Walker, Texas Ranger
THE FINAL SEASON (6-DVD Set)
Correct me if I’m wrong on what I’m about to say. Where NBC is now…at the bottom of the big networks where shows come and go without being noticed for the most part…that’s where CBS was about 10 years ago. They didn’t have NFL Football on their stations, and that led to a lost time period for the network. During that time, a few shows emerged that seemed to hold their limited audience. EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND was probably the most prominent show to come up during this period. Ted Danson’s BECKER also scored somewhat. And then there was WALKER, TEXAS RANGER.
The premise was simple enough. Chuck Norris was a Ranger in Texas who solved Texas crimes in a “wild west” sort of format. The show had some action and violence to it, but always had that twist of humor in it to keep it as “family oriented television”. In many ways, this show was similar in scope to numerous shows that have aired on CBS and other networks over the years. Shows like PAX’s DOC or IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT with Carol O’Connor both have the same type of storylines that end with a message and happiness.
The problem these shows have is that they generally run out of good, creative ideas after 4 or 5 years of a series. Without question, this is what happened to Walker, Texas Ranger at the end of it’s run. While he was still policing with the “frontier’s code”, the whole premise of most of these episodes is just plain dumb. The season opens with Walker and company breaking up a baby kidnapping ring. As the season progresses, they end up taking on ruthless wrestling promoters, a computer hacking assassin, thieves that hijack an ambulance, gangs, and even a kidnapper who threatens to kill his victim live on the Internet. It’s really pretty reaching, especially when compared to the work they did in the first few seasons of the show. For a show that was once pretty gritty and “common man” in scope, this misses the boat on most levels.
Chuck Norris, for his part, does his best to keep the show interesting. Never a great actor, Norris is still good at what he’s always been good at. He’s the kind of guy everyone feels they can relate to, yet is a badass amongst the baddest of the bad. He was especially good in episode 14 as he and his posse went undercover in a bar to break up a money laundering ring. Sounds silly, but was probably the best episode of the set.
RATING – 6/10 – While this series didn’t die the miserable “shell of itself” death that most shows do, it certainly wasn’t nearly as good as it was during it’s early run on CBS. Walker, Texas Ranger was a show that went away because CBS climbed up in the ratings to a point where a show like this would have died. If they had kept going, this show would be part of “Mayhem Mondays” on PAX back to back with DOC.