CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
TV Review: NBC’s ‘Ironside’ is Worst New Drama of 2013
CHICAGO – As the TV world was bombarded by new shows last week, I heard a number of complaints about the new dramas and comedies. “Hostages” was too cliched. “The Blacklist” wasn’t believable. “SHIELD” wasn’t fun enough. “Lucky 7” was, well, just awful. People, those shows will look even better if you happen to stumble upon “Ironside,” premiering tomorrow night on NBC. It’s the most cliched, least believable, least fun, and just awful new drama of the year. It is aggressively bad. Avoid at all costs.
Television Rating: 1.0/5.0
It’s particularly tragic that “Ironside” fails so miserably because modern audiences probably won’t even realize that it’s a remake of the smash hit Raymond Burr series that ran from 1967-1975. They’ll just think it’s silly. And Blair Underwood, who has been excellent through his many years in TV, even recently on HBO’s “In Treatment” deserves better than the horrendous, uninteresting writing here.
Photo credit: NBC
Underwood stars as Detective Robert Ironside, the toughest detective in New York City, even though he spends every day in a wheelchair. A bullet shattered his spine two years ago but it didn’t shatter his PRIDE. Ironside refuses to give in, as we’re reminded constantly through gritted teeth and montages of him working out and being oh-so-tough. It’s not the idea of a wheelchair-bound tough cop that fails on “Ironside” but the execution as his grit is underlined, emphasized, and played up well past the point of cliche before the first commercial break. He’s not going to let his wheelchair slow him down, MAN. Don’t forget it. OK, we won’t.
Ironside has colleagues who assist him and put up with his notably macho approach to crimefighting, including Officer Virgil (the excellent Pablo Schreiber, recently of “Orange is the New Black” and appearing in HBO’s “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” on Saturday), Detective Holly (Spencer Grammer), and Officer Teddy (Neal Bledsoe). Captain Ed Rollins (Kenneth Choi) manages them all while Ironside’s ex-partner Gary (Brent Sexton) marvels at his friend’s grit and determination.
As the creators hope you do as well. Please don’t for a second consider this a slight on the concept of a show built around a physically handicapped detective. The opposite is true. I’m angrier at it because it should be a way to explore how our physical well-being is only one part of our lives and how we approach our work, even crimefighting. It’s not. It’s just manipulative drama that hopes to make you stand up and cheer by reminding you over and over again how tough its title character remains. We get it. Now what?