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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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TV review: ‘Rescue Me’ fans (and others) will like ‘Sirens’

If you were a fan of "Rescue Me," you’ll definitely want to check out USA "Sirens."

(Two episodes of the series air tonight at 11:01 and 11:32 p.m. on USA.)

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Denis Leary is a creator/writer/executive producer of this new half-hour comedy about EMTs, and it definitely has the same comic sensibility as "Rescue Me." There’s more emphasis on the comedy this time; the show is 30 minutes instead of 60 minutes; and Leary isn’t in it.

But there are similarities.

"Sirens" centers on three EMTs. Johnny (Michael Mosely, "Pan Am") is the leader. He just broke up with his longtime girlfriend, Theresa (Jessica McNamee), who’s a cop. And Johnny has lots of family problems.

Hank (Kevin Daniels) is Johnny’s best friend, an African-American gay man.

And Brian (Kevin Bigley) is the naïve newbie.

The humor is very dark and very light at the same time. Which is a trademark of Leary’s comedy.

"These guys are dealing in life and death in the sense that the people they are about to respond to are either going to live or die, quite often," Leary said. "I think it just brings out a lot of black humor and a sort of morbid approach to the worst could happen to them. It’s an interesting place for comedy."

There are some absolutely hilarious moments in "Sirens." Like when, in the March 13 episode, the guys transport a guy to the hospital and then agree to return to his home and erase his computer’s browser history.

We don’t actually see the porn on the screen, of course, but we do see Johnny, Hank and Brian’s horrified reactions to what they see.

No, this is not a show for children. Obviously.

Leary said that, despite the obvious similarities, the goal is to make "Sirens" the "reverse thing" from "Rescue Me."

"On ‘Rescue Me,’ it was a very heavy show that we occasionally stuck the knife in and it made you laugh unexpectedly," he said. "And here, a couple times during the season, you’re going to be laughing your ass off and all of a sudden feel an emotional jolt."

The caveat to all this is that USA did not make the first episode available to critics. Tonight’s second episode is good, as are two upcoming installments — but it’s a little weird that we didn’t get the pilot.



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