The USA Network has made an episode of its forthcoming series Sirens available online. The episode is identified as being season 1, episode 4, “Rachel McAdams Topless“ and is available for viewing on their website or right here:
This series has been a long time coming. I first mentioned it back in June 2011 when news came out that Denis Leary would be producing the US version of Sirens, which is originally a UK show based on the book Blood, Sweat, and Tea: Real-Life Adventures in an Inner-City Ambulance by former EMS blogger Tom Reynolds. We got our first look at the show in December of 2013, and it was finally announced that Sirens would be premiering March 6, 2014.
With all of that said and referenced, let’s get on with the review of Sirens S1,E4 “Rachel McAdams Topless”:
“Why else would a guy, who’s on his death bed, ask three strangers to go to his house and erase his computer history?”
“Maybe he’s a terrorist. Oh my god what if it’s some kind of terror plot! Maybe we should call the FBI or the NSA.”
As you may guess from the dialogue above, the show is basically about what happens when a patient asks the Sirens crew to go back to his house and erase his Internet browsing history. No, that screen shot above is not what happens when the crew reads what people on the Internet are saying about the show (though it may very well could be once it airs), but rather in regards to what they find. Since the episode is themed around content on the Internet and being advance screened on the Internet, I really though that there would be a reference along the lines of two girls only having one cup, but instead they went the already trodden reference of a Horse show. Kevin Smith‘s been there and done that a few times, but this is television so maybe there’s a new audience to be shocked by it.
What I Liked
I liked the opening song. ALOT. I’d really like to download it from iTunes, but I need to know who sings it first. Needless to say when the Premiere airs, I’ll have Shazam at the ready.
I enjoyed the pacing of the show. Many shows either dump you right into it with little or no setup. Other shows take forever to get to the part you want to be and drag the setup out past its prime. In the first segment, you had the setup, they were already on a call, and you had a vague idea of how the next 15 minutes were going to be spent.
I have to freely admit that Michael Mosley as Johnny has the typical New York mentality down. I know the show is set in Chicago, and maybe its the writing, but he delivers a solid sarcastic laced straight faced performance. There’s more than a few people that he reminds me of and I look forward to seeing more of it.
I also really liked Kevin Daniels as Hank, the verbose black/gay medic. Again, he reminds me of a few people with the quick retorts, quips, and business like demeanor.
I’m a little fuzzy on Kevin Bigley as Brian. It seems to be a part that was written to be over the top to begin with as a bit too wholesome new jack. I think Bigley may be going over the top on what’s already over the top, but that could also just be this episode. At first I rolled my eyes at the whole “maybe he’s a terrorist” jump to conclusion bit, but then the more I thought about it the more I realized that probably happens more often than we’d like to admit… jumping from something that’s meh to the world is ending conclusion. I definitely liked the physical humor he performed, specifically while next to the horse.
What I Hated
I absolutely hated how clean, new, and wonderful everything looked. From the rig, to the station, to the patient’s apartments it was all so nice, neat, and orderly that I was disgusted by it. This is something that we see quite often on everything from ER, to Third Watch, to Trauma. Everything is bright, shiny, and practically brand new. The only show that I remember actually getting it right about the state of affairs on equipment for most EMS agencies was TNT‘s one season of Saved.
I hated how safe everything felt. There was literally one scene of them driving, and none of the obvious dangers were there. I get that this is a comedy, but the wholesome safe seeming environment was, in my opinion, a bit too safe.
I hated the lack of backstory I had, but I chalk that up to this being an episode that wasn’t the pilot.
What I Loved
So there’s this scene where the crew sits with Bill Nunn who plays the older, wiser, seasoned, honest, and probably slightly demented medic Cash. He offers up this absolute pearl:
“…but one time, on this job, I done what you fools did. I stuck my nose in someplace where it didn’t belong. See, everybody’s got a secret. So when you go into someone’s home on a call you want to do what you’re supposed to do, save their ass and get them in the rig.”
“The key to this business is minding your business and keeping your minds out of the gutter. Because what you put in your head stays in your head.”
Wow. I wish I had talked to this guy before writing 25 Things They Should Have Taught You In Medic School… But Didn’t, because that would be right up there in the Top 3.
The other thing I loved, Gas Station TV. I loved how they used it to open the episode in a non-EMS setting. It gave Johnny an extra-dimension to the character, but also to the profession. Let’s face it, most of us spend probably 80% of our week in a uniform. Does that define us? To our patients, co-workers, and bosses it often does. The truth is that we shouldn’t allow the uniform to define us, we should be the ones defining the uniform. I love knowing that extra-dimension about the character and it does something else too which is really more important….
Why Sirens Isn’t Trauma, And Why I’ll Watch It Regularly
There is a lot of hesitation in the EMS community about what this show means for us. When Trauma first aired the backlash was enormous for it being unrealistic and full of technical errors. There’s going to be a lot of the same backlash from the tunnel visioned providers out there who don’t realize that this is entertainment and not a training video. There is however a very huge difference between the two shows that I think will be the defining factor for the future of Sirens.
The reason why I’ll watch Sirens is because I can relate to the characters.
That’s really what the show, any show, is looking to do. Connect with people, relate to them, and convey a story. It’s really the same thing we do on a call. We walk into people’s homes, connect to them as they convey the story of why they called, hopefully we can relate to the issue through either knowledge or experience, and then we get them to where they need to be for definitive care. Yes, the steps aren’t quite the same, but at the core it is identical. I couldn’t relate to the characters on Trauma, hence why I hated it as entertainment as well.
I also watch Gas Station TV when I’m fueling up.
For All You Rachel McAdams Fans
Undoubtedly, there will be some visitors who are here because they are fans of Rachel McAdams. I won’t lie, the name of the episode provided perfect link bait for the great search engines of the internet, and I used it. So for those who are here solely for some Rachel McAdams, I don’t want to disappoint you so here’s a nice image of her from Nicholas Sparks‘ The Notebook…
So what do you think of Sirens? Let us know in the comments your thoughts, predictions, and feelings about it…