Station 19 premieres March 22nd on ABC.
By Ariba Bhuvad
From the creative team behind Grey’s Anatomy comes a firefighter-based spin-off, Station 19. Grey’s has successfully dabbled in the spin-off game before with the excellent Private Practice, and Station 19 looks to continue their winning streak. The pilot episode proves to be thrilling, exciting, and encapsulates the drama that executive producer Shonda Rhimes is known for.
This week’s premiere focuses on its central character, Andy Herrera (Jaina Lee Ortiz) who is extremely badass in her role as a firefighter, and also the daughter of the station’s captain. Andy’s character was introduced in a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy and immediately captured the attention of viewers with her sassy, fierce attitude. Throughout the pilot, we learn about how strong her character truly is as she grapples with an unwanted relationship with her almost fiance, hooking up with an old friend, and dealing with the news of her father’s cancer diagnosis. This all sets the stage for the season that lies ahead as she decides to put herself in the running to be captain of Station 19 (against the boyfriend who tried to propose to her).
The episode really captures the dramatic core of the story but entertains a comedic aspect to it through Ben Warren’s (Jason Winston George) character. As a reminder, Ben is Miranda Bailey’s husband and made the transition from a surgeon at Grey-Sloan Memorial to a rookie firefighter. Throughout the pilot, Ben has to face the jokes and ridicule of his fellow co-workers who treat him as a joke, especially when he constantly refers to his days as a surgeon. While the audience feels bad for Ben, it is still hilarious to see the lengths to which he goes to get their attention in an attempt to make a place for himself in this new world.
One aspect I truly enjoyed of Station 19 is that while it immediately feels like a Shondaland show, there is something unique and different about its approach. For example, before a series of scenes begins they show a quick montage of what’s to come. Something about this works and gets you excited about the story that lies ahead. I think this was an intelligent move on the writers’ part and makes the pilot intriguing and exciting to watch.
There aren’t many weak moments in the first episode, but given the plot they are trying to follow, there could be trouble ahead if the momentum established here doesn’t keep rolling. And with such a deep connection to the world of Grey’s Anatomy, I hope that it doesn’t rely too heavily on the cameos to make the show interesting, considering Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Miranda (Chandra Wilson) both made an appearance in the pilot. However, I do think they handled the introduction of each character very well, especially that of Andy’s friend at work, Maya (Danielle Savre) who is Andy’s guiding light through her crazy life. Their dynamic is hilarious and fun to watch throughout the pilot and will make for some great moments as the season progresses.
Station 19 proves to make its own place in the world of Shondaland and the pilot episode is a testament to this. The characters are strong, the plot is interesting, and the chemistry of all these elements makes the pilot stand out against other shows like it. I look forward to seeing more of Station 19 and where the story will go from here.
I give Station 19’s series premiere a B+.