Pay TV: Thursday, January 17
Chicago Fire, Thursday, Fox8, 8.30pm
JESSE Spencer's come a long way from Neighbours. There's not a trace of the Aussie accent that occasionally came through during his run on House in his portrayal of Chicago fire-truck leader Matthew Casey. That's not to say he's about to win any awards for his performance, and nor will his castmates, but the exploits of the members of Chicago Firehouse 51 make for reasonably engaging television nonetheless, if the first two episodes are any indication.
In the second episode, Casey and rescue squad leader Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) are still coming to terms with the death of firefighter Andy Darden. Severide's developed an addiction to painkillers, discreetly supplied by his roommate, and Casey decides to reconcile with his wife, much to the chagrin of another paramedic with her eye on the truck leader. There are the requisite blazes and emergencies, involving firefighters choking up during meaningful exchanges with their rescuees, and some mildly suspenseful moments, but the fires are secondary to the romantic entanglements of the cast, who are, for the most part, exceptionally good-looking.
As the brooding Severide, Kinney (Lady Gaga's beau) has got the stubble-swagger-steely gaze thing down pat; essentially, it's all that his role requires of him. Handsome family man Casey provides the perfect foil to Severide's bad boy, while the female paramedics, Gabriela (Monica Raymund) and Leslie (Lauren German) could easily moonlight as Sports Illustrated models. Produced by Law & Order's Dick Wolf, it's formulaic but fun summer viewing.
ESPN Docos: 30 For 30, ESPN2, 4pm
Excellent documentary on the American track athlete Marion Jones.
When Weather Changed History, History, 8.30pm
Self-explanatory American History Channel doco.