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‘It Was Brutal And Physically Exhausting’: Oliver Stark Looks Back At 9-1-1’s Tsunami And How It Compares To Season 7’s Epic Cruise Ship Crisis

9-1-1 finally arrived on ABC in the 2024 TV schedule, and the drama definitely isn’t starting small. The Season 7 premiere was the first of a three-parter with Bobby and Athena in a cruise ship crisis, while their fellow first responders are hard at work back in Los Angeles. Their attempt at a honeymoon is set to get even more hellish in Episode 2 on March 21, and Oliver Stark spoke with CinemaBlend about the three-parter and how it compares to what Buck went through with the tsunami back in Season 3.
It was clear as soon as the trailer released for Season 7 – which is the first on ABC after 9-1-1 was cancelled by Fox back in May 2023 – that Bobby and Athena’s emergency on the high seas was likely to at least rival the tsunami that got Season 3 off to a stunning start in 2019. Prior to the premiere (available streaming via Hulu subscription), Peter Krause, who plays Bobby, compared the cruise ship three-parter to The Poseidon Adventure and previewed that it “eclipses everything, even the tsunami episodes” that came before.
So, when I spoke with Oliver Stark ahead of Episode 2 – called “Rock the Boat” – I asked the actor about starring in the tsunami arc and 9-1-1 going even bigger for the cruise. The Buck actor explained:
Listen, I have the fondest memories of shooting the tsunami stuff. It was brutal and physically exhausting, but it’s something I’m so proud of. My own work in it, but also the work of production as a whole, and I think we really pulled that one off, which is difficult to pull something of such scale off on network television. But I do agree, and actually I think the cruise ship is bigger.
As 9-1-1 fans undoubtedly remember, the tsunami arc was cinematic in scale and nearly killed both Buck and Christopher. The show quite literally went Titanic to pull it off back in 2019. It was a massive undertaking for Oliver Stark, so it’s no surprise that he’d describe it as “brutal and physically challenging.” With Peter Krause spending a lot of time in wet suits for the Season 7 three-part premiere, it’s safe to say that he and Angela Bassett were going through their own challenges this time around! Stark continued:
I don’t think it’s the biggest since the tsunami, I think it is one step bigger, with some of the sets that have been built for this thing and the effort. Listen, we’ve been making it for three months, just these episodes. So it’s a really huge feat to pull off, and I’m excited. I haven’t seen Episode 2 and 3 yet, so I’m excited to see what they are.
For the cruise crisis, the 9-1-1 team built what Peter Krause described as “the industry’s largest roll room” for the casino set on the ship, which really makes it easy to understand the comparison to The Poseidon Adventure. Based on Oliver Stark’s comments, he had a lot in common with any 9-1-1 fans who were already dying to see what comes next when the final credits rolled with a tropical storm blowing in and pirates boarding the ship. His viewing experience of Episode 1 was definitely unique, though, as he said:
As soon as Episode 1 finished airing, I watched it with Kenny Choi and Ryan Guzman, and we were all like, ‘I want to see 2 and 3! I want to know what they ended up looking like!’ So we are just as excited as I hope the audience is.
Oliver Stark watched the Season 7 premiere (including the sequence that terrified Peter Krause) alongside two of his 9-1-1 cast mates, with Kenneth Choi playing Chimney and Ryan Guzman playing Eddie. All three of their characters were still back on dry land in the premiere; whether they end up out to sea to help Bobby and Athena remains to be seen. Based on the promo for Episode 2, the duo may need all the help they can get! Take a look:
Tune in to ABC on Thursday, March 21 at 8 p.m. ET for the second episode of 9-1-1 Season 7, followed by Grey’s Anatomy at 9 p.m. and Station 19’s final season at 10 p.m. 9-1-1 will hit the 100-episode milestone in the seventh season once the cruise ship three-parter comes to an end, so be sure not to miss what’s coming up!

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