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Viewers are preparing to say goodbye to FX’s drama series Rescue Me, which debuts its final season Wednesday night.
The show, starring Denis Leary as a loose-cannon firefighter affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will air nine episodes in its seventh season.
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The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley argues that Rescue Me is good — but could have been better.
“The FX show is a well-made, enjoyable series that was created with the best of intentions but somehow never quite rose to greatness,” she writes. “That could be because, for all the show’s earthy candor and scathing wit, it’s a soap opera at heart. And not just because of all the melodrama — and there has been a staggering piling on of violent deaths and torrid affairs. Every bit of dialogue, even a light one, has a heavy linear purpose, whether it’s an eloquent, uninterrupted soliloquy from a reproachful wife (or mistress) or a one-liner tossed around the firehouse.”
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The Chicago Sun-Times critic Mike Tomas gives the premiere episode three-and-a-half stars.
“The melding of comedy and drama is as deft as ever,” he writes. “Not since MASH has a show been so adept (albeit in an edgier and more graphic way) at eliciting belly laughs and tears, shocked amusement and unsettling horror.”
David Hinckley of the New York Daily News admits the show isn’t an easy one to watch as so many of the characters have issues, including Tommy (Leary).
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“He has no monopoly on anger among this crowd, though, which is one reason Rescue Me can be a hard show to watch,” he writes. “The reason to watch anyway is that it can also be rewarding on levels you rarely find in television drama.”
USA Today’s Robert Bianco praises the writers for refusing to let their characters forget 9/11. He calls the decision “important, and yet for some, off-putting.”
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He also praises the actors and actresses in the show.
“Leary is working with a fabulous cast, which is why he and co-creator Peter Tolan can dance so nimbly between realism and surrealism, drama and comedy,” he writes. “This is a show that can make you laugh at the crew’s attempts to help John Scurti’s Lou pass his physical without letting you forget that someone may die, or Tommy may explode, at any moment.”
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Kelly West of Cinema Blend has seen all but the final two episodes of the season.
“There are a number of intense moments throughout the season, including one particular fire scene that will have you on the edge of your seat,” West writes. “This is the last season, and Rescue Me is already a series with a body count. Given the nature of the work Tommy Gavin and his colleagues do, anything can happen and it’s entirely possible that not all of these guys will make it out of the show alive. Tension is running high, but in the grand tradition of Rescue Me, it’s cut nicely with humor and the sense that beneath all of the drama, these characters really are family.”
Rescue Me airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays. The finale will air Sept. 7, timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
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