ABC has declared that its new fall show, Emergency Call is daring. While I guess not airing yet another game show or evening soap opera could be considered daring to the network, I didn’t see anything daring during the show’s first episode. What I did witness was an intense docudrama series that features stranger-than-fiction storylines that you won’t find on 9-1-1.
There is a lot to like about Emergency Call as it is unlike anything else on TV right now. Hosted by Luke Wilson, the real stars of the show all go by first names only and are real 911 call takers. We get to see and hear what it’s like to work at one of these call centers. Unlike how most of us would freak out if someone were to call us asking for advice on what to do when one is being stalked by a giant bear, these professionals are trained to get the answers they need while keeping the caller calm. It’s a tough job where they don’t stop and breathe until the call is over.
Here are the stars of the show:
Unlike other shows, this one doesn’t feature a lot of special effects or reenactments and honestly, there isn’t a lot of physical action. The series totally relies on amazing phone calls to keep the viewer entertained. Given that about 240 million calls are made to 911 call centers every year, there is actually a lot material here.
While all of the callers consider their calls as emergencies, not all of them truly are. The operators aren’t exactly jumping to their feet when the guy with a cat in a tree called in, but they do take notice when one woman says that there is a strange man ringing her doorbell late at night or the little 10-year-old girl who says that her grandfather isn’t breathing. From strange natural disasters to comedic misunderstandings, they are all here. And just when you are about to fall off your seat…they go to a commercial break. We also get a chance to get to know the people answering the phones too. They seem like real, everyday people but these first responders are true superheroes.
I don’t know how long this show will last, but I hope it gets a long run. We could all use some uplifting, real reality TV these days.
Emergency Call airs at 10 p.m. on Monday nights on ABC
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.