9-1-1: Lone Star season 1, episode 1 recap – a fun and inclusive network spin-off

January 20, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
3

Summary

Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler lead this inclusive spin-off that opens with enough charisma and promise to just about work.

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3

Summary

Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler lead this inclusive spin-off that opens with enough charisma and promise to just about work.

This recap of 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1, Episode 1 contains spoilers.


Following in the footsteps of FBI: Most Wanted, though at least with a more attention-grabbing cast and contemporary sensibility, 9-1-1: Lone Star makes for a funny spin-off about good-looking emergency services personnel with charisma to spare. In it, Rob Lowe plays New York firefighter and All-American hero Owen Strand, diagnosed early in 9-1-1: Lone Star Episode 1 with lung cancer and despatched to Austin, Texas, to reinvent their struggling fire department after a cold-open disaster.

Lowe’s handsomeness is mined for comic effect in the usually testosterone-driven locker room shenanigans, where he gives a trans man of color, Paul Strickland (Brian Michael Smith), advice on his skincare routine. The cosmopolitan inclusiveness of 9-1-1: Lone Star is taken wholly seriously by the show, which isn’t shy about one of Strand’s mandates being to ensure the department isn’t white-dominated. He even questions his own suitability to the task in those terms: Wouldn’t they be better hiring someone more, you know, diverse? But of course not, because he’s a solid get-things-done man of principle who everyone must respect, and he also has a suicidal, gay, recovering addict son, TK (Ronen Rubinstein), who is in desperate need of relocation. Thus the fire department is quickly staffed by highly capable overlooked diversity hires, including a devout Muslim woman, Marjan Marwani (Natacha Karam), much to the annoyance of PTSD-afflicted former chief Judd Ryder (Jim Parrack).

Liv Tyler is on-hand as paramedic Michelle Blake to provide both jurisdictional arguments and flirty patter with Strand, and they’re a believable double-act. Blake has some personal issues with a dead sister that I assume will be clarified further in subsequent episodes, while Strand gradually succumbing to cancer will be a grounded thread in what is otherwise a relatively light, often funny show about a team of heroes doing the right thing by their community. Further focus away from Strand and on his mismatched band of firefighters will serve the show well going forwards.


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