So, as promised, here is my kinda review of the TV series Chicago Fire. I started watching it on a Monday and finished watching all seasons on Friday, so five days…yes, I did not have much to do on those days and even if I had, I would have been so down because of it.
I love this show and I really regret not watching it earlier. So, here is a review and some information about Chicago Fire and why you should try and watch it.
Side note: I try not to include any spoilers …if there are any I will put a warning in front of the paragraph.
First off, let me start with an introduction of the show. The show is about the fire fighters and paramedics assigned to Fire house 51. There are the people from Truck 81, Engine 51, Squad 3, Ambulance 61 and their Battalion Chief. It sounds amazingly complicated when you hear it in the beginning but you will get used to it and the technical terms soon (although I needed so long to understand what a PIC in an ambulance meant. If you don’t know, it’s the Paramedic in Charge of the two paramedics in the ambulance…simple and still I could only guess in the beginning). It’s about all those people working together and having to cope with the aftermath of a big tragedy in their ranks.
Side note: This is from what I understand after 5 seasons and please correct me if I’m wrong because I have no other experience than the show and google:
- Engine: I still don’t really understand what this car is for…seems like it’s responsible for all the technical stuff related to extinguishing fires…if someone can tell me, please go ahead…
- Truck: The people you call when there was a car crash, someone stuck in a tree, a fire, and so on.
- Squad: Rescue Squad, the people you call when there is a car crash with people stuck inside and not being able to get out at all, when there are people stuck somewhere you cannot get to easily (like hanging from a rope that is hanging from the roof and slowly slipping many many meters above ground)
- Battalion: When there is something big or a structure fire going on, I guess. In the beginning it is only called out when there is something big going on, in the later seasons it’s also called upon when there is a house fire.
- Ambulance: If I have to explain that one, then you should probably go to school again. Primary school.
Important characters are *light spoilers ahead*:
Battalion chief – Wallace Boden: He is the big boss of the house and the people from the fire house are very important to him. He is very respected and seems to have a good and trusting relationship with his Lieutenants (oh darn, this word is hard to write).
Lieutenant for Truck 81 – Matthew Casey: The boss of the truck personal. Reliable and smart. He can be reasoned with but he can also be very strict when you do something really stupid. He cares a lot for his people but also respects it when the Chief decides not to send anyone else into a fire.
Lieutenant for Squad 3 – Kelly Severide: The boss for the squad personal. Strong and smart, he is the youngest to make it into squad ever (I think). He is on bad terms with Casey in the beginning but later on the become good friends. He is a playboy.
Ambulance: Leslie Shay – lesbian and best friends with Gabby and Severide, often gives funny remarks, often in bad relationships – Gabriela Dawson – best friends with Shay and in a kinda romantic relationship with Casey although they don’t act upon their attraction
Other personal: Christopher Herrmann (talks a lot and is like the heart of the whole fire house, family man), Brian Zvonecek (called Otis, funny, gives funny remarks, sometimes talks when he shouldn’t), Randall McHolland (called Mouch, oldest, likes to do relax on the couch, best friends with Herrmann), Joe Cruz (comes from a neighborhood of gangs but managed to leave, cares a lot about others, is easily offended, stubborn), Peter Mills (Candidate – newest firefighter, just came from the academy, talks back a lot)
Side note:…I forgot how big a cast this show has…wow…
The main hook
Let’s talk about the main theme of the show and the reason why I even tried watching it in the first place. Compared to other shows, this one is neither fantasy nor your typical crime or medical show. Chicago Fire is about the Firehouse 51 of the Fire Department in Chicago. Firefighters…well, that’s a non-common theme in TV. At least I haven’t seen it before. This is also the reason why I started watching it…finally. I knew about the show years ago, heard about it around season 2 of the show but I never watched it.
Actually until recently I thought the spin-off Chicago P.D. was the original one and I didn’t know that Chicago Fire was actually the first one in the Chicago franchise (in chronological order: Chicago Fire – Chicago P.D. – Chicago Med – Chicago Justice)
So, I wanted to watch a show with some action scenes and what better show is there than one about firefighters? And I got so much more than just action ^.^
One thing you have to know about all installments of the Chicago franchise is: the writers are amazingly good at creating catchingly interesting characters. There are shows out there with interesting characters but where the main reason you watch it, is the overall storyline or the story itself and less the characters. One pretty known example would be:
Game of Thrones: Some charas in there are so interesting you don’t want them to die ever, but others are just so forgetable you couldn’t care less. 80% of GoT charme is the story and not the charas (although 10% of the remaining is probably all Tyrion Lannister)
Some shows rely more on the character and less on the storyline side. Like,…
The Originals: The Vampire Diaries spin-off show started because of the popularity of the characters (whether that was a good popularity or not but they were pretty known). Now it is one of my favourites although even I admit that the original storyline was kind of overly cheesy and strange. This show relies heavely on the popularity of its characters and only like 20-30% on the storyline itself.
