Thursday, December 30, 2010

Catching Up: The Good Guys

As the calendar year comes to a close and new television episodes get sparser and sparser, I feel it’s fitting to offer a short write-up on those shows that I abandoned in terms of weekly reviews for the site but kept up with throughout the season, at whatever pace.

I stopped covering this show after episode three and only stayed on to recap it every week for TV Tango’s Rapid Recaps & TV Web-bits From Last Week through the end of the summer. When it returned this fall, I didn’t expect to stick with it. What had happened, however, over the course of the show’s first nine episodes, is that it became surprisingly endearing and there was something about it that just seemed appealing. This isn’t to be confused with an actual increase in quality or a show that just needs some time to develop and grow into itself (see “The Big C” and “The Good Wife” for recent examples of the latter). This show isn’t good by any measure, but it is a great guilty pleasure. Bradley Whitford truly seems like he’s having a blast, whether he’s decrying the demerits of doing paperwork or interfacing with computers or just sporting that crazy mustache. Colin Hanks, as his token young, by-the-book partner, wasn’t quite as irritating as it might have originally seemed, and he too seemed to grow up into a sort of funk and learn how to deal with and manage the unruly and unpredictable Dan. The sudden addition of Samantha in episode fourteen enabled the guys to have someone who actually respected them and was perfectly happy to help them out without adding any caveat, like Lieutenant Ruiz and Liz did. Samantha sort of leapt from being a casual guest star to essentially a regular player (though not credited as such, I believe), as did Julius, whose role got increasingly ridiculous as the show went on and he ended up in protective custody into Jack’s home. I’m glad Jack and Liz got back together, though how (and that) the relationship was sustained was pretty preposterous. Casting Gary Cole as Frank was an inspired choice, and I’m also somewhat baffled by the talent enlisted as guest stars – from Nia Vardalos in the pilot to Frances Fisher as Liz’s mom to Ray Wise, Danny Trejo, Ed Begley Jr., and finally Joshua Malina in the penultimate episode. I’m just surprised that all of those names were interested in (less so about them being available for) guest-starring on this show. The news came in last week that the show will not be renewed for a second season, which makes me somewhat sad because this was a relatively harmless series that was good for filling in a boring forty-five minutes, especially on the weekends.

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