TV Reviews

TV Review: ‘Walker’

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walker 2021 jared padalecki

The remains of the Supernatural series finale are barely at rest and yet star Jared Padalecki is raising a whole other cult favorite TV series from the dead with Walker, the reboot of the cheese-tastic Chuck Norris classic. Sadly the boring, trope-ridden pilot episode does not bode well for the overall series, even with the likable star and terrific supporting cast.

Following the unexpected death of his wife, Texas Ranger Cordell Walker leaves his two kids, the chip-off-the-old-block son August (Kale Culley) and angsty teenage daughter Stella (Violet Brinson) to go deep undercover for two years. Upon his return he finds difficulty reintegrating himself with his parents, ADA brother and even his own kids, all while trying to return to his Ranger work. To make matters worse, Walker’s belief that there’s more to his wife’s death than originally thought still burns in him — although the episode doesn’t bother to actually deal with the topic or supply any real weight to his suspicion.

The pattern continues on in Walker‘s predictable pilot episode full of eye-roll inducing moments and does not waste time getting to them. Early on, the mysterious death scene for Walker’s wife (played by Jared’s real wife Genevieve Padalecki) follows all the 80s revenge thriller beats, complete with a culminating shot of the hero dropping to his knees, arms flexing and screaming dramatically into the dark night sky. Darth Vader would be proud.

From there, the episode lets loose some of that Padalecki charm and world-weary heart that helped endear the character of Sam on Supernatural to so many, giving this character some development as Walker returns home to get his shit together. A cute introduction sets the stage for his upcoming work partnership with one of the (fictional) first women in Texas Ranger history, Micki Ramirez (Lindsey Morgan), in one of the show’s better scenes.

walker 2021 jared padalecki coby bell lindsey morgan

The show then shifts into family drama territory more suited for a reboot over on CBS than the younger-skewing CW. Walker’s parents are one-dimensional rancher stock characters brought to life only by wonderful character actors Molly Hagan (iZombie) as his thoughtful mother and Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files) as his gruff, traditional father. It doesn’t take a Ranger’s perception to figure out the relationships and character arcs of everyone in the Walker family and how they’ll react to Cordell’s return, adding yet again another layer of by-the-numbers storytelling.

The drama with Walker’s kids (mostly Stella) kills any plot momentum in grating scenes meant to show complicated familial relationships, but instead feel copy-pasted from any other angsty CW show. There is hope for the future in supporting characters like Walker’s Ranger Captain and former colleague Larry James (Coby Bell) who is a stern, confident but still approachable boss for the Ranger duo. The aforementioned partner Ramirez is also a consistent bright spot throughout, even though she unwittingly gives Walker the corny catch-phrase “Respect.”

Lastly, aside from having no Chuck Norris in sight, the worst part of the first episode of this bland retread is just how darn slow and forgettable the whole thing feels by the end credits. It becomes easy to understand why Walker would want leave his life for two years at a time rather than deal. Unfortunately, despite its relationship with star Padalecki, The CW just seems like an odd fit for Walker and the safe, predictable story structure would be better suited for a different network with a more forgiving demographic and longer attention spans.

Score: 2 out of 5

Walker premieres Thursday, January 21 at 8pm ET on The CW.

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11 Comments

  1. Horrible review. You can’t judge a show by the pilot, the writer should know that by now or it this their first time watching TV?

    1. If the PR team wanted reviews of the show to be based on more than just the pilot, they could’ve provided additional episodes. Since that wasn’t the case here, one can conclude that the PR team is comfortable letting the pilot episode serve as an accurate representation of the series as a whole.

    2. Actually, that is how people judge a show. Shows get picked up as a series, on the strength of the pilot. Also, most people decide whether or not to watch future episodes, according to how much they enjoy its pilot episode. You may like the show and disagree with the review. But, this show is billing itself as a version of a very well liked previous series. That series was an action series. This one is much slower, low-key, and oh so full of angst. The only similarity to the previous series are some names and character assignments. It’s a completely different show. I guess, it’s okay, if you like this kind of show. But, it’s a huge letdown, for anyone hoping to see anything close to the action of the original “Walker Texas Ranger”. The only thing it’s missing is teenaged vampires whining about their feelings every 5 minutes.

