tek's rating: ½

The Good Guys, on FOX
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streaming sites: Amazon; iTunes

This stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks. Whitford plays Dallas police detective Dan Stark, whose career peaked in 1985 (25 years ago), when he saved the life of the governor's son. Hanks plays his current partner, Jack Bailey. The show pulls off the amazing feat of playing old cop show cliches for laughs, while simultaneously making that stuff look kinda cool. (Well, okay, it mostly is hilariously goofy and over-the-top and ludicrous, almost campy, but it's all too tongue-in-cheek to be true camp.) Stark is constantly reminiscing about his glory days, and his old partner, Frank (who we eventually learn had a nervous breakdown because of Stark; though in a later episode, they work together again). The way Dan approaches police work has not evolved since those days (though some of the stuff he says, I have to wonder if he's being serious, or if it's all part of a "role" he's adopted for himself; not trusting computers... eh, whatever. Not believing in DNA... uh, c'mon, really, Dan?) I do sort of wonder if he looked at the job this way 25 years ago, as if he saw himself as a character in a cop show like "Miami Vice" or something. (When this occurred to me, it put me in mind of Keen Eddie, and if you liked that show, you'll probably like this one. But even if you disliked/never saw that show, you'll still probably like this one.) But whether he saw his job in such a light back then or not, clearly his "role" has evolved in the present to another kind of cliche. Whatever, he seems to enjoy himself, playing the old-school loose cannon, breaking rules, and all that. Though everyone else sees him as a has-been, a nuisance who's only still on the force because of the whole saving the governor's kid, thing. And I rather wonder if we'll ever get to see an acknowledgement from Stark that he knows the truth about himself.

Meanwhile, Jack is a by-the-book cop, something of a cliche, himself. Not stoic like Joe Friday or anything, but definitely more serious than Stark. But he hasn't got a lot of friends in the department, apparently because he's always correcting people, and maybe acts superior. (He kind of reminds me of Lassiter from Psych or Eddie from The Unusuals, though he seems more likable than either of those guys.) Because of this, he's stuck as Stark's partner, a position he dislikes partly because of the way Stark acts, and partly because it seems to mean he has no chance for advancement. Anyway, their boss is Lt. Ana Ruiz, who doesn't like either of them. But there is an assistant DA named Liz Traynor (Jenny Wade), Jack's ex-girlfriend, with whom he is still friends, and who occasionally helps him out in his investigations.

Dan and Jack are always given very small-time stuff to do, and somehow Dan always manages- in his ludicrously unprofessional, sometimes technically criminal, yet always hilarious way- to turn these small jobs into (unauthorized) investigations of major crimes. Jack tries- but not very hard- to rein his partner in, but always ends up going along with it, which of course always puts them both in hot water with Lt. Ruiz. But then in the end, they always manage to solve the crimes (though generally with a great deal of expensive property damage, on top of all the rule-bending). Of course, over time Jack and Dan get to be friends, and Jack mellows a bit, even if he's still usually troubled by some of the stuff Dan does. Oh, and I should mention a few other recurring characters. There's an ex-con named Julius Grant who sometimes works as an informant for Dan and Jack. There's a cop named Elton Hodges who doesn't get along with Dan (his partner's name is Lang, but that's all I can tell you about him). And later in the season, there's a crime scene investigator named Samantha Evans, who often helps Dan and Jack in their investigations.

So, anyway, it's kind of a cliche to have a show or movie about odd couple partners like this, who, as I said, are each their own kind of cliche. But really... it works. So far, I find everything terribly funny, including the bad guys each week, and any incidental characters. It's all so ridiculous and improbable, but also so self-aware and alot of fun. I guess that's all I can say for now, except that I really dig the theme, Slink (A Hymn), by Locksley.

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