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Apparently, I have a very controversial opinion when it comes to this season. While deemed critically average and negatively reviewed by audiences, I have found myself more and more invested in this series until its final episode.
It may not be the most accurate show, but how many of these shows are terribly realistic? Medical shows like House and Grey’s Anatomy are nowhere close to depicting real-life residencies. Cop consultant shows make us believe that you can work as a honourary detective if you have a special skill that supersedes years of training and hard work in the field. Heck even Chicago Fire isn’t realistic about their firefighting situations. That’s because this is television and when reality won’t make good TV it’s replaced with good old-fashioned workplace drama and Hollywood hyperbole.
The main story of season one revolves around surgical resident Ben Warren’s (Jason George) transition to firefighting as he becomes the newest rookie of Station 19. However, the station’s leadership comes into jeopardy when Captain Pruitt Herrera (Miguel Sandoval) goes down during a call. As each of the firefighters deal with their own personal and professional struggles, the vacant captain position leads to a heated rivalry between Pruitt’s second-in-command Jack Gibson (Grey Damon) and his daughter Andy Herrera (Jaina Lee Ortiz) who have to put aside their past romantic relationship to do what’s best for the station. Everything comes to a head when the crew is sent out on their most dangerous call yet as everyone’s pushed to their limits.
Station 19 is the fiery cousin of Grey’s Anatomy. It may be more brawn than brains, but it still has the same soapy, sexy drama typical of a Shondaland show. Initially, it seemed to be centered around the transitioning career of Ben Warren, a fan favourite on Grey’s Anatomy, but that would divert from the standard Shonda show tropes. Soon enough the real protagonist was revealed and thus began the checklist of what to expect in a Shondaland show. Strong female protagonist? Check. Love triangle? Check. A workplace full of smart, attractive people? Check. A life-altering choice that would change the course of these characters’ lives? Check.
In a shortened season like this, every minute is crucial in creating a strong memorable story. For the first few episodes, Station 19 lacked the decisiveness needed in setting up its universe. It may be a spin-off of a longstanding series, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t use every moment to flesh out its entire cast. Instead, it focuses mainly on the new protagonist Andy Herrera, her relationship with her father Captain Pruitt, her secret relationships with Gibson and childhood friend Ryan and the career change of Ben Warren. While these are important aspects of the season and major influences on the dynamic of the station, it neglected the other crewmembers setting them up as one-dimensional archetypical background characters.
However, towards the middle of the season this dynamic shifts as each of the seemingly unimportant pieces of the crew get their own time to shine showing the strength of this cast and that these characters are more than just coworkers, but a family. Each character is struggling with something, professionally or personally, and they try to battle through it with some being more successful than other. The actors, led by Jaina Lee Ortiz and Jason George, do a great job in creating this strong, charismatic crew which helps in setting up a truly devastating finale.
The atmosphere of this show is like any other Shondaland show. Just like with Grey’s or Scandal, Station 19 throws you right into the middle of its fiery atmosphere. Replacing the OR or White House is fire-filled buildings and roadside emergencies putting these characters in the highest stake situations yet. Now of course the elephant in the room for this show is it lacks authenticity.
Sometimes the characters do things for the sake of drama rather than for logic. Sometimes the science doesn’t make sense and the characters solve situations in ridiculous ways. That’s because just like any other Shondaland show, this show is filled with romanticized drama. Smashing a fire truck through a garage door would solve everyone’s problems, but it doesn’t allow the trapped characters to have near-death epiphanies. It’s all about the drama, just look at the entirety of How to Get Away With Murder and try to apply logic and believability to it. It takes the enjoyment out of it, suspend disbelief.
This season of Station 19 is a thrilling Shondaland drama that may have changed the workplace setting, but continues to use the familiar tropes that have made these shows so successful. The show’s lack of realism can detract some viewers who expect authenticity, especially in the specific calls these firefighters deal with, but the hyperbolized Hollywood situations are as believable as most hour-long dramas. With some strong performances and investible characters, Station 19 should be able to burn long and bright for seasons to come. From its fleshed out characters and fiery atmosphere, this show fits right into the recently vacated Scandal spot in the Shondaland schedule so it’s worth the watch.
What did you think of Station 19? Was the finale a shocking and satisfying end to this short season? Let me know in the comments!
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