  2. First impressions is key here in hooking an audience. That being said…. the show is boring as watching paint dry. I love Jared, and had high hopes for his career but this is horrible. The show is dry and long winded. Complete disappointment.

  3. OMG this episode was SO BAD I couldn’t believe it. BTW, neither Gen nor Jared look old enough to have kids that age either (did they have them when THEY were still in high school?) The writing is utterly unoriginal and they crammed way too many characters into one episode. I couldn’t figure out WTF this show is suppose to be about, is it a cop drama or a family drama? It’s like they just decided to start shooting without an actual clear cut vision or script. I wanted this to be good but it just wasn’t.

  4. I’m really trying to get into it since I enjoy Jared’s acting but the show just isn’t grabbing me. I’m giving it the 3 episode review to decide if I want to keep going or quit all together. It’s crazy how one or two characters can ruin a show and right now, those characters are his brother and his daughter. They are both super angsty to the point where I feel like fast forwarding every time they appear on screen. Their reactions are ultra annoying and honestly would only make sense if Walker was behaving the way he was due to his wife leaving him or divorcing him but instead she is DEAD and these two jerks are acting like he should just get over it and, cut their grieving out and get back to normal. I get that his children miss their mom, but trying their brother/father out for it every time he tries to make up for it, whining about how he’s here but not here in both the first and second episode, it’s really getting tedious. The third episode will be the dealbreaker for me. If both of those characters are still yelling the same crap and tossing cold shoulders at a guy whose wife was murdered, I’ll just go back to re-watching Supernatural for Jared’s acting cause this show isn’t it. I just can’t stand angsty characters and they always throw one of these sour characters in the mix, this one has two which makes it even worse.

    1. I agree, it’s insane the way everyone actually gets ANGRY at him because he can’t just “forget” his dead wife, the odd mysteries surrounding how she died and get back to move along with his life.

      His daughter…..good GOD there is NOTHING redeemable about that whining, annoying daughter of his AND that was some preposterous “plot twist” about how his brother tried to get custody of Jared’s kids (while Jared was doing undercover work). I mean it’s not like the kids were living on the streets or that social services was getting ready to put them in foster care.

      The storyline is so generic and the writing so boring that it makes everyone involved look like they can’t act. The reality is – the dialogue is just THAT bad and would even make Meryl Streep look bad.

      I never watched the original version of this show, but I can’t imagine it lasted for as long as it did by being this dull. Seems to me like they should fire the writer and try to take things in a new direction (hell they need to PICK a direction).

      It’s too bad they didn’t devote a portion of the first season to following Walker’s home and work life BEFORE his wife died. That way you’d be able to see firsthand the drastic life changes to him and his family rather than just slipping us a few flashbacks now and then. The way they’ve set it up, I find I don’t have any real feelings invested in him or his loss because they didn’t really show who he was before he fell apart.

  5. Keeping it short and sweet.
    The storyline just basically sucks. And makes Walker look like a person that doesn’t have his act together.
    Could have had someone else play the partner she doesn’t really fit the role very well.

  6. I have to admit that I did not even once watched Supernatural as the genre isn’t for .e at all. But good god, that guy is a professional actor with a long running TV series under his belt already? You gotta be kidding!

    His acting is so wooden, you could carve a comb out of it. That goes for the whole cast on my opinion – this looks more like an amateur theater troupe than a TV series with a supposedly seasoned cast. The script can’t be good enough either, as nobody even seems to try and deliver anything remotely related to a “story”. I don’t get it, who in their right mind would greenlight something like that?

    So sad, won’t be around for long.

  7. I’m sorry this is just horrible. The lead couldn’t act his way out of a Depends commercial.

  8. This is embarrassing, The Rangers are a professional division that deserves to be shown, with the history and toughness. But here we are showing how “Woke and new age we are. I get it call it a “Cop” show, but dont degrade the Rangers by making it a “cop” show! Im ashamed of you CW!

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