January 28, 2019  (Web Review)

9-1-1: The Complete Season One

Fox, 3 discs, 437 min., not rated, DVD: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

Network television today is awash in procedurals, and Ryan Murphy’s Fox-aired series adds to the wave by following a team of Los Angeles first responders as they deal with both sudden emergencies and their own persistent personal problems. 9-1-1 operator Abby Clark (Connie Britton) must confront her mother’s slide into dementia, but still fields calls ranging from minor mishaps (people trapped in dumpsters and elevators) to death-threatening crises (plane crashes and building collapses) that her team handles despite their own issues. Sergeant Athena Grant (Angela Bassett) must deal with the emotional stress on their children—including a suicide attempt—when her husband discloses that he is gay. Fire Captain Bobby Nash (Peter Krause) struggles with alcoholism and guilt over an accident that killed his family. One paramedic, Chimney (Kenneth Choi), is critically injured in a car crash, while a firefighter, Buck (Oliver Stark), not only opines that he might be a sex addict, but also later faces an emergency tracheotomy and the theft of his identity. The final episode even falls back on the old chestnut of a supposedly dead man who awakens on an autopsy table. Clearly 9-1-1 is crowded—perhaps overcrowded—with frenzied incidents (a far cry from the comparatively solemn, sedate tone of Jack Webb’s 1970s Emergency! series). But it is not unlike similar popular programs about cops, doctors, firemen, and paramedics, and it does have a stellar cast and solid production values. Compiling all 10 episodes from the 2018 first season, this is a strong optional purchase. (F. Swietek)