Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: NBC's Ironside

Ironside Fall TV PreviewThe broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a new CW showcase for another Amell and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | NBC’s Ironside (Wednesdays at 10/9c; premieres Oct. 2)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ CSI, ABC’s Nashville and FX’s American Horror Story: Coven (new)

THE CAST | Blair Underwood (The Event), Pablo Schreiber (The Wire), Spencer Grammer (Greek), Neal Bledsoe (Smash), Brent Sexton (The Killing) and Kenneth Choi (Sons of Anarchy)

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE SET-UP | Underwood stars as Det. Robert Ironside, a top cop who, after a bullet lands him in a wheelchair, leads a hand-picked team of “specialist” crimesolvers (played by Schreiber, Grammer and Bledsoe). It’s exactly like the late ’60s/early ’70s NBC drama of the same name, except that it’s set in New York City versus San Francisco, the composition of Ironside’s team is different and the circumstances surrounding his life-changing shooting (Raymond Burr’s title character was felled by a sniper) are not at all similar. Cho and Sexton play Ironside’s boss and onetime partner, respectively.

IronsideRELATED | Fall TV Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | This is a good if not dazzling procedural, with a pilot that efficiently lays out the backstory by alternating between the Case of the Week (featuring Brian D’Arcy James as a shifty broker) and well-parsed flashbacks to Ironside’s shooting. Underwood makes for a commanding, telegenic lead, but the verdict on the other characters is TBD, since the premiere sheds little light on neither their origins nor their “specialties” (though Grammer’s Holly emerges as quite the marksman, and tends to grab more screentime). Sexton, as on The Killing, is highly watchable, while Cho carries the burden of playing the “I’m Going to Challenge Your Unorthodox Methods, Even Though You Always End Up Right” supervisor.

As expected, Ironside’s special set of circumstances is addressed early and often, as he chides a goon for calling him a “cripple,” discovers a (barely hidden) clue thanks to his lower-to-the-ground perspective and finds much time for sexytimes with a lithe fitness instructor.

RELATED | More Fall TV First Impressions: ABC’s Super Fun Night, The CW’s The Tomorrow People, Fox’s Almost Human, CBS’ The Crazy Ones

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | While I was personally more interested in NBC’s ill-fated 2010 reboot of another retro drama, The Rockford Files, Ironside is a safe bet for the network, assigning a “known” title to a solid procedural with a good cast, and leading out of Law & Order: SVU. It will, however, have trouble “igniting” the Wednesdays-at-10 time slot the way Chicago Fire did (for an NBC series, that is).

Watch a video preview for Ironside, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Darth Pablo says:

    This reminds me of Wheels and the Legman

  2. Ben Kabak says:

    Love this!

    • Daven C says:

      Why are all of the trailers for the pilots giving away everything in the pilot’s plot? Blacklist did it, now Ironside. Doesn’t make sense to me.

  3. Bobbi says:

    Wasn’t wild about the original and really don’t understand the point of bringing it back.

    • AngieD says:

      I thought the same of the Hawaii 5-0 reboot. Neither the original Hawaii 50 nor Ironside were great, but they did well. The H50 reboot is still on air; so, Ironside can do as well, too. The cast looks good; so, I’ll give it a try. (BTW, I only watched the H50 reboot during season 1.)

  4. Another failed series for Blair Underwood? Remember LAX, Dirty Sexy Money and The Event (so sad that it would’ve given a second season by NBC until the series got canceled back in 2011).

  5. Mellie says:

    It just seems to be trying too hard. Doesn’t interest me.

  6. Steven says:

    Looks so generic it makes me cringe. The only thing that may get me to try the first episode is Spencer Grammer, who was great in Greek.

  7. Ram510 says:

    This has cancelled written all over it. I doubt it makes it to see January. I wasnt going to try this out at all just because there better shows on like Nashville, but for Spencer Grammer I may DVR it once and fast forward to her scenes.

  8. Jacqueline says:

    I loved the Ironside series with Raymond Burr. It is hard to watch a reboot. I will tune in to see how they honor the old series.

  9. Sheldon W. says:

    The pilot is an okay origin story and an unremarkable case-of-the-week. The production is slick enough (with just enough edge) to be a perfectly acceptable time-waster, but the series will have to pick up quickly to earn a following. Among the supporting cast, Grammer and Sexton stand out but Underwood’s performance is a bit too one-note.

    At this point, at least, it’s not so bad that Raymond Burr would be turning in his grave – but his ghost might be about to haunt the writers…

  10. Tee says:

    Wow that promo was under 3 minutes but I felt like I just watched the whole pilot.

  11. J. Norman says:

    I am trying to figure out why there is a need for a remake of this show. To be fair, I suppose I’ll watch an episode or 2, but I doubt it will fly.

  12. JCK says:

    It kind of fries my onions that they keep re-imagining vintage shows in order to cash in on the title. Why not just make a show about a cop in a chair and leave the nostalgia element out of it?

  13. Superhero says:

    Sounds dreadfully boring.

  14. Jenna says:

    I’m looking forward to this one. Seems like a good fit out of SVU. Hope it’s good!

