No one can deny that in the last ten years there has been a revolution in the world of basic cable television. The programs that air now are generations ahead of what the landscape used to be. And this summer we will see the end to one of the programs that ushered in that change, Rescue Me.

Yes, sadly the boys of Ladder 62 will be hopping into the rig for the final time come the end of the season, but from what this reviewer has seen so far (seven of the nine episodes), the show has no plans in riding of quietly into the sunset.

When we last left the boys, Tommy and Janet were back together, Lou was on the verge of losing everything due to his health and Damien was paralyzed from the next down thanks to a miss-step involving a falling table saw.

What the final season seems to be promising (aside from resolution) is the focus of the show being put back on to the reason the show was originally created, September 11th. With the tenth anniversary of the tragic day looming over everyone’s head, many of the boys will begin to question their role in the FDNY and more importantly, where all their lives are headed in the near and distant future.

Unfortunately, because the season is only nine episodes long, even giving away a single scene to help you decided on whether or not to watch the show, would most likely result in a major spoiler. But that problem is also the show’s greatest weapon. What everyone will be seeing this year isn’t so much a final season, but rather the 2nd act of a play that began last year with season six. Because of the fact that last season and this season were written and filmed in one straight shot, it really doesn’t feel like season is beginning. In other words, if you aren’t up on the show, not is not the time to start.

What I can tell you is that this season gives the viewer a much more intimate view of the character’s lives and their struggle to maintain their sanity. And while it may seem like this last year is going to be all about drama, I can promise there are plenty of dirty jokes and amazing one liners to satisfy all sides of the show’s fan base.

Even in the face of terrible tragedy, Rescue Me has always been able to manage spouts of glorious humor that make the tragedy easier to handle. Both for the viewer, and for the characters that are fighting the giant fires every week.

In the end, Rescue Me will go down as a show that not only (along with The Shield) helped reshape and entire television network, but also a show that gave an entire nation the outlet it needed to deal with the tragedy that has befallen it so many years earlier.

Come September 7th, don’t be surprised if everyone sheds a tiny tear for the final moments they will get to spend with Ladder 62 and the men that made it so memorable.

The final season of Rescue Me premiers TONIGHT at 10pm on FX.

Want to read more Channel Guide? Of course you do.

To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.

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