With so many TV shows produced by Shonda Rhimes over the years, it’s hard to believe that Station 19 is only the second Grey’s Anatomy spinoff. With the Ellen Pompeo series still going strong 14 seasons later and Private Practice having a decent six-year run, it makes perfect sense from a network perspective to grow the Grey’s universe a little bigger. Enter Station 19.
Set around the lives of the firefighters of Seattle Fire Station 19, the new Shondaland series doesn’t break any ground nor does it try to. Focusing on Andy Herrera, a Lieutenant at Station 19 who becomes one of the two acting captains after her father, Captain Pruitt Herrera, steps down due to medical reasons, Jaina Lee Ortiz is undoubtedly well-cast in the role. While we’ve already seen her badassery in the backdoor pilot a few weeks back where she had her hand inside a patient, Stuck and Invisible To Me also reveals she is a complete mess when it comes to her love life, which is familiar to anyone who’s seen Meredith Grey in the early days of Grey’s Anatomy. Torn between Jack Gibson, another Lieutenant eyeing the Captain position at Station 19, and Ryan Tanner, a police officer at Seattle PD who was her high school boyfriend, Andy leans entirely on Maya, a friend and fellow firefighter (in other words, her very own Cristina). In addition, here to help bridge both shows for future crossovers is none other than Ben Warren, the rookie firefighter trying to catch up on the new job while maintaining his marriage to Miranda Bailey (the always incredible Chandra Wilson).
Unlike For The People, Shondaland’s other new series, the new addition to the TGIT lineup is not afraid to admit it’s sexy, provocative and fast-paced. Featuring a lead character who is sleeping with two men is not exactly the best way to introduce us to someone we are supposed to root for in a pilot, but luckily Station 19 has a lot more going for it than Andy Herrera. With a strong supporting cast and characters, including The Catch’s Jay Hayden as a gay firefighter who lost his husband in the line of duty, and a couple of intense, fist-clenching scenes of life-and-death situations (that entire blue fire sequence had me on the edge of my seat), ABC has found itself another winning formula that can undoubtedly turn into a weekly guilty pleasure.
That’s not saying this was a perfect landing. On the contrary, there was absolutely no need for a 2-hour pilot when it turned out they were two unrelated episodes rather than one long premiere. In addition, there needs to be a bigger hook to keep us invested in the show apart from Andy and Jack competing for a title, and as much as the weekly cases can be entertaining on their own, there’s already a new, successful TV show about firefighters in a large metropolitan city. Can Station 19 prove it has enough ground to compete with other shows that have a similar formula and still have longterm potential? Only time will tell.
Bits & Flames
– In an attempt to do something new, Station 19 also features these flashes right before every commercial break that reveal a few stills from upcoming scenes. As far as I know from the few episodes of NCIS I’ve seen over the years, that’s not original or necessary at all, producers.
– A message to every working Hollywood writer: enough with the cheesy, unnecessary voiceovers. They are ridiculous and beyond outdated.
– One of the many things that annoy me about Andy is how she wears her Apple Watch over her clothes. Who does that?
– Hilarious moment as Andy’s dad jokes about all the interns at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
– I love Leslie Hope and can already tell Battalion Chief Frankel will become a standout character.
– How disturbing is the baby delivery scene at the school?
– Less exciting is the drama between Ben and his son.
– Heartbreaking sequence as Ben and Victoria recite the teapot song in silence while facing the blue fire. Anyone else see some sparks between these two? Watch out, Bailey!
Quips from the Station
Dean: I know it sounds like an excuse, but the dog actually did eat my alarm clock.
Maya: Soak it in. This is it.
Andy: It’s exciting. And a little messed up that we’re excited for a fire at a school.
The supersized pilot from the masterminds of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal is not revolutionary in any way and will hardly become your next television obsession, but Station 19 is still brainless fun that’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for another soapy firefighter drama.