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Bigger Than Dallas: An Advance Review of FOX's The Good Guys

I wanted to like FOX's new action-comedy The Good Guys. I really did.

The series, which gets a sneak peak on FOX tonight before its official launch this summer, revolves around anachronistic police officer Dan Stark (The West Wing's Bradley Whitford) who acts as though he's the living embodiment of a 1970s TV cop show and is paired with by-the-book, ambitious younger officer Jack Bailey (Mad Men's Colin Hanks), who resents the fact that his promising career is being held back by this boozy, washed up hack.

Created by Matt Nix (Burn Notice), The Good Guys could be fun, escapist fare but the first hour found it trying way too hard to please and the intentional quirkiness of the situation (look for Whitford's Dan to eat moldy cottage cheese and vomit!) often feels laborious and arrives with the subtlety of an anvil being dropped on our heads.

Which is sad as both Whitford and Hanks are fantastic, as are their fellow cast members Jenny Wade (as Jack's A.D.A. ex-girlfriend Liz) and Diana Maria Riva (as Lieutenant Ana Ruiz). It's nice to see a series where the major positions of power are being held by female characters while it's the men who are desperately in need of getting their lives in order.

There are some fun sequences, such as the shootout between Hanks' Jack and guest star Andrew Divoff (Lost's Mikhail), here playing a South American assassin, the second best in all of the world, and a car chase that has Jack making a major--and literal--leap of faith.

As for the good guys themselves, their odd couple pairing is meant to indicate that they're not only meant to be partners but can and will be teaching one another valuable and important lessons about Life and Humanity and Duty and Honor. Which is fine and good and all that, but I wanted the series itself to have more of a winning sparkle about it.

Yes, Dan's methods are horribly old-school but it's hard not to compare the metaphorically out-of-time Dallas cop with Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes' original anachronism, Gene Hunt (the staggeringly brilliant Philip Glenister)... and Gene comes out trumps every time.

In the end, while it's a fun diversion, I just wanted Good Guys to be, well, better.

FOX will offer a sneak peak at the pilot episode of The Good Guys tonight at 8 pm ET/PT. The official series premiere is scheduled for June 7th at 9 pm ET/PT.

Comments

Unknown said…
Say it isn't so! Whitford + Nix is supposed to equal awesomesauce!
Calvin B. said…
I'm a fan of Colin Hanks but this just looks cheesy to me. As you said, it definitely seems like it's trying too hard!

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