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CBS Follows Firefighters Procedural Offers Empty Heroes – The Hollywood Reporter


To show the appeal of Max Thieriot, Land of Fire working overtime. Playing as Bode, who enters California’s prisoner firefighter program to get his sentence reduced, he downplays the muscular stature and puppy-like expression of a brooding dog with a heart of gold – and plenty of it. time to show both, thanks to a script that, in the first two episodes, seizes every opportunity to paint Bode as a uniquely brilliant and brave soul.

To be sure, Bode isn’t a saint – we soon learn that the reason he was detained in the first place was that he committed armed robbery. He’s simply a scruffy knight in flame-retardant armor, tailored for audiences to admire and swoon over. Working Gambit Might Be Too Good: It’s Overwhelming The Bode-ness Of All That Land of Fire leaving less oxygen for anything or anyone else, leveling what could be a smarter, more enjoyable procedure.

Land of Fire

Key point

Could use more sparks.

Release date: 9 p.m. Friday, October 7 (CBS)
Cast: Max Thieriot, Billy Burke, Kevin Alejandro, Diane Farr, Stephanie Arcila, Jordan Calloway, Jules Latimer
Production operator: Max Thieriot, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, Tia Napolitano, Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed

Land of Fire, inspired by Thieriot’s own experiences growing up in a fire-prone area of ​​California (he was an executive producer and received the pilot’s “story” credit), found Bode only joined the show as a last resort, after he was rejected. to be pardoned. However, despite his inexperience, he quickly proved a natural. In his first firing, which takes place in the middle of a premiere, he reveals himself to be the type of person who would plunge headfirst into danger to save a stranger, giving direct orders to stay damned. The problem is that he happened to be stationed in his old hometown of Edgewater, where he had fled under mysterious circumstances several years ago.

The series takes the time to map out exactly how all of the major players are connected to Bode, adding a bit of intriguing plot to go with the flame-based episodic storyline. The cast around Thieriot shows potential sparks: Billy Burke and Diane Farr share an incredibly complex chemistry as a couple of fire chiefs whose hard-won happiness is threatened. threatened by secrets that Bode threatens to reveal, while Jordan Calloway and Jules Latimer make an elite BFF firefighter couple trade encouragement and dating advice amid emergencies.

But they are frustrated by a script that sounds too often like a first draft waiting for some nuance and personality to define its core ideas. Land of Fire maybe take a moment to explore the mentality of firefighters – what drew them to such dangerous jobs in the first place and what makes them so great at it , as well as personal losses whose continued danger could take a person’s life. Instead, it’s simply for Eve (Latimer) to observe Jake (Calloway) disliking the commitment, “We’re afraid to get close to anyone because what if we do and we die.” It was a profound idea, but not when it was so baldly stated.

At least Jake and Eve’s inner lives are worth it some Consideration. Land of Fire Remarkably spent so little time or attention on the all-inmate fire brigade that Bode ostensibly spent most of his time. The only exceptions are Freddy (W. Tre Davis), who plays as comic relief for another face-to-face show, or as Goofus to Bode’s Gallant. The rest remains an anonymous, interchangeable collection of faces around Bode. (And lest you assume that could change as the season progresses, Davis is even credited as a recurring guest star rather than a series regular.)

It was a missed opportunity to learn the specific experiences of California’s prisoner firefighters – to examine the relationship between professional firefighters and their incarcerated friends. , or to ask program participants how Not Angry heroes forced to return to their homeland can feel about the bargain they have achieved. (Have a brief chat on the prison bus about how relatively good money is – $5 a day, more if there’s a fire – this succinctly generates Land of Fire feels like an advertisement for the show.) Nor Land of Fire has any obvious interest in studying the causes and effects of the steadily increasing fire hazard in California, thanks to climate change.

Perhaps nuanced discussions on such hot issues are too much to expect from Land of Fire, do not pretend to raise ambition comments difficult. Its purpose is to provide the believable pleasure of watching kind, handsome people overcome adversity in 45 minutes or less, while sometimes being drawn into the gripping personal drama. . That, it completes with ease – the first two parts alone include a car crash, a light storm, an attempt to rescue a baby, and a race against time to save a baby. dying man. In the real world, fires can wreak havoc unpredictably, leaving a lot of room for error.

In Land of Fire, the fires seem to come from nowhere, and their aftermath descends on the screen for characters we don’t see enough to care about. They are immoral forces of nature that our characters have no trouble confining to the edges of our TV. It’s a kind of comfort.

However, Land of FireIts madness also undermines the more personal topics it wants to grapple with — namely those of forgiveness and second chances. At the end of episode two, Bode’s boss Manny (Kevin Alejandro) emphasizes to him that Cal Fire is his chance to perpetuate the “death” some have assumed he’s become, or rise to. rise to be the “man” Manny knew Bode could be, praising Bode for his innate fearlessness, intuition, and leadership abilities.

As advice goes, it’s not terrible. But it is said that Manny only offers it to Bode, while surrounded by an empty prison cell reminds us that Bode is one of many. While Bode worried that his redemption would be unlikely, Land of Firedecided by portraying him as a special individual who clearly deserves it – even the promiscuous Jake and heartbroken Vince are drawn as more glaringly flawed, though robbery can be Bode’s armament. Its message could be made more difficult if it tried harder to extend some of that favor to the people who could actually use it.

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