This show sucks. This show sucks so bad; don’t watch it.
That’s it, that’s the review.
Okay, no it’s not it, but that’s really all there is to it. Going over the writing, characters/characterization, and acting (and literally every other metric you can conceive) we’ll delve deep into the suckiness of this show.
Writing: This show is all over the freaking map, plot and dialogue-wise. The disaster porn of the emergency incidents that happen as well as the weird plot points leaves a watcher reeling. That’s the idea of course; it’s not deep literature, it’s gratuitous. If one were watching this while cooking a complicated recipe and having a phone conversation with a nosey aunt they might be able to enjoy this show because the distraction would be just enough to temper the wild ride this show tries to take you on. They’re trying to have deep interpersonal relationships/lives depicted here, but it’s all just fluff for the next explosion/mercury poisoning/tornado.
Characters/characterization: Listen, I love some good representation as much as the next person; in fact I think TV on the whole needs a whole lot more of it. So if you told me that there was a show with lead characters who were gay, muslim or trans I’d be excited. We need more of that on television; but lord not like this. Sure, it’s a step in the right direction at a surface-level but any depth is washed away by the use of minorities as checklist. It’s positive discrimination and the whole team feels little like a Five Token Band. Sure, the characters are fun, but their identities are treated as a prop instead of part of a whole human being.
This is especially prevalent with Marjan. The show literally shows her losing her hijab in one of the episodes and it “going viral”. It’s bizarre; they dramatically show her hair lose and in the wind, but make sure to show all the men around her ‘forming a wall’ to protect her modesty as she puts her scarf back on — technically that’s what you’re supposed to do, but the people behind the camera didn’t deign to do it. It’s performative and felt so weird.
Every character is one-dimensional. The Captain’s personality can be boiled down to ‘likes his hair/skin’ and ‘has a terminal illness’. His son is ‘heartbroken gay kid’. Liv Tyler’s character has an entire plot of trying to find her missing sister and going to a witch doctor for help, and could be very interesting, but she comes off as flat and personality-less.
Acting: God the acting sucks. The writing is hard to deal with, but the melodrama the actors bring to it isn’t much better. Rob Lowe jumps back and forth between a serious captain and a jovial ‘not so old’ guy with a skincare regimen. Liv Tyler’s character is described in dialogue as being cocky and confident, but those are the last words I’d use to describe her character. She’s still soft and Arwen-y and it just doesn’t work here.
So I think it’s safe to say I hate this show. Like it’s predecessor ‘9-1-1’ it’s really just a vehicle for crazy disaster sequences sandwiched between weird spin-the-wheel plot points. I hate being negative, I really do, but this is just bad television.
But here’s the silver lining for all my writing friends; if this can get made, maybe your project will get made too.
No stars. Even for Sam Seaborne.
EDIT: Of course it’s Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck. Everything they write is weird. Have they ever had a human interaction before? Have they ever done in-depth thinking? No. No they have not.