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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

PILOT REVIEW: Ironside

IRONSIDE












Starring: Blair Underwood, Pablo Schreiber, Spencer Grammer, Neal Bledsoe, Kenneth Choi, and Brent Sexton

Based on the Original Series Created by Collier Young
Written by Michael Caleo, Directed by Peter Horton

Ironside is a new remake of the classic 1967-1975 drama starring Raymond Burr. This time around, Blair Underwood is Detective Ironside, a tough cop confined to a wheelchair after a bust gone wrong with ex-partner Gary Stanton (Brent Sexton). Now, Ironside solves cases from his chair and with his team (Pablo Schreiber, Spencer Grammer, and Neal Bledsoe). Rounding out the main cast is his boss Ed Rollins (Kenneth Choi), who respects him but sometimes disagrees with his methods (isn't that how the boss always is in a police procedural?)

THE GOOD: Blair Underwood is the standout here as I expected he would be. He really shines in the lead role. He is commanding, tough, and entertaining in a part that could be limiting for an actor. When you do a show like Ironside, you need a strong lead and they have one here. The case of the week was interesting for the most part with a surprise ending. I don't have any problems with procedural dramas being exactly what they are. This show isn't trying to reinvent the wheel but it doesn't need to. There is also some unique camera work done when Underwood is moving around in his wheelchair.

THE BAD: As is often the case with procedural pilots, it seemed hard to get to know the rest of the team. They seemed to use Spencer Grammar a lot at the beginning and even teased an odd connection her character has but then they sort of seemed to forget about her while the two guys and the chief were barely used at all. The guest stars seemed more developed than the team so far. I don't expect procedural dramas to have great character development but there should be at least something to the characters. At first, I thought the show was overusing the flashbacks but it all made sense as the episode went on. I would be careful not to overuse this in future episodes though.

BOTTOM LINE: People who like procedural cop dramas will probably enjoy this one and people who don't won't. It's as basic as that. I happen to like procedural cop dramas and I enjoyed this one primarily because of Blair Underwood. For every high concept, crazy drama that comes out, it's nice to have a show like Ironside. Blair Underwood deserves to have another success like LA Law after shows like Dirty Sexy Money and The Event failed. I don't know if this will be it but he's certainly commanding enough to make it work.

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