other cop/hospital/firefighter/EMS themed series.

I really wanted to like the show. I simply can’t. Sorry, Ryan. You and Brad have done better.

What are your thoughts on this?

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