What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this '90s drama-action series features a fair amount of violence, including explosions, shootings, fistfights, and knife wounds. But it's all pretty tame by current primetime standards and blood is kept to a minimum (a trickle from a split lip, for example). What's more, the central law enforcement officials rarely use their weapons, instead relying on their martial arts expertise to disarm and subdue bad guys. Strong moral messages are woven throughout each episode, and the main characters spend much of their free time mentoring troubled youths. That said, it's likely that today's tweens will be turned off by the series' clichés and redundant predictability.
What's the story?
Wild West-style police drama WALKER, TEXAS RANGER centers on Cordell Walker (Chuck Norris), an officer in the Lone Star state's investigation bureau whose straight-shooting adherence to the law makes him a relentless force against criminals. The martial arts expert/Vietnam War veteran doesn't waste any time impressing on those he encounters that his crusade for justice and civility isn't to be taken lightly. But Walker's cool-headed, commanding presence hides a lighter side, which he willingly shares with his friends -- fellow Ranger/former Dallas Cowboy James Trivette (Clarence Gilyard); retired Ranger C.D. Parker (Noble Willingham), who offers counsel to Walker when it's needed; and lovely Assistant District Attorney Alex Cahill (Sheree J. Wilson), whose mutual attraction with Walker in later seasons blooms into a bona fide relationship. When they're not hunting down bad guys, Walker and his cohorts devote time to mentoring troubled youths in the Dallas area. Through martial arts and extension camps, they connect with troubled kids and help them beat the odds and turn around misdirected lives.
Is it any good?
Since it's a law-enforcement drama, Walker, Texas Ranger is pretty violent -- every episode features shootouts, knifings, fistfights, or explosions. But a notable difference between Walker and police dramas like NYPD Blue is that while the bad guys use weapons, the Rangers rely mostly on their martial arts skills to disarm and subdue criminals. For them, the goal is always to diffuse volatile situations with the least amount of effort and harm.
The series pushes some blatantly obvious life lessons about strong character, honesty, and self-respect. (In one scene, for example, Trivette tells a teen, "You gave it your all ... that's the mark of a winner.") But heavy-handed or no, tweens aren't likely to stick around long enough to absorb these positive messages, since a hefty dose of cheesiness accompanies the characters' strengths and uncanny knack for exploiting criminals' routine incompetence.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about law enforcement. Are the characters believable as real-life police officers and lawyers? If not, what seems unrealistic? Do other police dramas offer more accurate portraits cops' lives? How have cop shows changed since this show originally aired? How do you think it would be different if new episodes were on now? Families can also discuss helping others. How do the characters use their standing in their community to positively impact people's lives? Tweens: How can you lend a hand in your community to help others?