Universal has had a poor track record when it comes to reviving older properties in recent years. Their latest could end up repeating an earlier mistake, or it could live up to its pedigree.
There are two major changes to Ironside as the series returns, rebooted for the 21st century. For one, the series setting changes from San Francisco to New York, which suggests to me that there may be a crossover with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the offing, especially if this series gets off to a good start.
The other is the most glaring. Det. Robert T. Ironside has been remolded as an African-American detective. Yes, he's still confined to a wheelchair, and there are flashbacks that will piece together just how that happened in this version. But unlike the original series, this Ironside (Blair Underwood, ex-L. A. Law, who is also a producer on this show) is a ladies man. You know, kind of like "Shaft" back in the day.
However, if you get past the notion of Ironside being recast as an African-American, you can appreciate this series as a classic whodunit, complete with modern-day acrouements in technology to complement old fashioned police work. The pilot episode, directed by Peter Horton (ex-thirtysomething) happens to be available On Demand, two weeks before it debuts on NBC. In it, Ironside is using more vigilante tactics to take down a suspect, something we would never have seen in the original series. Remember, this is a very different era we're in.
Here's a sample clip:
In addition to the change in setting, there's a new supporting cast, which includes a 2nd generation actress, Spencer Grammer (daughter of Kelsey), who plays Holly, one of Ironside's assistants. Trust me, the boys will tune in to see her, but they'll learn something, too, along the way.
Will it work? The original lasted 8 seasons, and is currently airing on Me-TV. I think, honestly, that Raymond Burr would be proud of this reincarnation.