“Walker,” the CW’s latest show, is an update of the all-American classic “Walker, Texas Ranger,” a ’90s staple. “Walker, Texas Ranger” has everything one has come to expect from a good Western: lots of fighting, lots of chivalry and not a lot of emotion. While “Walker” bears the same name, the show has little in common with its predecessor. “Walker” tries to make the show introspective and emotional, a contrast to its predecessor’s mind-numbing violence. It is always a good idea to give an old character new depth, but most of the plots and characters in “Walker” are dry and unoriginal, putting the show in an unfortunate place.
“Walker” and “Walker, Texas Ranger” have two very simple plots. Take the most rugged, American man — the kind of guy who runs a mile in jeans and brings his cowboy hat to work — and make him fight crime.
Don’t think he’s just a normal cop, though. He doesn’t like to play by the rules, and he certainly doesn’t like it when bureaucrats tell him what to do. In the original “Walker, Texas Ranger,” the titular character’s blatant use of excessive force is praised unequivocally. In the new show, he may need to reign it in a little more.
The new “Walker” tries its best to tug on the emotional heartstrings by giving Cordell Walker (Jared Padalecki, “Supernatural”) a family to take care of and a community to protect. However, the issue with these new introspective storylines is that they have been reused and redone in every other show from “This is Us” to “Gilmore Girls.”
In fact, if someone closed their eyes, it would probably be impossible to distinguish “Walker” from any other show. Having to choose between your tough job and your kids? Check. A budding office romance with your female partner with a by-the-book attitude? Check. Filled with regret because of the untimely death of your spouse? Check. With a pilot as predictable as this, it’s hard to say what else is in store for the show or why it should exist at all if it has nothing new to add.
That isn’t to say this show is completely hopeless, though. Giving “Walker” a much needed emotional side is definitely a step in the right direction. For example, in one storyline Cordell Walker does his best to prevent his daughter’s best friend from getting deported. Storylines like this, with genuine conflict and topics rarely covered in American Westerns, have a lot of potential to become great.
But, unfortunately, they are few and far between in this reboot. If the show wants to become something amazing, the writers should focus less on writing overdone tropes.
Daily Arts Writer Josh Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.