Chicago Fire is…a strange mix. The whole franchise is amazing at creating interestingly compelling characters but the storylines and the plot itself is amazing too. The characters are catching especially because while they stay true to themselves you will notice some changes over the seasons. Some become more mature, some become more passionate, some become friends, some enemies. It’s also interesting because while they do also develop in their profession and their work, they also stay true to being firefighters. The show itself develops in itself and does not try to change everything up (like in high school shows where the people over time go to college – which often ends up with too much change and the cancellation of the show).
This show is like: Interesting characters which develop over the seasons, catching storyline which changes relationships between the characters but the plot in general, thankfully, stays the same.
Side note: And I do know that Chicago P.D. as well as Chicago Med also have some of these catchingly interesting characters you let into your heart and think, oh my god, I wanna know how there life goes on.
One thing I critizise in most TV shows is the decision making in some of them. There are shows where people seem unable to say No to having sex with others while being in a relationship with someone else. There are shows where people do not talk to each other for weeks because they are just too stubborn. There are shows where someone does something stupid and dangerous and everyone decides “ok, let’s keep quiet and no one says anything” which ends up becoming a total chaos and bring even more problems.
Chicago Fire is different and fresh. While they do sometimes behave in a matter where you thing “this isn’t right”, they will make the right decision eventually. As far as I know most of the decisions in the show get some explanation as to why the charas act this way while some problems will be solved on their own. Like being so stubborn and not talking to each other? Yes, happens quite often but maybe because it is about fire fighting – something where you have to rely on each other – they make up or at least find a solution to work with each other. Chicago Fire features amazingly rational and relatable decision-making which I just adore and love. Seriously, even most of the “bad” charas get some reasonable background as to why they act like such bad guys.
Fast pace and fast forward
I admit that I tend to skip over scenes or storylines which annoy me and take too long. There is not a single TV show out there where I haven’t done it…no wait…there is…a few, but mostly my absolute favourites.
Chicago Fire is actually also one of these few. In the beginning, like first season, I spoiled myself everything because I was annoyed with a few storylines. Ok, not with the storylines in general but because I was afraid those storylines would go on for five to ten episodes and never end. I was wrong and after season two I accepted that Chicago Fire was just my kind of show. It features many different storylines over one season and it’s amazingly fast paced. Most storylines take a max. of three episodes and not more. Then it’s something else. This fast pace makes it possible to watch the show without any worries because even if there is something you are annoyed by, it will be done a few episodes after.
Another thing I wanna say, I think it is amazing how there are many of those fast paced storyline are at the same time. You really see the charas struggling with more than one thing at a time and helping each other out even if they have their own problems. It actually seems a lot more realistic than people caring only for one thing and not having any other problems until this one is resolved.
Side note: Please do not confuse storylines with story elements. *maybe spoiler* Like the relationship between Gabby and Casey. It’s a story element that is there for a long time but it’s an element in the background which plays an important role but it’s not a problem that can just be solved.
More than one call
So the characters in the story are firefighters and paramedics and the story is mainly set during their shifts (which are 24h long and then 48h off, most of them have side jobs). SO on their shift they sit in the fire house until they get a call from dispatch so they have to get into action and go out on the call, save some lives, extinguish some fires and try to all come out unharmed.
Something that is surprisingly different than other shows is that this one those not work like the one-case-per-episode system like others. Even in shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Veronica Mars, Supernatural and superhero shows like Arrow, Supergirl and so on, there is a similar system like that. Even if it’s not a one-case-per-episode thing it’s normally a one-problem-per-episode thing. Except for finales where there is like a too many problems-per two or three episodes thing.
Chicago Fire is different. Same as the decision making it seems very near to reality. The firefighters get more than one call per episode and sure some of these calls play an important role for the episode, some don’t. Some calls solve problems between them, some make problems between them, some are important because the firefighters or paramedics get attached to the people they saved or met on the call. And some…some calls are really just 5 to 10 minutes long action scenes which then end with them coming back to the fire house not really mentioning it any further. Just going on a call and it not playing an important storyline later, is something that is totally uncommon for TV shows. And it is something I totally appreciate. It is fresh, it is new and it is something that makes the show even more realistic than it sometimes already is.
Chicago Fire features an interesting cast, a fast pace, catching storylines, action scenes, surprising realism and the family of Fire house 51. I can only recommend this show, it made my favourite TV show list in a week and pushed shows like The Originals, Supernatural, psych, The 100 and Grey’s Anatomy from the top spots. It is definitely my new number 1…
Season 5 finale…seriously????? Argh, I should have waited with the ending of season 5 until fall when season 6 is gonna air…
So this was all, I hope you liked my review. If you have any questions or additions, please comment down below. Read you next time, bye!