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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Good Guys' summer is over

    The Good Guys have packed it up.  After a mere nine episodes, the final airing last night, the Fox summer series has come to an end.  This is regretful, as I think it has been hands down the best show of the summer.  Happily, however, it will return this fall.  Unhappily, the return date is two months away, and that's a long time to go without my weekly dose of Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford) and Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks).

     Although it is not the standard crime procedural, on paper the series does not have a lot going for it.  Every episode goes through a lot of the same plot points: Stark and Bailey are assigned a minor crime, they want to work a larger crime, somehow the minor crime ties itself into the larger crime.  Stark screws up and angers their boss, Lt. Ruiz (Diana Maria Riva).  Bailey makes subtle passes at his ex-girlfriend, Liz (Jenny Wade).  Through a series of lucky happenstances, the two take down whatever big villain exists, usually with the help of a small villain, who barely qualifies as such, and earns the audience's sympathy, and gets away with whatever he or she did, or gets a very slight punishment.  Time jumps around in whatever way to best please the audience.  Because of the shear number of coincidences, one episode is unrealistic.  But it happens again and again, every week.

     However, something about The Good Guys rises above the ingredients.  It doesn't matter that the episodes don't change much, or that they aren't believable.  It is still miles of fun to watch.  Creator Matt Nix (Burn Notice) has got something on his hands that is light-hearted and action packed.  Tons of bullets fly, things blow up, and somehow, rarely is anyone scratched.  Bradley Whitford seems to be having the most fun of career, overacting the washed-up, former legend with the '70's look.  Hanks, despite his obvious similarities to his father, Tom, has never had his career take off.  But in playing the straight man against Whitford, he's found a home.  Wade is sweet, and Ruiz is more than someone for the audience to get mad at for chastising the heroes.  Usually, you can easily understand why she gets so upset.

     It may not be the smartest thing on television, or the best written, but it has a charm that transcends it, and makes it better than summer fare.  Deservedly, it will return Friday nights beginning September 24th.  A Friday time slot is not usually a good sign, but as the show escaped summer, it can probably escape the death knell of Fridays, too.  Watch The Good Guys on Fox.

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