Sunday, January 23, 2005

Caught, and to my great surprise enjoyed the first episode of Rescue Me, the Dennis Leary firefighters thing. I've avoided regular watching of these emergency services dramas since I watched the first episode of (I think) series six of ER and realised the show had become all about the misery. And I think this is actually an advantage that the shows that are more standalone (like Without a Trace) have, you can at least tell yourself that between the shows the characters are having a decent enough time that makes them believe that life is worth living.

Anyway, I'd be surprised if I make it to the end of the series. I don't hate any of the characters in Rescue Me, mainly because they aren't interesting enough. Middle-aged, swearing like troopers, with a collection of bad habits, so far, so standard. The only thing that got me through the pilot and made me want to keep watching for now is the fact that Dennis Leary's character, and let's not pretend that Leary has spent the time since Demolition Man learning to act so henceforth he will be referred to as Fireman Dennis Leary, is haunted by friends and family he lost at Ground Zero and by those he wasn't able to save in his job. This does lead to a nice scene where, at the end of the episode, he's on the beach watching the sun rise and then is followed back to his car by the ghosts. Yes, they are explained as his trouble psyche and, to ease the plot there's a psychologist at the station for a while so that, Sopranos-style, he can piece himself back together again and move on, but there isn't much to gain from following the realism line for long so let's just say they are ghosts as that's just more interesting.

US TV Shows from the late 70s and 80s always had one character who'd been in 'Nam. He tended to not have much by way of character (hello Stringfellow Hawke!) but had just 'been in 'Nam'. Short-lived sci-fi TV show Manimal had an English lead, yet even he'd been to 'Nam. I really hope that, in the next decade, we don't have loads of TV shows and movies that use September 11th 2001 and Ground Zero as the launching premise for their shows.


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