Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"Good Guys" thin, but entertaining
Even if you didn't know that the new Fox series "The Good Guys" (premiering 8 p.m. Wednesday) came from the same guy who brought us USA's spy dramedy "Burn Notice," it wouldn't take long to see some clear similarities between the two shows.
Both are fast-paced, quick-witted and feature on-screen titles identifying the people and places we're introduced to. And yes, both shows come from executive producer Matt Nix, who, with the newest offering, cements his reputation as the go-to guy for the sort of action comedies popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
Like "Burn Notice," "The Good Guys" features an iconoclastic main character. This time, it's boozy, mustachioed, grammar-mangling cop Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford of "The West Wing," who is hilarious and nearly unrecognizable).
Like "Burn Notice's" Michael Weston, Dan is a man on the outs with mainstream society. Unlike Michael, Dan is largely to blame for his current situation in life. A former celebrity crime-fighter, Dan is now a self-destructive joke who's been shunted down to the property crimes division. Yet despite his behavioral issues (and his inability to pronounce the word "humidifier"), Dan still has good instincts and a lot of guts.
He also has an equally unpopular partner, the snarky Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks, who sounds more like his famous dad with each role).
Hanks and Whitford are an inspired pairing, and the show's pilot offers a zippy, tongue-in-cheek take on the buddy cop genre. The two guys hop from (or onto) moving cars, run with weapons drawn, and exchange one-liners.
It's the kind of show where a crime boss dispatches "the second best assassin in the world" to retrieve some stolen money. It's also the kind of show where that assassin (charmingly played by Andrew Divoff in a solid guest spot) turns out to be a cerebral gentleman who corrects people's grammar and kills by a code.
It's fast, fun and entertaining. However, I'm hoping that future episodes will add some layers to the characters and the concept. Right now, Whitford's Dan is a bit one-dimensional (and I'm not sure that Whitford, while excellent, is old enough to play a man who doesn't understand computers). I'd definitely like to see him become more fully drawn as the show goes on.
"The Good Guys" has the potential to be an amusing summer series. That is, after all, how "Burn Notice" started out. Since then, that show has deepened enough to offer complicated explorations of the characters and they're relationships. I'd like to see the same thing happen with "The Good Guys."