TV Just Got Hot, Hot, Hot

Chicago Fire, NBC

This last Wednesday, women’s TV got a little more exciting. NBC’s newest show Chicago Fire is an hour long drama centered on the Chicago Fire Department and their lives in and out side of the department.

Chicago Fire puts House’s Jesse Spencer front and center. An under appreciated actor, his wide range was not shown as the too cute Aussie on Gregory House’s team. On his new drama, TV viewers will get a look his dramatic chops that are unknown to those that haven’t seen Swimming Upstream (It’s on Netflix instant streaming; watch it now!). And, yes, he can perform as the main center of the show. Take that Jennifer Morrison!

The pilot is more than just a fire department procedural. Each character has a rich story and issues in their lives. It is this character development that gives the show its sticking power. The fire sequences are fun and exciting and are changes from watching police chase criminals on foot or wheels. The two components make it a unique addition to the network television. Plus, it adds a little more beef cake in a world centered on big busted women with little butts.

As the pilot opens, the Chicago Fire Department is on site at a fire in progress. The fire squad and the rescue squad are trying to fight the fire when they loose one of their own. This leads to tension between the two squads as each captain tries to deal with the after affect of the event. Lt. Matthew Casey (Spencer) in charge of the truck team and the Rescue Squad’s Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) blame one another and can’t wait seem to find a good working relationship. But all the team members have more than just work drama in their lives. Casey is going through a separate from fiancé, Severide is battling some kind of pain, and seasoned fire fighter Christopher Herrman has a house that been foreclosed as well as on the job injuries. Watching each of these men and women deal with their trails and then put them aside as they trying to save the lives of many citizens is inspiring. It reminds me there are things in this world bigger than ourselves, especially fire.

One of the best aspects of the show is the variety of cast members. In a culture where having a minority or two is the norm; the show seamlessly integrates characters of gender, orientation and race as a tight group of close nit friends. Except for one odd explanation of homosexuality, the combination does not seem forced and contrite nor does it seem like the show is jumping on the “cool minority” bandwagon (the variety is not for humor or spectacle).

As a woman, I have been more and more excited that TV and film are going after the female demographic without movies and shows just being a crying cheese fest. What Magic Mike did for movies, Chicago Fire is doing that on a smaller scale. I read a complaint that the promo poster was a Chippendale ad. That’s the point. Expressing women’s sexuality with soot smugged or toned shirtless firemen is new to network TV. Cable has long taken advantage of women’s desire for good looking men in shows like Nip/Tuck where you know if a gorgeous guest star was on he would see his butt (including my high school crush Mario Lopez and Bradley Cooper) to Sons of Anarchy (ask any woman who Jax Teller is, I dare you). Even though it’s still shunned, men should be ready because gender equality is finally coming to TV and films. Networks are finally selling to women and the idea that we are sexual being.

Now that I have spent two paragraphs on the sociological aspect of the show, let get back to the simple thinking that many have when viewing a TV show. Chicago Fire is exciting and character driven and probably the best show NBC has had in years.

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