Sirens Series Premiere Review: A Healthy Start
In a somewhat silly move, USA sent out three episodes of its new comedy Sirens for review, but not one of them was the actual pilot. However, I'm not sure that matters, because the show's set-up is relatively straightforward. Based on the U.K. series of the same name, Sirens is a crass comedy about three Chicago EMTs. It was adapted for the U.S. by Denis Leary and Bob Fisher, and it's essentially the reverse of Leary's last show, Rescue Me; while Rescue Me was a serious drama infused with comedy, Sirens is a crass comedy about three Chicago EMTs that adds a little extra weight and depth to the slapstick. It doesn't have much of a premise beyond "paramedics go on adventures and get into trouble," but at this point, it doesn't necessarily need any more than that.
Based on the three episodes of Sirens I've seen—including "A Bitch Named Karma," which aired as part of the two-episode series premiere—it's clear enough that the characters have distinct and memorable personalities, which automatically makes the show stand out among its competition. A series that doesn't require meticulous mental notes to differentiate characters from either a stereotype or a piece of cardboard is a series that's off to a great start. The main trio is comprised of nicely fleshed-out—albeit slightly unhinged—individuals: Johnny (Michael Mosley) is the group's natural leader, and in his personal/romantic life, he's a bit of a commitment-phobe. Hank (Kevin Daniels) is strong, wise, and gay—kind of a "Captain Holt from Brooklyn Nine-Nine" type, but with a much more robust sense of humor. Brian (Kevin Bigley) is the innocent, Hallmark Channel-loving rookie who always follows the rules.
As for the rest of the guys' co-workers, we learned enough about them via a few seconds of exposition to at least tell them apart. Voodoo (Kelly O'Sullivan) enjoys the blood-and-guts aspect of the job so much that she takes pictures of patients and even has a "severed limbs" series. Stats (Maura Kidwell) suffers from OCD and is basically a machine when it comes to reciting facts and statistics. Cash (Bill Nunn) gave himself his own nickname once Cassius Clay took the name Muhammad Ali, because he effing felt like it.
Finally, we have Theresa (Jessica McNamee), Johnny's on-again/off-again girlfriend. We still don't know much her, but it appears that she can hold her own against the guys, even if she's not really all that believable as a Chicago police officer.
Outside of the cast, Sirens' raunchy humor isn't groundbreaking by any means (it's also not surprising, given Leary's involvement in the show), but it doesn't feel tired or cliched, either. In fact, Sirens is one of the first new comedies of the midseason make me LOL in an honest way and not just in an "I'm tired of listening so I hope this'll make you shut up and leave" kind of way. There's no doubt about it, the series will offend some viewers, especially on a network like USA, which has long been home to mostly harmless shows like Monk, Psych, and Suits. But hey, the network has never aired a half-hour comedy before, and Sirens is a nice, bold choice to fearlessly blaze that trail.
What did you think of Sirens' series premiere? Will you stick around for Episode 3?
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