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“9-1-1” remains strong on a new network

(Photo courtesy of: ABC) “Angela Bassett and Peter Krause star in “9-1-1″.”

Riley Fontana
Connector Editor

Fan favorite fire and rescue show “9-1-1” made its triumphant return on March 14, 2024, for a seventh season. This marks the show’s first season on ABC after six seasons on FOX. After a long off-season leaving fans unsure how the show would be handled, ABC has proven itself a welcome home, not holding back on the drama.

While introducing the main overarching trauma of the season, the writers make sure to bring in every character from previous seasons. Evan “Buck” Buckley is immediately back to serving as a second father to his best friend Eddie Diaz’s son Christopher, Howard “Chimney” Han is having relationship issues with his fiancé Maddie Buckley and the general issues that follow fire station 118.

In a daring choice with the first story arc, fire Captain Bobby Nash and police Sergeant Athena Grant trapped on a sinking cruise ship, ABC has chosen to extend the plot into three episodes. With Captain Nash out on the open ocean, Henrietta “Hen” Wilson has been left as interim captain and while dealing with on-land emergencies she spots Nash’s boat no longer on radar. Hen has to fight for her fears about the cruise ship to be taken seriously and the first two episodes wrap before the coast guard is called.

The episodes end on a massive cliffhanger, leaving viewers hungry for the next episode. This is the main difference between how FOX and ABC are handling “9-1-1”. FOX would have complete arcs in each episode, carrying personal drama over with maybe a two-part season finale, while ABC is stretching more out than fans are used too.

Having a drawn-out first arc is definitely a move to get new viewers invested on a new network. “9-1-1” airs at 8pm right before “Grey’s Anatomy” which should catch the attention of a few drama-loving watchers. ABC has given fans shows packed with main character deaths such as “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Cruel Summer” and “American Horror Story” which has left “9-1-1” fans worried about the fates of the firefighters. While there has not been a major character death in “9-1-1”, its spin-off, “9-1-1: Lonestar”, which is still in contract with FOX, has killed off a few impactful side characters.

So far, ABC is giving fans everything they want out of the search and rescue show, but the network still has plenty of time to disappoint fans. Longtime fans of the series have been generally pleased with the show’s treatment on ABC, but many are still hoping a new network will mean new relationships, new characters and crossovers with other ABC favorites, the biggest ask being “The Rookie”.

The new season has not dug deep into many preexisting dramas from previous episodes aside froma few mentions of Buck’s death and most recent girlfriend, but there is more waiting for the right moment to return. ABC is definitely trying to make the show more accessible to new viewers while catering to the long-standing fans. Overall, the new season is promising and hopefully has a permanent home on its new network.

Overall grade: A

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