  15. TV Gord says:

    I just watched the pilot, and once I got over the fact that it’s really nothing like the original (I enjoyed the sarcasm in your “Set-Up”), I enjoyed it well enough on its own merits. I don’t know why they felt the need to call it Ironside, other than to draw in oldtimey fans out of curiosity.

    To me, the show has more in common with the current Hawaii Five-0 than the old Ironside show. He has a special task force, just as McGarrett does. Everyone is good looking (certainly not true of the so-called original) and they rely a lot on unorthodox methods, which I don’t remember Raymond Burr’s team doing.

    I’m not much of a fan of procedurals, but I will watch this. I’m curious to see what makes the supporting cast tick.

  16. Ana says:

    Hollywood needs to stop trying to make Blair Underwood happen. Just like Will Arnett. Give it up already…

    • John says:

      I still don’t see what’s so special about Will Arnett or Liam Hemsworth (Chris is absolutely awesome though). Hollywood will never learn.

      • JCK says:

        I think Hollywood misses the old studio systems, where they found an actor and slowly built them into stars. That boat has sailed and there is too much media available to the public. If we don’t like someone we go elsewhere.

  17. Crochetowl says:

    Enough of revamps of old shows (H50, Elementary, etc.) – guess it’s to think new concept. Nothing special from the clips plus the soundtrack is headache inducing. The network just can’t find a good hit (just Grimm, reality rubbish does not count).

  18. J says:

    Alright, I’m not usually this guy, because I believe in the best actor getting the role and whatnot…

    But seriously, when your ENTIRE PREMISE is “cop in wheelchair”, and you’re selling the show primarily on the name brand, AND it’s 2013, NBC seriously couldn’t have cast an actual disabled actor in the role?

    I feel like “novelty effect” and “Blair Underwood” carry approximately the same amount of marketability right now, so why not give that a try?

    • John says:

      Yeaaaah. No. Just no. The drawbacks are way too much for that.

    • elf says:

      The problem with casting a disabled actor in this situation is that they wouldn’t be able to have flashbacks to before the main character was shot. Perhaps in a few years when the technology to superimpose an actor’s face on someone else’s body is cheap enough that it can be done on a TV budget then they could go with a disabled actor and still get the flashback shots.

      As for why networks seem to keep pushing the same actors over and over, regardless of how many failures they have, the networks are slaves to the “Q-Rating” system, which is basically a score that rates a performer’s overall likability.

  19. Abby says:

    I rarely watch procedurals, esp. cop shows. But I hope it does well. We need more shows with someone of color as the lead!

  20. Evan says:

    Hollywood needs to hire real disabled actors to play disabled roles.

    • Belinda says:

      they are called ACTORS for a reason, they ACT, they don’t have to be real – why don’t we get thief actors to play thief roles or evil actors to play evil roles – or just have Americans play Americans – the whole purpose of acting is to play pretend and be someone you are not – and frankly, considering this is Ironside and it’s about how his shooting caused him to be in a wheel chair, what if they want to do flashbacks? what if they want to show him before the shooting? Should they just recast the role then and have a walking abled actor replaced the disabled actor? Or just have people pretend they are the same person? Maybe the disabled actor will magically learn to walk too?

      • What an insensitive, thoughtless comment. There are thousands of wonderful actors who use wheelchairs. They SHOULD be considered for such roles. There is a reason white actors aren’t allowed to wear black face anymore. Discrimination toward persons with “disabilities” is prevalent and obscene. Time to get creative and make some programming that can put actors out front who have abilities other than the “normative” population.

        • Wiseguy70005 says:

          I can’t understand why you stupid idiots can’t understand anything, even when it is spelled out for you repeatedly. Every episode of Ironside included flashbacks to before he was shot. Understand, now? No? A disabled actor wouldn’t have been able to film these scenes. Understand , now? No? That’s why you’re an idiot. Go watch American Idol.

  21. drhenning says:

    Wednesdays at 10 overstuffed… Thank goodness for On Demand since the DVR can’t handle it all.. I enjoy all the actors on this show so it will be interesting what they do… Will they actually film in NYC?? Getting Ironside around NY will be interesting….

  22. Zoe says:

    I love a good cop show, and Blair Underwood is one sexy man. I’ll check it out (especially because it’s right after SVU…) but I’m not optimistic about its chances.

  23. Lisa says:

    NBC hired the world’s worst showrunner in Josh Safran, mishandled the show terribly and eventually cancelled SMASH for this garbage? I won’t be watching any show on NBC this season!

  24. TVfan says:

    Cannot wait until Sept to watch this

  25. Ezptothethird says:

    M*A*S*H was the best show nobody was watching but someone’s wife at CBS liked the show and it stayed on air and made history. You never know what the public will like. I hope Ironside survives its better than the dozens of so called “reality shows”.

  26. John. Dow says:


  27. PilotWatcher says:

    Saw the pilot–remembered the original. Was it really necessary for dude to spin his wheelchair around that much in nearly every scene? Bless his heart, I know dude was dizzy by the end of the episode.