To be fair, Chicago Fire little resembles L&O, which mostly relied on self-contained episodes and focused on characters’ lives at work rather than home. It seems more inspired by War & Peace, with endless rows of characters trooping across the screen like Napoleon’s regiments trudging across the Russian steppes to their doom.
There are firemen — umm, firepersons — who are cheating on their spouses and firemen who are gay and firemen who are bankrupt and firemen who hold grudges against one another and firemen who have sex in the firehouse showers and possibly even firemen who understood the ending of The Sopranos. None of them is very interesting, and it’s actually kind of hard to tell them apart, though it is said that they include Jesse Spencer ( House), Taylor Kinney ( The Vampire Diaries) and Teri Reeves ( Three Rivers).
The CW’s Arrow isn’t really bad, it just is what it is — a comic book. Based on a DC Comics character who goes back to the 1940s and more recently was one of the resident superheroes on The CW’s Smallville, Arrow follows a slightly altered but recognizable mythos in which trashy, club-hopping playboy Oliver Queen is lost at sea for five years and presumed dead.
But he returns with a lot of scars, broken bones and odd semi-super-powers, including the ability to shoot bouncing tennis balls out of the air with a crossbow, which will doubtless come in handy in some future episode in which Roger Federer and Andy Murray turn into arch-criminals.
Arrow has a rather stylish neo-Goth look, and Stephen Amell (who played a dim-bulb gigolo in Hung) neatly balances his portrayal of Arrow between camp and Saturday-matinee ingenuousness.
Fanboys could do worse.