Over the course of three seasons, USA’s Burn Notice has honed its version of the ’80s-style action-series template, telling entertaining, often forgettable single-episode crime stories while maintaining a low-level ongoing storyline that never really goes anywhere. Now Notice creator Matt Nix has gone back to that throwback well for The Good Guys (Fox, Mondays, 9 p.m.; premieres May 19, 8 p.m.), a breezy summer series that’s the buddy-cop flip side to Notice’s take on the P.I. genre.
- The Good Guys
Guys flaunts its influences more overtly, though, primarily in the character of Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford), an over-the-hill cop who seems to have teleported in from 1982, with his bushy mustache, wide ties and distrust of things like computers and DNA. The frequently drunk Stark has been demoted over the years to working the routine-crimes detail, where his partner is young go-getter Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks). One is a straitlaced careerist; the other is a sloppy narcissist with contempt for authority. How will they possibly get along?
To his credit, Nix clearly knows how clichéd the show’s setup is; in a way, that’s the entire point. Nix jazzes things up with snarky onscreen titles (a trick carried over from Burn Notice), and Whitford goes all out with his performance, but the show is still awkwardly pitched between parody and homage, and the actual case the duo investigates in the pilot is convoluted and boring. The concept runs out of juice from trying so hard over the course of the first episode, and what’s left is just another time-wasting crime procedural.