The Weather Channel turns its cameras on a team of pyro-technicians — a.k.a. pyros — who endure exhausting schedules and harsh weather conditions to set off large-scale firework displays around the world. The new eight-episode series Pyros debuts tonight (Tuesday, June 19 at 9pm ET).
An elite team of pyros from Montreal’s Groupe Fiatlux-Ampleman (GFA) are profiled in the series as they travel to exotic locations and are challenged with solving complex technical glitches on the fly with tens of thousands of dollars on the line and thousands of people awaiting.
The pilot episode introduces us to GFA’s Maude Furtado, who runs the operation. Furtado started in the business at a young age, working for her father who was a Canadian pyrotechnic pioneer, and a self-described “mortar-monkey.” In a business where there are no second chances, Furtado and co-owner Eric Cardinal — a playful, easy-spirited pyro hotshot who is also the company’s head designer — employ a seasoned team of technicians and pyrotechs who all share a passion to be the best in the world. Their core crew consists of Sebastien Roy, technical director and co-owner; Philippe Girard, head pyrotech, who says if you see him running you better run; Benoit Berthelet, designer; and Hughes Lalonde, project manager. In the press materials, Girard is also credited for landing a lucrative contract with an African company that takes him into some of the most dangerous pyrotechnic territories in the world where he adds: “In Africa… it’s not safety first … it’s safety third: first money, then firepower and finally, safety.” He’s the audacious one — manning the danger zone and in charge of clean-up details that require him to inspect mortars for live rounds (where an unexploded shell could blow up in your face) — no thanks.
Tonight’s episode follows them after they win a bid to open at the world’s biggest winterfest – Quebec City’s Carnaval. Cameras follow the crew, detailing the painstaking process of setting up over 300 pounds of explosives in extreme temperatures and wind chills. But weather isn’t their only challenge and the series documents the stress, perfection and the pressure involved in the process.
The series provides just enough bang to make it an entertaining, adrenaline-driven, insiders look at the world of explosives.