The Good Guys Is Off to a Good Start

I like Matt Nix. His other show, Burn Notice, doesn't try to reinvent the wheel on spy procedurals, but it provides nice post-modern touches on the genre: Its hero, Michael Weston, is likable, despite his best efforts to appear otherwise, and he narrates each episode with do-it-yourself spy tips and thoughts on the show's larger mythology. Nix's latest project, The Good Guys, premiered last night on Fox (the show will return on June 7), and like Burn Notice, it's not super complicated or densely layered. It's simply a good time, with a little action, a little comedy, some good acting, and more than a few gratuitous mustache scenes.

Signature Nix elements peppered the pilot, which was directed by Burn Notice vet and West Wing actor Tim Matheson. Jack (Colin Hanks) is an up-and-coming cop who's subdued, yet unafraid of speaking out of turn even when it's not his place (like every character on Burn Notice). Dan (Bradley Whitford) is the Bruce Campbell-type: drunk and fumbling, but a secret savant at what he does. He causes a lot of trouble on the force, but they can't get rid of him because 25 years ago, he saved the governor's son. That fleeting moment of fame gives him job security and the ability to flirt with older ladies who remember his "glory days" even though no one can stand him. Also very Burn Notice is the way the action plays out, in that the mission is solved when the cops go rogue and do things their way. Whether that means eating old cottage cheese so one of them can vomit at a crime scene and get the place to himself to look for clues, or giving a gun to a suspect to help out, these guys fly by the seat of their pants.

With any procedural, there's always the fear that the key characters won't be compelling enough to sustain viewers each week; then the onus rests on the cases themselves to be interesting. Alone, the Jack and Dan characters would likely wear out their welcomes, but together they make strong leads. There's the familiar element of Jack slowly warming up to Dan—a chaotic cop who always comes out on top by using whatever means necessary. (Even saying that sounds a bit cliché.) But mixed in is an unexpected vulnerability in Dan: No one is aware of the fact that Dan is past his prime more than Dan himself—hence, all the drinking—and in Jack he sees a friend and protegé, kind of a second shot at a decent career.

As for the show's cases, The Good Guys would be wise to stick to a formula resembling what happened last night: Jack and Dan were investigating what appeared to be a small-time crime, but at the insistence of Dan they kept digging, and discovered that a simple stolen humidifier was connected to drugs, money, and murder. In the world of The Good Guys, there's always more than meets the eye. Or, as the case may be, the 'stache.

What did you think of the pilot?

Comments (13)
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I thought this new show was a hoot! It has great leads and the storyline was very interesting; lots of twists and turns, and it all played out well.

Looking forward to watching this every week.
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Bradley Whitford was awesome..."humidifinder"!
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Haven't watched it off the DVR yet, but the overall plot is sounding from this writeup like shades of every Dirty Harry sequel...
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Didn' watch the pilot but I'll definately be watching it now coz of it's similarities to one of my fav shows Burn Notice.
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I like Colin Hanks.. A LOT! But I hated this show. It's attempts at being irreverent weren't funny and what could have been funny was just lame. Find Hanks another show to shine in. This one isn't it.
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It was GENIUS! I tuned in, because nothing else I like was on, and Colin Hanks is Hank-a-licious. He has his dads facial expressions and similar voice. It was fast-paced and very interesting characters like the "2nd" best assasin, who actually couldn't believe he hit the BEST assasin and looks at himslef for gunshots, who tried to teach one target Spanish, and who let Hanks' character go to try to save an innocent. The best part though was it was HILARIOUS! Oh my gosh I was laughing SO hard I missed some dialog when Hank's Jack shot at the assasin with two guns in this dramatic movie-type shot and then realized not a single bullet hit! And when Dan took out the flask from his pocket that saved his life I laughed again! The only disappointing thing is it won't be back until JUNE!
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I liked it, and I'll continue to watch it until it's inevitably cancelled after being moved to Friday.
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You don't like Burn Notice !!! - that's just incomprehensible.
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One of the shows I'm not going to watch. I stopped watching it after 20 minutes. Maybe it's because I don't like Burn Notice as well...
I think Colin Hanks is a very good actor though.
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Well I liked it. And it was the pilot. So it can only get better. Whitford is funny, Colin Hanks plays the good straight man.
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slow start but good show, give it a few more episodes to find its feet
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I've got this down as the first cancellation of the new bunch of shows.
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sorry guys this wasnt for me I thought the show was NOT good guys. Story was scattered and the gun shot going off to change sceenes was irritating
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