I’m a big fan of Ryan Murphy’s work. Yes it’s true that American Horror Story ran off the rails a long time ago, but both American Crime Story and Feud had stellar debut seasons. 911 is a simpler kind of show; it’s a procedural with the routine cases of the week that you often see on network television, but it’s got a stellar cast that’s bound to intrigue (at least at the start).
The cast in question comprises none other than Peter Krause, Angela Bassett and Connie Britton. The two women are AHS veterans, and they deliver excellent work here. Connie is our 911 operator who OF COURSE has her own personal tragedies to deal with, but the actress infuses so much heart into so little screen-time that you can’t but latch on to her. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Angela Basset who brings a whole lot of badassery to the role of LAPD cop Athena Grant (what an awesome name huh?). Naturally she has problems at home to deal with as well, but Bassett is so kickass in the action scenes that I’d watch her do anything. Peter Krause is the least interesting of the three because he’s saddled with a cliché subplot trying to control a hothead recruit, but he still provides enough likeability to make the character work.
911 will certainly live or die based on the strengths of the whacko emergency cases it will be churning out every week. Predictably, the pilot is impressive on this front as we get a baby stuck in a bathroom pipe (it’s as gross as it sounds), a large boa constrictor choking a woman to death, and a thrilling break-in with a little girl vying for her life. I have no idea what episode two will bring, but if the show can maintain the sense of urgency while providing its marvelous cast with dynamic material, this could be a fun diversion every week.
This isn’t high art. It’s formulaic and safe television, but it’s also a heck of a lot of fun and stylishly produced. You could do a whole lot worse!