An Old-Fashioned Retool

Since The Good Guys is a deliberately old-fashioned show, it figures that the network would give it an old-fashioned retool, bringing it back this fall with new regulars and a mandate to include more romance and comedy relief:

I hear the focus will be on attracting more female viewers. The show is adding a new recurring female character, a young CSI, that could potentially become a regular. There also will be more emphasis on romantic relationships, with the new character part of that effort. Additionally, RonReaco Lee, who guest starred in the pilot and appeared in 2 more episodes this summer as bumbling criminal Julius, is expected to heavily recur in the fall.

My own view on this kind of show has always been that it needs fewer regulars, not more; if a show is about two cops — Starsky and Hutch, Mulder and Scully — then a large cast just gets in the way of sending those two cops out to participate in that week’s case. You either get sub-plots focusing on the other regulars, or the minor regulars take time away from developing the guest characters who drive the story of the week. And in an episodic mystery show, the guest characters are extremely important: they’re the only ones who can really change, they’re the only ones who have high stakes (because they can die, they can undergo huge changes in their lives even if they don’t die). Adding more romance and more regulars may theoretically make the show more interesting, but in a 41-minute episode, every minute spent on a peripheral regular character is a minute they don’t devote to creating memorable guests or substantial stories or big action sequences. You know, the stuff that would actually make a show like this into a hit.

Still, if they’re going for ’80s nostalgia, it’s oddly fitting for the show to get worked over in-between seasons just like an ’80s show would have been. But along with the network’s reluctance to let Dollhouse experiment with different TV genres, and the decision to try and rework Human Target by adding more pop songs, it’s another sign that Fox wants to get back to that kind of light action show but doesn’t really know how to do it (which I guess leaves them one up over NBC, which has proven with Chuck that it doesn’t even want to try).

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