NBC premiered "Chicago Fire" on Wednesday night, the latest project from Dick Wolf, the man behind the long-running"Law & Order" franchise.
Starring Jesse Spencer ("House") and Taylor Kinney ("The Vampire Diaries"), the new series follows the rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51.
In the premiere episode, Lt. Matthew Casey (Spencer) and Lt. Kelly Severide (Kinney) pin the blame on each other for the death of their colleague and friend, Darden. On top of that, Casey is in the midst of a separation from his wife, Hallie (Teri Reeves).
There's also a love triangle in the mix. Creator Derek Haas told E! News, "We set up Monica Raymund's character, Dawson -- she certainly has affection for Casey, who is engaged and repairing things with his fiancee on the show. We're going to throw another peg into that triangle pretty soon."
Does the series work? "Chicago Fire" certainly has a lot of good eye candy, but the series has received mixed reviews from television critics. Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times notes, "In a world without cable dramas, "Chicago Fire" would be considered television at its more compelling and realistic. As it is, it walks the line between shameless entertainment -- hot guys, hot girls, the fires within, the fires without - and intelligent storytelling. Its merits, I will say, are clearer after the third episode than after the first."
Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote, "This alarmingly shallow drama is yet another well-funded network TV mediocrity."
As for Spencer, he told Entertainment Weekly about what attracted him to the show in the first place: "It was kind of one that felt like the right fit. ['House'] was a very cerebral show and it was a really, really really, good show. 'Chicago Fire' was just something different. It's not cerebral. It's more of a character-based show with a lot of action. After eight years of being an intellectual and spewing out medical terms, it was time to do something in the opposite direction."
In next week's episode, titled "Mon Amour," Severide attempts to deal with his own guilt about what happened to Darden.
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