When Walker, Texas Ranger first came onto televisions in 1993, it became a massive hit with audiences. Capitalizing on the fame and image of it’s star, Chuck Norris, the television program featured him as it’s titular character. This character was a member of the Texas Ranger Division who used his karate to fight the bad guys. The show featured all sorts of wild actions scenes, with Norris using the opportunity to showcase his karate moves every week. However, a new reboot has recently made it’s way onto the CW network. And it looks like the new reboot has eschewed karate completely from the formula. WARNING: Fans Hate the Walker Texas Ranger Reboot.
Walker, Texas Ranger first premiered on April 21 of 1993. It went on to last for eight successful seasons, finally coming to and end on May 19 of 2001. The television series followed by a television film titled Trial By Fire. And which ended on a cliffhanger that the show’s writers never got to resolve. Sadly, it looks like the new reboot, titled simply Walker, isn’t looking to resolve this cliffhanger. Instead, it appears to be going in an entirely different direction than it’s parent show.
The original Walker, Texas Ranger created by Leslie Greif and Paul Haggis and featured a fairly singular vision. Inspired by the image of Chuck Norris in his 80s hit Lone Wolf McQuade. Greif and Haggis took the basic premise of that film and transferred it over to television. Norris was going to play the main character, a member of the Texas Ranger Division who specialized in karate. The show capitalized on Chuck Norris’ karate skills and previously established merit as an action star.
Unsurprisingly, the show became a massive hit, appealing to older Norris fans and even creating new ones. The show featured a very straightforward moralistic style that appealed to the largely conservative audiences of the time. It exemplified traditional values. And the line between Chuck Norris and the bad guys always firmly established… and reenforced by karate!
When Walker, Texas Ranger ended, it represented a change in the cultural climate that saw the general public start to take issue with the general image that the show portrayed. Many had already come to view the show comedically.It is with comedians such as Conan O’Brien turning the show into a recurring joke on his late night television show. Between the time the original show ended and the new reboot introduced, however, many people stopped finding the joke particularly funny.
There were several issues that today’s producers saw when developing the new reboot of the classic Walker, Texas Ranger. For modern audiences, the morality of the original show simply too cut-and-dry. And with the titular character exercising far too much power over the criminals. As well, the use of karate communicated that violence was the answer to solving these problems. Whether the producers were right or wrong, this is the mindset that they went forward with on the new reboot, Walker. However, in preemptively solving these supposed problems, the show’s runners have created an entirely new problem. And that being the reaction of the established fan-base for the program.
As one might imagine, the Walker, Texas Ranger fans have not taken kindly to the new reboot. Reboots are not kindly received on the best of occasions, and one that completely throws out the core tenets of it’s source material is certain to catch the ire of those it should trying to appeal to. The new series stars Jared Padalecki, who rose to prominence on the CW staple Supernatural. Walker is appearing on the CW network, so this casting makes sense from a business perspective. But it makes slightly less sense from an audience perspective. It’s hard to tell if Padalecki is giving a bad performance as the iconic character. And if he’s just not being allowed to shine due to a lack of inspiration behind the scenes.
Fans of the original show became suspicious of the new reboot as soon as footage being appearing. Immediately, it became apparent that the show was somewhat lacking in karate action. As time went on, it revealed that this lack of karate was intentional. And came along with some other major revisions of the source material. According to Padalecki, the original series was all about a “lawman who abides by his own rules. And he would just do head-spinning kicks on people”. He goes on to say that “[the show] can’t do that now”. Of course, his reasoning makes sense. In a cultural climate that has placed a greater focus on incidents of police force overreaching their power, a karate-loving cop who punches first and asks questions later might not the right fit.
One may wonder, then, why reboot the series in the first place? If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support. As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Jared Padalecki is very open about the changes that the new Walker, Texas Ranger reboot has made to it’s iconic character. And as well as the general tone and format of the show. The CW actor has expressed that the changes were made as a result of the difference in the cultural climate between today and the time when the original show was popular. According to him, there were numerous aspects of the original series that might not be received well by today’s audience. While he may or may not be right, fans of the original series are not taking kindly to this new show that is wildly different from it’s source material.
As Padalecki was so kind to put it, doing a reboot of Walker, Texas Ranger that was faithful to the source material “would be laughably bad”. From that perspective, it’s not hard to understand why fans might have been rubbed the wrong way. Padalecki goes on to say that “this version of [the show]… is not a show about a martial artist kicking minorities in the face, [it’s] a show about a legit Texan”. According to Padalecki, a “legit Texan” is someone who wants to “hear the whole story before [they] make a decision”. Once again, while this perspective certainly makes sense, it makes one wonder why executives chose to go forward with the show.
For many, without the signature karate of it’s parent show, the new Walker reboot doesn’t have much of a reason to exist. While there is some minor action, the show is more focused on conventional dramatic plots. Beyond this tonal shift, there is also a noticeable lack of any returning characters from the original program, although Cordell Walker’s signature truck does return.
Many of the prospective audience has chosen to sit tight and see if the show could grow into it’s own. As well, there’s always the chance that the producers could listen to the fans’ reactions to the new formula change. And try to make a show that more successfully emulates what made Walker, Texas Ranger such a hit with it’s audience.
However, many of those watching have already dropped out, and the future isn’t looking to great for Walker. Jared Padalecki has been understanding of the fact that fans might not take kindly to the new reboot’s changing of the established formula. But has been firm that he has no intention of starring in a reboot of the original show that carries over that show’s violence.
Perhaps Walker, Texas Ranger is best remembered as a document of it’s time. When Walker, Texas Ranger was popular, shows like COPS also ruled the air. Nowadays, these types of program might not be welcome. However, instead, of changing these ancient relics to try and keep them in line with the present. And perhaps we should just leave them untouched in the past. Walker, Texas Ranger fans will always have the original show, and modern television audiences will always have the next big thing to look forward to that appeals to the values of the current day. One thing is for certain, in the future, Norris will continue to be most widely known as Cordell Walker. And Jared Padalecki will have to settle for being known as his character from Supernatural.
Although Walker, Texas Ranger ended on a cliffhanger in the television film that served as it’s second final. It looks like we’re never going to get any more of the Cordell Walker that we know and love. Still, there’s eight full seasons from the past for us to continue to enjoy! Comment down below to share your favorite moment from the original series. Or if you think there’s hope for Jared Padalecki in the new reboot.
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