Walker Series Premiere Review
The show, its showrunner Anna Fricke posited during a recent Television Critics Association panel, is about the entire Walker family. The Ranger’s new partner, Micki Ramirez (played by The 100’s Lindsey Morgan), also plays a fairly large role in Walker’s life. Now that he’s returned home from an undercover assignment after two years away — seemingly immediately following the death of his wife — there’s a lot of tension with his kids and the rest of his family who stepped in to fill the void while he was gone. Ramirez, too, has a lot riding on her new partner and his ability to follow orders and not ruin her chances in an extremely white, male-dominated profession. And guess what? He’s not handling any of it well. Unfortunately, he’s also not handling it in a particularly interesting or edifying manner, either.The inclusion of these new parts doesn’t really add much interest to what plays out, in the end: a bunch of inconsequential, family drama filler. Problems are not really problems, and the exposition we get from these moments lands with a thud. The more procedural case of the week is little more than set-up for an ominous drug cartel and a tiny, not particularly impressive fight.
It’s hard to see a world wherein this show gets interesting, based on the pilot alone. The seeds planted feel generic, and the more timely elements — like the situation at the border — not particularly well-engaged. Pilots are, by their very nature, incredibly hard to pull off well: a lot of establishing information has to be given to the audience while also introducing the plot in a way that invites continued investment. But after watching the Walker pilot, it’s hard to want to watch another episode, let alone a full season (which The CW has already ordered). The whole thing leaves one wondering: what was the reason this new version was so necessary right now?
The CW’s Walker is a total yawn. A generic, paint-by-numbers family drama that offers some hints at the possibility for telling timely stories in the future – albeit in a Very Special Episode sort of way – the series does little to reimagine itself in a compelling way. Though the series’ star is likely the reason any of this is happening to begin with, Padalecki is unable to give us a reason to really care about this character beyond things we’ve already seen a thousand times before. If you’re going to make a show about law enforcement in 2020-21, there really needs to be a deeper investigation of — or at least an interest in — what this job really entails, not just a romanticized Hollywood version of it. Walker, at least in its pilot, engages in none of that work, leaving a lot to be desired.