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Jonathan Storm: "The Good Guys" shows old concepts can still work

Just when you've had it up to here with copycat reality shows - They dance! They sing! They cook! They get their huge hair caught in the ceiling fan! - along comes a copycat drama.

Just when you've had it up to here with copycat reality shows - They dance! They sing! They cook! They get their huge hair caught in the ceiling fan! - along comes a copycat drama.

Fox's The Good Guys is a wiseguy cop show, so you're supposed to get some chuckles along with your thrills, as the hopeless throwback and his clean-cut young partner go through TV's version of Kabuki, with moves that were first choreographed in the '50s.

But just because something isn't novel doesn't mean it can't be entertaining. People are still paying good money for Kabuki theater, and some people may find pleasant distraction, especially in summer, in The Good Guys - despite, or because of, its violent silliness.

It had a special "preview" showing in May, in the same post-American Idol slot that launched Glee last year. Buzz built all summer before Glee, which shatters so many TV-series stereotypes, came back in the fall as a huge hit.

Not a lot of buzz, nor much chance of huge hit-dom, for The Good Guys. The show, as stereotypical as it gets, is also slotted for a fall pickup, but it will be here all summer, too, with its official premiere Monday at 9 p.m.

Dan Stark and Jack Bailey are the lowest-rung detectives in the Dallas P.D., sent to solve such scintillating cases as a stolen humidifier or a vandalized window.

Of course, they find more sinister shenanigans than anyone would have thought, and of course they break every rule to bring them to safe conclusions. Dan's something of a drunk, and he's trying to re-create the good old days when he and Dirty Harry were contemporaries. Jack's pretty helpless against his insanity. Instead of a Ford muscle car, Dan has a '70s era Pontiac Trans Am.

The bad guys are much less generic than the criminals who made Harry's days. Monday's villains include a couple of simpleminded redneck patriots and a much-too-ruthless British car thief named Nigel, who has jealousy problems.

His henchman suggests a solution: "Perhaps if you could learn to fully put your trust into someone else, you'll find the relationship more fulfilling."

The cops' night-and-day relationship isn't fulfilling, but it's certainly familiar.

Colin Hanks, Tom's 32-year-old son, plays Jack, and Bradley Whitford, 20 years older, discards the suave demeanor and 85 percent of the brainpower of The West Wing's Josh Lyman to play Dan.

He has also grown a '70s-style cop mustache, which is almost a separate character, and he runs around in aviator sunglasses. He also appears to be having the time of his life, along with his mustache.

"Women are fascinated and creeped out," he told TV critics last winter at their meeting in Los Angeles. "And my kids hate it."

The Good Guys comes from executive producer Matt Nix, also the force behind USA Network's Burn Notice, which has garnered a pretty big and loyal audience (for a summer cable show). Nix already has demonstrated that he has never met a cliche he couldn't freshen up.

Cutie Jenny Wade, who played the human incarnation of a demon in CW's delightful Reaper, is an assistant D.A. who carries a not-so-flaming torch for Jack, and Diana Maria Riva is the no-nonsense lieutenant forced to put up with Dan and Jack's nonsense.

It's as difficult to imagine people setting time aside to watch this show as it is to imagine Dan typing up a police report. But those who happen upon The Good Guys may have a hard time turning it off.