When it comes to murder investigations, we expect thrilling plotlines, captivating characters, and a sense of intrigue that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Unfortunately, the Apple TV+ series City on Fire Review created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie brutal falls short of these expectations. Adapted from the novel by Garth Risk Hallberg, this crime drama set in 2003 promises a gripping narrative but ultimately disappoints with its uninteresting investigation and shallow treatment of central themes. Let’s delve into the reasons why City on Fire fails to ignite the screen and capture its audience’s attention.
The Disappointing Investigation
One of the key flaws of City on Fire lies in its handling of the investigation itself. Rather than focusing on the mystery and building suspense, the series seems disinterested in unraveling the truth behind Samantha Yeung’s shooting. In fact, for the first half of the season, the victim’s friends show little concern for her well-being, raising questions about their emotional investment. This lack of engagement from the characters makes it difficult for the audience to invest in the outcome of the investigation. Furthermore, when new suspects are introduced, their portrayal veers into caricature, detracting from the credibility of the plot.
Lack of Character Development
City on Fire also falls short in terms of character development. The two detectives assigned to the case, McFadden and Parsa, fail to establish a meaningful presence throughout the series. They are neither fully fleshed-out individuals nor compelling plot devices. The occasional glimpses into their personal lives lack follow-up, leaving viewers detached and disinterested. Without a solid connection to the detectives, the audience finds it challenging to form an emotional bond with the story and its outcomes.
Superficial Treatment of Central Themes
The series attempts to explore important themes such as gentrification, addiction, and post-9/11 America. However, City on Fire’s treatment of these subjects lacks depth and nuance. The portrayal of addiction, for instance, merely scratches the surface, presenting a simplistic view without delving into the complexities and struggles faced by those affected. Similarly, the show’s examination of gentrification focuses primarily on the experiences of affluent characters, neglecting to shed light on the true consequences and hardships faced by marginalized communities. By glossing over these critical issues, City on Fire misses an opportunity to engage its audience and provide meaningful commentary.
Dependence on Coincidences
Another major flaw of City on Fire is its heavy reliance on coincidences to drive the plot forward. While a few coincidences can add intrigue to a story, the series takes this narrative device to an excessive level. Episode after episode, the audience is bombarded with unlikely occurrences that strain credibility and diminish the characters’ intelligence. This overuse of coincidences not only hampers the engagement of the viewers but also undermines the integrity of the detectives’ investigative abilities.
Regan’s Storyline Shines
Amidst the shortcomings of City on Fire, there is one shining aspect—the character of Regan, portrayed brilliantly by Jemima Kirke. Regan’s multifaceted nature and her interactions with various members of the cast bring depth and complexity to the series. As a wife, mother, businesswoman, and supportive sister-in-law, Regan embodies the range of experiences that make her storyline compelling. However, even Regan’s arc suffers from poor execution. The series reveals crucial information about her past too late in the season, ultimately undermining her character’s agency and falling into outdated tropes of a bygone era.
Failure to Convey the Gravity of Tragic Events
City on Fire’s most significant failure lies in its inability to convey the gravity of the tragic events at its core.
When a young girl gets shot in the head, it should create a seismic event that shakes the foundation of the story and evokes genuine concern from the audience. However, the series treats this horrifying incident with a surprising lack of emotional weight. The tone remains unaffected, failing to elicit the appropriate response from viewers. This indifference undermines the impact of the storyline and leaves the audience feeling disconnected and uninvested.
Sum It Up!
City on Fire Review falls short of its potential as a gripping crime drama. The lackluster investigation. Underdeveloped characters, superficial treatment of central themes. Reliance on coincidences, and failure to convey the gravity of tragic events all contribute to the series’ downfall. While Jemima Kirke’s performance as Regan offers a glimmer of hope, it is not enough to salvage the overall disappointment. City on Fire had the opportunity to tackle important societal issue. And deliver a captivating narrative but ultimately failed to deliver on its promises.