Paramount has decided to standardize their DVD releases. This goes from everything to the DVD disc art, which is now just a two tone silver on all releases, to the cases. The new cases are a mixed deal. You get 6 discs inside of a single DVD space. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the disc holders are quite brittle and end up chipping and breaking. You save space but ultimately endanger the discs themselves. I hope someone at Paramount takes a look at the packaging and comes up with something a little better. There will also be some inconsistancy with your older sets, and because the final season was already released out of order your middle sets will look out of place. If you’re even a little OCD, you are not going to like the changes.
There was a new Cowboy in Dallas, and he wasn’t throwing touchdown passes. But Walker was almost gone before he could really get started. After just four episodes the show’s production company suffered financial collapse, and the show was rescued at the last minute by CBS Productions, who would continue to run the show for its nearly decade-long run. For nine years Norris brought us the ultimate Texas Ranger in a formula cops and robbers show. The show often became a parody of itself, but maintained a solid viewer ship throughout. Hell, Norris even sings the theme song. Truthfully, what started as a one man show (it was originally called Chuck Norris Is Walker, Texas Ranger) became a good working ensemble that probably kept the train going for so long. Walker (Norris) is a tough guy Texas Ranger. He is partnered with Sydney Cooke (Peebles) and Jimmy Trivetti (Gilyard) who’s an ex-jock with a brain. Walker had a love interest and eventual wife in the local assistant district attorney Alex Cahill (later Walker). Together they fight the evils that come to the high plains of Texas armed with their fists, six-shooters, and Stetsons. After starting with the final season, CBS is finally halfway through the series back from the beginning.
Norris almost deadpans his entire performance. Let’s face it, the man is no accomplished thespian. Still, Norris fans are quite passionate about their guy. There’s a popular tee shirt design that lauds their hero in epic fashion. One of my favorites is : “McGyver can build a plane out of gum and paper clips but Chuck Norris can kill him and take the plane.” Another brags: “Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris Pajamas”. And there’s the humorous: “Chuck Norris knows what Willis is talkin’ about”. Fans of Norris were never disappointed in what they got here. The requisite martial arts and tough guy talk are present pretty much in every episode. Season six is no exception. You should also note if you’re using an episode guide: this is really season 7, as the first two were combined in the first season release.
As with most 1990’s television series, Walker is presented in a standard 1.33:1 full screen format. The standard four episodes per disc leave little room for excellence in video quality. You’ll see plenty of compression artifact, particularly on blacker scenes. Colors are pretty much right on, if not brilliant. The Texas vistas at times remind me of many a cowboy film. You can count on the show looking at least as good as it did when it was broadcast.
Not much to be found in this minimalist Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. The dialog is clear, and so are the gunshots. What else do you need from a Chuck Norris show? Everything is clean, just not extremely dynamic. Pans are used well at times, but mostly the mains are identical.
Aside from the new package design, there’s not a lot to complain about here. It would have been nice to not have some discs with 5 episodes on them as it causes unnecessary inconsistency in the video, particularly as it relates to compression artifact. Still, none of this is going to keep a fan away from the set, and it shouldn’t. Norris fans are used to being tough, so maybe you can get your boy Chuck to get Paramount to show you a little more love. Spielberg was able to muscle Paramount into restoring The Godfather, so I would expect Norris could get even better results for his fans. After all Chuck Norris is the head “of what some would call an empire”.