You may be surprised to learn that none of the four shows making up NBC’s One Chicago franchise have been renewed for another season. It’s especially shocking considering the franchise has grown to be the backbone of NBC’s programming since “Chicago Fire” first aired in 2012. While it is likely all four shows will be picked up, here are five reasons they should be, in case anyone needs convincing.
1. The shared universe
One of the reasons I wanted to start watching the show in the first place was because of the shared universe these shows occupy. Often in series with a shared universe, you see one significant crossover per season and not much more. But One Chicago constantly crosses over from show to show. Besides the couple major crossovers that take place each season in the One Chicago universe, there are always appearances from other characters each week. Whether it is Firehouse 51 taking a victim to Chicago Med, doctors stopping by District 21 to share their input on a victim’s condition, or simply everyone getting together for a drink at Molly’s after a shift, I’ve never felt the guest appearances were forced; they are effortless, organic, and done in the way a shared universe should go about them.
2. The shows might be classified as procedurals, but they are so much more
Each show in the franchise is a procedural, meaning they follow a particular case-of-the-week “formula.” Yet the best part of One Chicago is that it does not stay confined to one-off events. There are overlapping storylines that relate the characters’ personal lives to that week’s case or cases that are not always wrapped up nicely after one week. While the procedural element is always there, the franchise has managed to make a name for itself by thinking outside of the genre’s box when it comes to the stories they want to tell and how they want to tell them.
3. The ships
I have always enjoyed shows with a good ‘ship at its core (I’m a true fangirl at heart, in this way). Therefore, I was so excited to learn the franchise has not just one ship at its core, but three. Dawsey (Casey and Dawson) are the focus of “Chicago Fire,” Manstead (Manning and Will Halstead) are the desired choice on “Chicago Med,” while my personal favorite Linstead (Lindsay and Jay Halstead) are the “it” couple on “Chicago P.D.” While I love scenes that focus solely on the ships, one of my favorite parts of the universe is that these shows manage to work side-by-side without letting their relationships interfere with the work they are doing for the city of Chicago; when it does, they find ways to work through it. For the most part, the relationships on the show are extremely well written, leaving viewers, including me, week-after-week all in their feels.
4. The cast
There are a lot of reasons the casts of these shows are so spectacular. For the most part, the actors were relatively unknown prior to these gigs. Individually they’ve demonstrated their incredible acting abilities while simultaneously creating an exemplary cast chemistry; something that’s indisputable every time they are on screen. Their camaraderie is further evident on social media, as their behind-the-scenes tweets, photos and videos give fans easy access and plentiful laughs. It also doesn’t hurt that these cast members are some of the most attractive people on television. I will admit I sometimes have a hard time focusing on the storylines in any particular episode because the casts are that visually distracting. For these reasons, each actor that takes part in the franchise are now must-watch and must-follow.
5. The possibility for expansion.
One of the reasons this franchise is attractive to so many viewers is that each one of the series focuses on a different element of Chicago. “Chicago Fire” focuses on the firefighters who put out flames and rescue people from danger, “Chicago P.D.” tells the stories of the police who protect the victims and capture the bad guys, “Chicago Med” features the doctors and nurses who work to save lives, and “Chicago Justice” shows the lawyers who prosecute the guilty and defend the innocent. This franchise could continue to expand (and make more money for NBC) if they covered other parts of the beloved city. You could have “Chicago Gov,” which would focus on the inner-workings of the local city government or “Chicago Edu,” which would give viewers insight to the Chicago public school system. If he wanted to, creator Dick Wolf could spin-off a new series every season. While eventually it would reach a point of overkill, I would tune into a couple of new franchise spin-offs, as long as they were created and produced at the same high-level that the current four are.
On NBC, “Chicago Fire” airs Tuesdays at 10 pm EST, “Chicago P.D.” airs Wednesdays at 10 pm EST, “Chicago Med” airs Thursdays at 9 pm EST and “Chicago Justice” airs Sundays at 9 pm EST.