I loved Ironside when I was a kid. I also loved Hawaii Five-O. But while I found the re-boot of Hawaii Five-O pretty pointless (and not as good as the original), the re-boot of Ironside looks to be better than the original. The biggest difference between the two re-boots for me is acting and storytelling – both of those elements are excellent in Ironside.
The series is “developed” by Michael Caleo (he didn’t “create” it, after all), and he wrote the “Pilot.” Caleo’s biggest credit to date is as one of the writers to come out of the Sopranos, which makes me hope for some pretty gritty drama to come. We get a bit of back-story on each member of Ironside’s “team,” but there is no doubt more to come – forty-two minutes doesn’t allow for everyone’s character to get fleshed out.
|Blair Underwood as Robert Ironside|
|Kenneth Choi as Captain Ed Rollins|
The “Pilot” was directed by Peter Horton, a busy guy on either side of the camera. In fact, Horton had an uncredited role on LAX, one of Underwood’s former series. It will be interesting to see if the camera work will be adopted as the general style for the show – I suspect it will. Like a lot of cop dramas, there was a lot of handheld footage – though for those of you bothered by “shakey-camera” – it’s not that pronounced. I particularly appreciated the dolly camera work that created a moving image that mimicked Ironside’s motion in his wheelchair.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on the plot as this article is a “preview” and not a “review.” I will say that the opening scene sets the tone and is particularly satisfying. At the end of the opening scene, Ironside is asked, “Are you really a cripple?” And he answers, “You tell me.” The show doesn’t shy away from Ironside’s physical challenge, but it doesn’t really emphasize it either, giving the show the potential to really explore and raise awareness of issues pertaining to differently advantaged individuals.
This pilot is definitely worth checking out. Once again, as a quick re-cap – very good acting, writing, and directing. If you like cop shows, I’m betting you’ll like this one. Be sure to catch the premiere on October 2 at 10pm EST on NBC.