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'The Good Guys' seems like a '70s cop show

From left: Colin Hanks is Jack Bailey and

From left: Colin Hanks is Jack Bailey and Bradley Whitford is Dan Stark two detectives exposing the big picture of small crime, on "The Good Guys" previewing Wednesday, May 19 at 8 p.m. on FOX. Photo Credit: FOX Photo

THE SHOW "The Good Guys"

WHEN | WHERE Previews Wednesday night at 8 on Fox/5; premieres in its regular time slot June 7.

REASON TO WATCH Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") stars in an hourlong comedy.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Dan Stark (Whitford) is a Dallas detective whose best days are long ago and far away. Living in a trailer, he's got the slightest paunch, ruddy face, carefully clipped mustache, receding hairline and wistful memories of the glory days. He was a big shot in the '80s, and even inspired a TV movie. Now, he's been busted down to the small-crimes unit and medicates himself with far too much booze.

"You wake up one morning and it's lasers and robots and people shavin' their hair where it used to grow free," he says. Or this: "Computers! Can't get used to 'em. Aren't you worried they'll turn on you?" His partner, Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks, the priest from "Mad Men"), listens to this all day while waiting for the big break that will land him in the homicide unit. That comes when a thief who steals a humidifier unwittingly drags them into a case involving drug cartels and lots and lots of guns. Oh, the guns - and hardly anyone ever gets hurt.

MY SAY How to explain the presence of this mildly amusing live-action cartoon and TV equivalent of a Big Mac with a side order of fries? "The Good Guys" seems to have arrived unannounced, like a wedding crasher right in the middle of Fox's May sweeps victory lap party. It even has a spot on the fall lineup. Somebody up there must be looking out for it.

Genial and retro - aggressively retro - "The Good Guys" is just average. Fox must have research that says viewers really want a '70s-style buddy-cop show with a Burt Reynolds / "White Lightning" vibe, flying bullets and squealing tires, and chase scenes to the accompaniment of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck." There's even a Trans Am here, just like the one in "Smokey and the Bandit," and for all I know, this is the '77 "Bandit" Trans Am.

BOTTOM LINE As a quirky cross between Reynolds' Gator McKlusky and John Cazale's Fredo Corleone, Whitford pretty much hijacks the show. He's fun to watch, even if the show will knock your IQ down a few points.


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