May 2, 2014

THE SKED Season Finale Review: “Sirens”


A return visit to SIRENS after having seen its initial episodes revealed that the series, produced and co-created (with Bob Fisher) for US television by Denis Leary, had become even more like Rescue Me without fires, now including that show’s Lenny Clarke and John Scurti recurring as the fathers of the two main characters.  Apart from pyrotechnics, Sirens also lacks Rescue Me‘s scorching drama, which makes it mildly amusing but without much substance.

The season finale, written by Co-Executive Producer Erik Durbin and directed by Richie Keen, almost brought the central on-again-off-again couple of Chicago EMT Johnny (Michael Mosley) and cop Theresa (Jessica McNamee) together in wedded semi-bliss, after a foiled gas station robber shot Theresa in the arm, making her decide she wanted to realize her dream of working at the FBI, and Johnny decide to impulsively propose.  The rest of the episode was about the misadventures of the near-wedding, as Johnny’s buddy Hank (Kevin Daniels), sworn to secrecy, of course spilled the beans, and what was supposed to be a simple City Hall procedure became an increasingly elaborate ceremony in a church that somehow combined worship of Kevin Costner with cockfighting, and with various cast members as participants in the wedding party.  All went, if not smoothly, at least toward a legally binding set of vows, until at the last moment Theresa’s father (Scurti) arrested the priest for his part in the cockfighting ring.

Without even any EMT crises in the episode (Theresa was barely hurt, and the rest were a couple of panic attacks), Sirens felt pretty weightless, just an excuse for some characters to more or less lovingly snipe at each other for half an hour.  The problem with taking all the substance out of Rescue Me and calling what remains a show is that there really isn’t anything left worth attending.  The cast has sharp timing, Mosley and McNamee make a likable couple, and it’s fun to watch Clarke and Scurti go at it again like old times, but without the life-or-death stakes, there’s nothing memorable about Sirens, and it’s all too easy to notice that half the characters sound like Denis Leary.

The ratings for Sirens have been no better than OK, but they look a lot better now that Playing House has made its debut as USA’s other original half-hour, and they’ve held up even after Suits finished its season’s run as the show’s lead-in.  Depending on what other comedies USA has in the works, that would seem to give it a better-than-even chance of a renewal (although if the goal is to find a half-hour compatible with USA’s off-network runs of Modern Family, this isn’t the one).  A Season 2 would be a bit different if it goes forward, as the finale implies, with Johnny and Theresa living together, but it’s not likely to make much more of an impression than it has thus far.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."