Ironside -- This Will Probably Be The Last Episode I Blog
The stories just aren't that interesting
I was appalled and thought it was ridiculous when I first heard they were doing a reboot of Ironside. When I didn't have anything to watch on Wednesday nights at 10 I decided to give it a shot. But this week when the show got interrupted for a special report, I realized I wasn't even able to follow along with the plot. Due in large part to the stories just not being that interesting.
ME-TV has started showing old reruns of the original Ironside show and the thing you immediately notice is how lightly lit it is. It generally begins with a beautiful shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. And the scenes are also lightly lit. The new show is dark and dingy. It gives the show a kind of hopeless feel. You definitely don't get a real good feeling about this show even when the cases have been solved.
As I said, I have a hard time following the cases. I had no problem following Lost, but the cases just aren't that interesting that I kind of lose track what's going on in them and what suspects are who. When NBC interrupted to announce the government shut-down was over I realized I had no idea what was going on in this episode's case about some gambling thing. I think my mind just wandered off because it was so uninteresting.
The characters are also uninteresting. The Holly character was apparently molested and has mob ties. Neither of those things help to make her a more interesting character. Her character just seems kind of bland.
This episode we learned Teddy was from a wealthy family, so I guess they gave him Eve Whitfield's character background. While Holly is supposed to be the new Mark Sanger with her criminal ties. And Virgil gets to be Ed Brown.
Probably the worst character is Ironside, himself. I don't know why they have him in a wheelchair since he's hopping in and out of it thanks to his incredible muscle strength. He also can have sex, apparently, as witnessed by him messing around with a girl in his chair.
There was another old show featuring a detective that was handicapped. It was called Longstreet where the detective got blinded in an explosion that also killed his wife. That might have been a better idea. That way when you see Blair Underwood getting his groove on people wouldn't be asking how can his equipment still work when he's paralyzed?
The back story of Ironside being paralyzed because he was shot by his own partner wasn't a great twist, either. And the weekly flashbacks to pre-paralyzed Ironside aren't that interesting. Nor was it a great thing that the police department wanted to dump Ironside after he was shot and he had to sue them to keep his job. In the original Ironside was respected and treated with respect. The police provided him with a van he could get around in and with people as a support team since they didn't want his career to be over because he couldn't walk any longer.
The changes they made for this show weren't good or positive. When I think of the show I think of it as a dark mean little show. Really unpleasant really with none of the characters being very likable. I'm really surprised Blair Underwood agreed to do this show. From what I've seen the scripts just aren't that good.
[Update: As I'm writing this blog, I just discovered that NBC has cancelled Ironside. I was going to give it til mid season before they pulled the plug on it. It seems the episode that made me give up on it, episode 3, is also the episode that made NBC decide to cancel the show. So I guess I really won't be blogging another episode of this show.]
So now that's it's been cancelled, could anything have made this show work? Maybe making it a new show about a paralyzed detective instead of trying to remake an iconic show might have helped. It would have stopped the constant comparisons to the original. Maybe also decide if Ironside was a guy who would break the law to get justice for the victims of crime or a user of victims all so he can solve his case.
He used Holly to manipulate that teen who'd been on the run from her molesting stepdaddy to tell what she saw when The Ripper attacked. He didn't really come off as giving two bits about what this girl had been through. Meanwhile in the first episode he lied that he thought the woman that killed herself was murdered and made sure the people he blamed for her taking a leap off the building were punished. You can't have it both ways.
It was the same with him being paralyzed and stuck in a wheelchair. Even though he was bound to a wheelchair they tried to write him like he wasn't. Having sex in his wheelchair, being able drive his own car, and being able to pop out of his chair at will because of his incredibly upper arm strength. The character was all over the place.
In short, this show was one big hot mess from beginning to end.
Maybe it's time NBC stops trying to do reboots of old shows. None of them have worked. The Hawaii Five-0 reboot worked because they kept some essence of the original show. They kept the opening theme song. And they showed the cops off duty having an actual relationship with each other. Most importantly they kept the beautiful scenery as part of the show which is a large part of what made the show.
I've liked Blair Brown as an actor since I first saw him on One Life To Live as Bobby Blue. Here's hoping the next show he gets into is a lot better than this one was. Rest In Peace, Ironside. You'll forever live on in reruns with Raymond Burr as this one quickly fades into oblivion.