Who ordered the emo Chuck Norris?
CW’s “Walker” (premiering Thursday at 8 p.m.), a reboot of the ’90s hit “Walker, Texas Ranger,” stars “Supernatural’s” Jared Padalecki in the title role.
The stiff white cowboy hat, the even stiffer white shirts, and the prominent badge will look familiar.
Just about everything else has been jettisoned for this modern, utterly mopey update.
Walker’s wife (played by Padalecki’s real-life spouse Genevieve) was murdered under strange circumstances, and a year later, Walker is still hobbled by grief.
He decided to work undercover for several months, and is now returning to his angry, frustrated teenagers.
Daughter Stella (Violet Brinson) is acting out and behaves as if she’d be happy to see Dad get hit by a meteor. Son August (Kale Culley) is trying to please everyone so they don’t notice he’s falling apart.
Brother Liam (Keegan Morgan, “Pretty Little Liars”) is an assistant district attorney who tried to fill the vacuum while Walker was away.
Walker’s intimidating parents, Bonham (Mitch Pileggi, “The X-Files,” “Dallas”) and Abilene (Molly Hagan), are ready for Walker to get it over his sulking and get back to parenting.
His ex-partner, Larry James (Coby Bell), was promoted in his absence and is now his boss.
Walker’s new partner, Micki Ramirez (Lindsey Morgan, “The 100”), feels acutely her status as one of the few women on the force and doesn’t want Walker to screw up her career by cutting corners.
Their first case is barely a blip, involving an assault on a police officer.
The original series was the equivalent of a burnt grilled cheese. Viewers could count on simple plots, barely sketched characters, a little moralizing, and a lot of martial arts. It was comfort TV at its numbingly best.
In another sign of the times, Walker has to deal with a mouthy suspect who throws the first punch, and yet his partner and his boss both reprimand Walker about using excessive force.
Viewers expect certain things from Walker, and that’s taking names and kicking ass, and if all he’s going to do is take names, he might as well be Ranger Joe Jablonski. There’s a legacy viewers expect to be honored.
In fairness, CW only released a rough cut of the pilot for review. Perhaps the reboot will find its own attitude.
Fans of the original “Walker, Texas Ranger” and the characters on this show will be united in one thing: All will need some grief counseling after this airs.