There’s a time when NBC’s remake of the 1967-75 Raymond Burr series “Ironside” would have felt kind of new and updated. Unfortunately, that time was 15-20 years ago. Now the notion of exploring the life of Det. Robert Ironside (Carnegie Mellon University grad Blair Underwood, “L.A. Law”) through flashbacks to the shooting that left him in a wheelchair seems extremely old-school. The relationship between Ironside and his ex-partner, Gary (Brent Sexton, “The Killing”), is somewhat interesting but everything else in “Ironside” (10 p.m. Wednesday) is a well-worn cop show cliché, from Ironside’s tough guy routine to the dialogue.
Viewers first meet the detective as he’s seemingly violating the civil rights of a suspected kidnapper, beating the guy up in the back seat of a car while another police officer shouts, “You have the right to remain silent …” from a few feet away outside the vehicle.
“Hey, man, you really a cripple?” the perp eventually asks.
“You tell me,” Ironside replies with requisite, practiced seriousness.
Moments like this are so bad they are almost laughable.
A spin-off of “The Vampire Diaries,” “The Originals” (9 p.m. Thursday before moving to its regular 8 p.m. Tuesday time slot next week, WPCW) has its work cut out for it in its pilot episode. It must both stand on its own and satisfy “Vampire Diaries” fans who consider coming along for the ride. That’s not an easy task.
But as a viewer who hasn’t tuned into “Vampire Diaries” since season two – its fifth season premiere is at 8 p.m. Thursday – “The Originals” deserves credit for a mostly clear set-up for newcomers.
The episode begins with a flashback to the arrival of siblings Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Rebekah (Claire Holt) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) as they first visited New Orleans 300 years ago.
“We’re vampires, darling, the original vampires,” Rebekah tells a poor infantryman who boards their ship in waters off the coast of Louisiana. A later flashback attempts to further flesh out the family history and clarify that Klaus is a vampire-werewolf hybrid.
Even after this it’s not entirely clear how these three are original vampires – just by drinking their mother’s blood? – but, whatever, just accept it and move on.
Nattily-attired Elijah is the sensible member of the triumvirate while Klaus is forever out for blood. Klaus is in a tiff with Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), Klaus’ former protégé, who rules New Orleans and has some sort of pact with the town’s witches.
“What’s mine is yours but it is mine,” Marcel tells Klaus. “My home, my family, my rules!”
(At one point Marcel is seen talking to a character whose presence may turn out to be a shock to “VD” fans but I had no idea who she was.)
“The Originals” also introduces a nature’s loophole pregnancy that gives the series a useful first-season trajectory that also plays into an overall theme of family that’s at the heart of the show. It also helps that the pregnant character is a hoot who gets the best dialogue.
“Your family is legendary, your brother is psycho and I slept with him,” the pregnant woman says. “Classic me.”
Yes, there’s a fair bit of vampire, werewolf and witch rule-setting and mumbo-jumbo to wade through, but only viewers who are up for such blather are likely to watch “The Originals” anyway.
Perhaps best of all, the first episode ends with a shocker turn that’s sure to spur viewers to come back for episode two.