The confident masculinity of “Chicago Fire”
“Chicago Fire,” Dick Wolf’s drama about very attractive firemen and paramedics saving lives, premiered to very poor ratings. In the five months since, something surprising has happened, especially for a show on NBC: “Chicago Fire’s” audience has grown and grown. It regularly beats its premiere ratings, wins its time slot against shows like "Nashville" and "CSI," and in the context of NBC’s ongoing ratings-catastrophe situation, it almost amounts to a hit.
“Chicago Fire” will be instantly familiar to any one familiar with “ER” and its descendants, particularly the attractive first responder show “Third Watch.” For a series hat features people running into fires every week, it is very soothing: you know exactly what you’re going to get. A procedural soap, where the good guys will usually but not always win, where there’s enough moral ambiguity so it doesn’t feel stupid, and most everyone wants to kiss everyone else, but no one really likes to talk about their feelings all that much until they are forced to, and they are often forced to.