Sirens Series Premiere Review: A Healthy Start

By Kaitlin Thomas

Mar 07, 2014

Sirens S01E01/S01E02: "Pilot"/"A Bitch Named Karma"

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 MonkPsych, 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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  • eazy610 Mar 24, 2014

    way to much vulgar language even if it is after 10pm all children are not asleep that early and why is it necessary to use such language the plot can be fulllfilled with out it

  • opinionater9 Mar 17, 2014

    It's not laugh out loud funny..but it's like spending time with a bunch of people you like a lot. By the end of Ep 3 I was looking forward to the #4. I hope it sticks around...totally unpretentious.

  • TheSavvyCat Mar 16, 2014

    Sorry. Maybe it got better after the pilot, which is why the critics liked it, but I put 10 minutes on it, deleted all three that I had, and took it out of my automatic record line-up. Crass does describe it, but that's not what killed it for me. I can do crass as good as the next guy. It was the lack of intelligence in it. Crass for the sake of crass is no more funny than armpit farts. I just seem to be opposite of the trends this season. I'm not liking what I'm supposed to like, and I'm ready to mourn those that appear to be on the brink of cancellation--Intelligence.

  • vampman87 Apr 17, 2014

    I'm 7 episodes in and I must tell you that the show gets a LOT better after the pilot. I showed this series to my mom (who's hyper critical of the shows I watch) and she liked it. Her favorite character is Hank and the episode that she loves is the one where Hank and the others are invited to Hank's ex's gay wedding. MY personal favorite episode is the "dead old lady" ep seen in the promos. We get to actually see more of Voodoo this ep, as she becomes the crush of my favorite character, Brian. (which results in a very uncomfortable scene involving Brian impressing her with a severed finger.)

  • CTHeartthrob Mar 14, 2014

    I just watched an episode... LOVED IT!! It's the first show I've seen since Psych that made me LOL. Like Psych, it has several main characters with wildly different personality and interests that are forced into comedic situations due to their jobs. If "Psych" used humor like this in this season, I think it would not have been cancelled.

    And I love the fact they didn't use another stereotypical queen as a gay male character like "Will & Grace" did.

    It pushes the barriers in several ways, from language and sexual orientation, to porn talk and exposed butt cheeks!!

  • bettywhite7967 Mar 09, 2014

    I was so looking forward to watching Sirens. Now I'm sorry that I did. What was with the stereotypical children with the recue dummies? Fail!!!

  • JT_Kirk Mar 08, 2014

    Oh, and WTF is with this 30-minute format? This isn't USA's bread and butter, it's an odd fit, this show could have been a watchable hour, but with its partner next week being a reality show about Todd Chrisley's household, I really don't see that working at all.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 08, 2014

    Not much meat on this review's bones, but it's accurate. I think what ends up needing to be said however is that it's funny and it's not trying to be "important" or "clever" about it, it's more than a bit raunchy and its characters are just likable enough. I also laughed quite a bit with the pilot, and not just at the easy jokes.

    The gay guy gets a lot of the best lines, he's the opposite of the TV sitcom queen, but lately that "opposite of a queen" thing has been thrown out there to the point where it almost feels like a cliche itself - is an anti-cliche that's getting overused a cliche?

  • GymnastQueenk7 Mar 08, 2014

    I honestly thought these first two episodes were hilarious. If I had to compare it to Brooklyn Nine-Nine (since most critics are) I thought this was much funnier. But of course, I've only seen about half of the B99 episodes and this one just started. I'm curious to see where this goes. I especially enjoyed the fast paced dialogue. One of the reasons why I also love VEEP.

  • opinionater9 Mar 08, 2014

    absolutely love it! great cast, witty dialogue, wonderful chemistry...waitin for thenext one

  • Laserwolf412_XL Mar 08, 2014

    Wait, is Hank gay?! First they barely have any gay characters on TV, and now when they do they're so subtle about it you can't even tell. What are they afraid of?

  • billy389 Mar 08, 2014

    Nothing! WTF? Isn't there enough stereotypical people on TV? Just because someone identifies themselves a part of a certain group doesn't mean it should take up their entire personality. Most people are more complex than that. They have mentioned/ showed it many times in each of the first three episodes that he is gay, so they're not trying to be discreet. They haven't even mentioned the sexuality of the majority of the cast, so they're actively trying to drive it in about his character. Go watch Glee if you want to watch a show full of bad stereotypes.

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