Another week, another TV reboot. And although the idea of "a young, sexy Walker, Texas Ranger" sounds like the punchline to a particularly cutting joke about 21st century programming decisions, that's exactly what we're getting on The CW. The original Walker, Texas Ranger was of course a vehicle for aging action star Chuck Norris back in the '90s. That show ran for 8 seasons on CBS, from 1993-2001, with Norris all the while nabbin' bad guys and throwin' some of his martial arts moves around while wearin' his cowboy hat. In the two decades since that show ended, there hasn't exactly been a groundswell for a reboot starring a younger, less grizzled lead, but reboot we shall! Not on CBS this time, but on its younger-skewing corporate sibling, The CW. And from the looks of things… well, Walker is apprehending criminals with a lasso while riding a horse, so we're all set here.
Here's who The CW has lined up to star in the new series:
Since his first appearance on the first season of Gilmore Girls in 2000, Jared Padelecki has been a regular star of a WB/CW series. On Gilmore Girls, he played picture-perfect high-school boyfriend Dean Forester, the grocery store bag boy of Rory Gilmore's (Alexis Bledel) dreams, even sticking around for a bit after Rory dumped Dean for jerkface Jess (Milo Ventimiglia). Padalecki then pivoted out of Stars Hollow and into the front seat of a 1967 Chevy Impala to go fight demonic forces alongside his on-screen brother (Jensen Ackles) in Supernatural. In that show, Ackles played Dean while Padalecki was Sam, which means Walker does break Padalecki's two-decade streak of starring on a TV show where one of the main characters is named "Dean." On Walker, he plays the titular Cordell Walker, a Texas Ranger who has recently lost his wife and who returns to Austin after two years undercover.
In the role of Micki Ramirez, Walker's new partner in the Rangers, is Lindsey Morgan, who is probably best known for her role on another CW series, The 100, where she played mechanical engineer Raven Reyes. Before that, Ramirez — who is of half-Mexican and half-Irish heritage — starred for a year on the daytime soap opera General Hospital as Kristina Davis, earning a 2013 Daytime Emmy nomination for her performance. She's also guest starred on shows like the legal drama Franklin and Bash and the medical drama The Night Shift.
Liam Walker is Cordell's younger brother. Gay but conservative, Liam is a newly promoted assistant DA in Austin. He stepped up for his brother's kids while Cordell was away, and their close relationships may end up causing some friction with his brother. Allen is best known for his role as the eternally troubled, often suspicious, usually dreamy Toby Cavanaugh on Pretty Little Liars. Other significant roles include the film King Cobra opposite James Franco, as well as appearances on TV shows like Major Crimes and What/If.
TV veteran Mitch Pileggi comes to Walker after having recurred for many years on Supernatural, playing the grandfather of Jared Padalecki's Sam. Though he's almost certainly best known for his role as FBI assistant director Walter Skinner on The X-Files. Other significant roles include Stargate Atlantis, Sons of Anarchy, the TNT reboot of Dallas, and as the narrator on the series of FOX specials Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed. On Walker, Pileggi will be playing Bonham Walker, father to Cordell and Liam, a rancher and a tough, morally righteous family man.
In the role of Abeline Walker, mother to the Walker boys, is veteran character actress Molly Hagan. Hagan is probably best known for playing Matthew Broderick's wife in the 1999 film Election, and for her regular roles in the FOX sitcom Herman's Head, and as the mother to Emma Roberts' character on Nickelodeon's Unfabulous. She's guest starred on dozens of other TV shows over the years, including Seinfeld, Friends, Grey's Anatomy, iZombie, and Jane the Virgin. As it happens, Hagan's film debut was in the 1985 action flick Code of Silence, which starred... yep, Chuck Norris.
Coby Bell starred for nine seasons as Jason Pitts on The CW/BET series The Game, for six seasons as Officer Tyrone Davis on NBC's Third Watch, and for four seasons as former intelligence agent Jesse Porter on Burn Notice. Most recently, he was a regular on the FOX series The Gifted. Bell will be playing Captain Larry James, a Texas Ranger and the only African American man in the Austin headquarters of the Rangers.
In the role of Trey Barnett, Micki's boyfriend who's recently returned from active duty as an Army medic, is actor Jeff Pierre, who is probably best known for playing Prince Naveen on ABC's Once Upon a Time. His other credits include the ABC cop drama The Rookie and Showtime's Shameless.
Genevieve Padalecki (née Cortese) is best-known for her role as the demon Ruby on later seasons of Supernatural, where she replaced Katie Cassidy. It was there that she met Jared Padalecki, and the pair married in 2010. They've since had three children together. Genevieve has also appeared on TV shows like The Dead Zone and FlashForward. On Walker, she plays the role of Emily, Walker's dead wife, in flashback, as he tries to unravel the mystery of her demise.
In the recurring role of Geri, an old friend of Walker and Emily's, is actress Odette Annable. She's best known for roles in the film Cloverfield (where she played Beth, the girlfriend that the main character is trying to get across the city to find) and on the TV shows October Road, as Dr. Jessica Adams on House, and as Samantha Arias/Reign on Supergirl. She's also guested onshows like Brothers & Sisters (where she met her husband, actor David Annable) and The Astronaut Wives Club, and films like You Again, opposite Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Bell, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Walker premieres on The CW January 21st at 8:00 PM ET.
People are talking about Walker in our forums. Join the conversation.
Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.