In light of all the mandatory sitting at home by ourselves that’s happening right now, I decided to try something I’ve never done before: I actually watched all those cookie cutter crime shows that TV networks renew for decades on end and grandmas watch during daytime reruns for some reason. I often say I “watch everything on network TV except the acronym shows” well NOT TODAY! I tried my hand at one episode each of all the network procedurals on my dvr. Below is my official report on 911: Lone Star.

This spinoff was a midseason replacement this year so it’s barely under way and the episode I watched was the pilot. All that means that there’s absolutely room for improvement and this was definitely not a “standard” episode of Lone Star. But the rules of this game are one episode, first impressions, so it’s my duty to tell you that, at least from what I’ve seen, this show is really really bad. It has none of the fun of its predecessor and is extremely badly cast. Much as I will always love my Mr. Seaborn, I don’t buy Rob Lowe as a fire captain for a second. He’s much too small to begin with and, even with the fun little scene they inserted to insist his character is very serious about skincare, there’s no way that man has spent the last few decades around toxins of any kind. I believe Liv Tyler as a badass paramedic even less with her singsongy voice and wispy ways. The supporting cast is charming enough (Rob Lowe’s troubled son is pretty annoying but I’m just ignoring him for now) but I somehow doubt they’ll get enough to do. This show is obsessed with Rob Lowe as the unshakeable tragic hero (he moved to Texas to save his son! He has lung cancer from clearing ground zero!) and, despite specifically saying that they want to build a diverse firehouse, this is a one-man show and I’ll be shocked if it ever turns into anything else.

There’s a cute scene at the end where this whole crew of out-of-towners go line dancing to get their Texas on but there’s otherwise not much of the original 911‘s fun in the dna of this show. It doesn’t help that it’s all colour treated to look like sludge. I have some hope. I really do like Rob Lowe (we’ll see if this show makes it long enough for him to leave after exactly 4 seasons) and I have a hard time believing that the spinoff will fully throw out everything that works so well about its predecessor. But right now it’s just blind hope because the pilot of Lone Star gave me nothing to go on.