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 Chuck 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 T-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 6 is no exception. You should also note if you’re using an episode guide: this is really season 8, as the first two were combined in the first season release.
You’ll get 25 episodes on 5 discs. This season offers up pretty much the same formula of stories. The season begins with the end of last year’s cliffhanger In Harm’s Way. The story has Alex and Walker working against the clock to keep a killer off the streets. It’s yet another ticking clock in Countdown. The gang has just 48 hours to stop a terrorist cell from releasing anthrax. Way Of The Warrior is another one of those fantasy/pioneer past episodes. This time an Indian medicine man transports Walker to the past so that he can fix a wrong. I’m not really sure how much I like these episodes, but they must have been popular, as the show did one just about every year. Walker goes undercover in prison to stop a fight club there in Fight Or Die. You just know the fans love these episodes where Norris really gets to strut his stuff. Walker is blinded in Vision Quest and must rely on others to get the bad guys this time. The two part episode Showdown At Casa Diablo has Sydney and Alex taken hostage by a Mexican gang, while Walker has to rescue them. But it might be the guys who need rescuing. The final three episodes of the season pretty much revolve around the wedding of Alex and Walker.
As with most 1990’s television series, Walker is presented in a standard 1.33:1 full screen format. The use of five episodes per disc leaves 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.
I’m quite disappointed that Paramount is more often going to the 5 episodes on a disc format. It doesn’t allow for good image quality, and the fans deserve better. Now, you Walker fans out there have a healthy respect for toughness. “Are we just going to sit here and let this happen? Come on.”