NBC's 'Ironside' Reboot Starring Blair Underwood Debuts Tonight. Some Early Thoughts...

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
October 2, 2013 1:21 PM
7 Comments
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The new series premieres tonight, Wednesday, October 2; but NBC did make the entire pilot episode available to watch online, and it's embedded for your viewing pleasure below. 

I did watch it, and, in short, I'll just say that, based on this single episode, this is a new series that I don't think will last more than 1 season. It may not even last through the whole first season, given how anxious networks have become when new shows aren't performing as strongly as hoped for, especially when compared to competition; and how quick they are to cancel said shows.

I know I've only watched one episode, which I want to emphasize. It could be a series that I find more and more appealing with successive episodes. But, based on the pilot that I watched, there's really nothing all-that special about this Ironside reboot that makes it stand out from all the other cop shows on TV currently, and in recent years - other than the fact that the title character is black, as played by Blair Underwood.

But that's not quite enough, when you consider that it seems to be going for something far more gritty, rough and tumble, compared to the 1960s original that starred Raymond Burr, which it doesn't really succeed at, in a cop/detective/crime-solving TV series climate that includes much darker, moodier material in the likes of Law & Order: SVU, the CSI franchise, and others.

It might initially draw an audience for the first episode, because people will be curious. But after that, unless it radically changes, I'm not convinced many will return.

NBC has struck out in the new series department with black leads, over the last 3 or so seasons - remember Undercovers 3 years ago; Deception last season, and now we have Ironside. If I were a black actor courted by NBC in the future to star in a TV series, I don't know if I'd be in a hurry to sign up. 

I'm being facetious of course... 

Blair Underwood's NBC reboot of 1960s/1970s crime drama series Ironside, is described as follows:

In the gritty world of the NYPD, no one's tougher than Detective Robert Ironside. He's a fearless cop who won't stop until the guilty are brought to justice. He and his trusted, handpicked team of specialists will do whatever it takes to solve New York's most difficult and notorious crimes - even if it means breaking the rules. Tough, sexy and acerbic, Ironside's never been afraid to call it like he sees it. As a detective, his instincts are second to none, and those around him have to stay on their toes if they want to keep up... because when his spine was shattered by a bullet two years ago, Ironside swore he'd never let a damn wheelchair slow him down.

The cast includes Spencer GrammerBrent SextonPablo SchreiberNeal Bledsoe, and Kenneth Choi.

The series is written and exec produced by Michael Caleo (Rescue MeThe Sopranos), and exec produced by David Semel, Teri WeinbergJohn Davis, and Jon Fox.

Tune in tonight for the pilot episode, or watch it in full below if you prefer:

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7 Comments

  • michael | October 6, 2013 1:33 PMReply

    I think hank is right! Sadly, even in the 21st Century, too many people still have closed-minded ideas, and I am afraid racial prejudice is still alive and well----how sad! Quite frankly, I think people like that, members of the KKK , Aryan's, ignorant people who have been taught their "garbage" views since early childhood, ALL need a swift kick in the ass!!!! I wish the show good luck!

  • hank | October 6, 2013 1:48 AMReply

    Correct me if I'm wrong ( and I hope I am) I think a lot of the viewers who are panning this show are re-acting to having an African-American actor take over Mr. Burr's role. Throughout TV history actors and actress's of African-American decent have literally changed the face ( excuse the pun!) of TV. Miss Nichelle Nicholls from Star Trek, Miss Esther Rolle from Good Times, and Miss Oprah Winfrey have been major role models who have inspired many young African-Americans ( both men AND women) to "follow their dreams" and believe that they can make a difference in the World. I personally Thank them for that! I wish Mr. Underwood Good Luck with this show. As many people already know, when Miss Nicholls wanted to leave Star Trek after Season 1, Dr. Martin Luther King himself convinced her not to, because she had become an inspiration to young black women all over the world. I have met her in person, and she is such a quiet, un-pretentious, and friendly lady who ALWAYS thanks her fans for their support.

  • johnny | October 4, 2013 6:50 PMReply

    Mr. Underwood is a great actor, and a wonderful choice for this role. He brings a new dimension to the character, and will make the role his own.

  • sergio | October 4, 2013 7:29 PM

    Enjoy it while you can. The ratings suck It won't make it until January

  • Jess | October 3, 2013 2:39 PMReply

    Blair does his best with the overly ambitious, sometimes ridiculous material. Did anyone buy him giving a bad guy a knife and daring him to come at him in the back seat of a car? Right. The directing didn't help. Some scenes were unintentionally funny.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | October 3, 2013 2:29 PMReply

    This won't make it one complete season. They are going to pull this just like they did Andre Braughers show "Last Resort". Both of these gentlemen are good actors but it takes more than that to carry a show. Also, like you said they isn't anything that sets the pilot apart from other cop shows at this point.

  • slb | October 2, 2013 9:55 PMReply

    Your thoughts mirror mine on the pilot. I watched online and thought it was average. It was typical cop show fare. It wasn't necessarily bad, but there wasn't anything distinctive about it. I do think it's success lies with Blair Underwood. He's a charming lead and a good actor and if people buy into him, it will find an audience.

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