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TV Review: New FOX Series ‘The Good Guys’ is Just Mediocre
CHICAGO – Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford seem like a pair of good guys in real life and the creator of their new show (Matt Nix of “Burn Notice”) has definitely been more-than-good in the past but their new action series, “The Good Guys” might be more correctly titled “The Mediocre Guys,” although that’s not quite as catchy.
Television Rating: 2.5/5.0
On “The Good Guys,” debuting tonight, May 19th, 2010 on FOX, Hanks and Whitford play a pair of Texan cops who are cut from the classic oil-and-water buddy comedy cloth. Hanks plays the buttoned-up Jack Bailey while Whitford plays the unbuttoned Dan Stark. Bailey longs for a more high-profile gig than chasing down stolen humidifiers while Stark barely lives a sober moment, more focused on his mustache grooming than anything else. Jenny Wade plays Assistant District Attorney Liz Traynor while Diana Maria Riva co-stars as Lt. Ana Ruiz.
The Good Guys
Photo credit: Bill Matlock/FOX
The premiere of “The Good Guys” features a plot that starts with the aforementioned appliance and works its way through a complex drug money theft involving a plastic surgeon and two of the best assassins in the world. Bailey and Stark essentially stumble into the crime-in-progress and the two have to deal with their own personality differences while dodging gunfire and apprehending the bad guys.
The Good Guys.
Photo credit: Michael Lavine/FOX
What’s interesting to me is how often “The Good Guys” reminded me of other shows. It has the feel of cop shows from the ’70s and ’80s, programs that were sort of half-comedy and half-action in that they only took themselves seriously with their tongue in cheek manner. It’s a style that has been perfected in the last few years by the USA Network on shows like “Burn Notice,” “Psych,” and “Royal Pains” in that the mysteries-of-the-week are driven by the personalities of the leads. “The Good Guys” seems like it would have made a perfect fit on USA and its fascinating to think that the cable nets are now influencing the broadcast ones after so many years in reverse.
The problem is that USA probably turned down the pilot for “The Good Guys”. More often than not, it simply doesn’t click. There’s an intangible chemistry of character, mystery, and, often, location on shows like “Burn Notice” and “Psych” that this program doesn’t have, at least not in the pilot. It’s a fast-paced, frenetic show but it too often feels unfocused, as if it’s as-yet-unsure what to do with its quirky characters or its unusual concept.
It can be extremely difficult to judge a new program on the basis of one episode, especially for a show that relies so heavily on the chemistry of its leads and the rhythm of its dialogue. Right now, neither that necessary chemistry nor the witty dialogue one would expect from the creator of “Burn Notice” is in place, and if there’s anything that’s notably different about broadcast programs compared to cable ones is that viewers and executives are more impatient. It’s unlikely that this pair will be given the time to develop into something “good”.