Monday, October 7, 2013

Pilot Review: Ironside

Ironside (NBC)
Premiered October 2 at 10pm

NBC likes cop shows. The network that brought you “Law and Order” and all of its spinoff franchises is no stranger to crime procedurals, and now it’s bringing back a classic series from the 1960s. Blair Underwood, who last starred as the President of the United States in a short-lived NBC offering, “The Event,” is back as the wheelchair-bound cop with an unorthodox style. Unfortunately, that “spin” on the cop drama has been done way too many times already, and this show is trying too hard to be edgy. Having Pablo Schreiber’s Virgil shout the suspect’s rights at him while wearing a hoodie as Ironside gave him a knife to dare him to stab him was over-the-top. “Did you hear somebody cry for help in there?” was another instance of that, and the show also expresses a heavy-handed nature, with lines like “Are you going to find justice for my sister?” The show is bogged down with flashbacks to Ironside walking and working with his old partner Gary, played by Brent Sexton from “The Killing.” Gary being just as emotionally crippled as Ironside is physically is also expected and unoriginal, and it’s another indication that everything about this show has been done before. The musical choices are strange, like the weird scoring during the flashbacks and the use of the admittedly terrific “Leave” by the Swell Season from “Once” at the end of the episode. Creative cop shows might still be possible, but this isn’t one of them, and there isn’t much else to recommend it.

How will it work as a series? All the exposition aside, Ironside is a pretty smart cop, though his style leaves much to be desired, since he didn’t bother to share his suspicions about the case with anyone else and he thought it most productive to shoot a hostage in the leg rather than think of a less violent way to resolve the situation. I can likely guess what’s coming next, and it’s not enticing.
How long will it last? Not long. “Prime Suspect” made it to thirteen episodes a few years ago, and this latest cop reboot might not even last that long. Its ratings mirrored those of “Lucky 7,” which officially ranks as the lowest-rated premiere of the season so far and the first new show to be cancelled. Put simply, it doesn’t look good.

Pilot grade: C-

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