I didn’t get a chance to review the Fox’s summer buddy cop hourlong comedy The Good Guys in advance of its “sneak preview” in front of American Idol a couple weeks ago, but mind you that’s no indication of quality. And lucky for me, Fox has deemed tonight’s move to its regular slot of Mondays 9/8 c the “series premire”, which gives me a second chance to shine some light on this fun romp of a summer show.
Hit the jump for a review of the first two episodes of The Good Guys after the jump.
At its core, The Good Guys is a take on the potentially dated buddy cop genre, with Colin Hanks playing straight-laced partner Jack opposite Bradley Whitford’s would-be renegade Dan, a cop with a flair for improvisation far removed from his 1980s prime. The duo is relegated to theoretically action-free Property Crimes department, though Dan’s recklessness and Jack’s ambitions promise to pit them against some of Dallas’ bigger criminal fish each week.
The show is created by Matt Nix, the man behind USA’s Burn Notice. Fox initially slotted Guys for midseason, though the postponement to June feels more like an aggressive programming move than an exercise in summer burnoff. With its head in the clouds and its heart in the eighties, Guys is well-suited to the breezy nature of summer entertainment, and a great companion to Nix’s Miami spy show Burn Notice.
To give you a feel for the show, Whitford’s character is introduced mustache-first in a gratuitous seconds-long closeup. I find Whitford’s features too boyish to fully buy him as the washed up local hero that he’s meant to be, but his zeal for the role is infectious*. The idea that he doesn’t understand how computers work (quote: “It’s like you’re the computer machine whisperer”) is ultra-silly, but entirely consistent with the tone of the show. Hanks, meanwhile, injects a potentially dull role with the patented family charm, which makes for a very competent straight man.
The show falters a bit in its attempts to empathize with the emotions of the characters, one of whom is defined mostly by a mustache sight gag. But fifty-five minutes of fun in exchange for five minutes of mawkishness is not a bad deal, and those are the kind of elements that will be ironed out over time. I say The Good Guys is definitely worth a shot over the reruns of Two and a Half Men that CBS airs Mondays at 9/8c**, and was promised a slot alongside Human Target in the fall if enough of us watch.
*My introduction to Whitford was via Billy Madison, of which I have very fond memories, so I love to see him be goofy alongside his meatier West Wing-ian roles.
**I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it tops the Big Bang Theory reruns that air in the second half of the hour.