Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Turner & Hooch’ On Disney+, A Continuation Of The Tom Hanks Film, With A New Generation Of Cop And Slobbering Dog

Ever heard of the concept of a “legacy sequel”? It’s a sequel to a film or series that takes place years after the original, where the characters have some sort of connection to the original characters. More than likely, that connection is generational; it’s someone’s kid or grandkid. That’s what the Disney+ reboot of the1989 Tom Hanks comedy Turner & Hooch is. But is it good?

Opening Shot: A very neat apartment in San Francisco. Scott Turner (Josh Peck), a rookie U.S. Marshal, wakes up with a smile on his face.

The Gist: Scott is precise about everything, even the way he measures out the protein powder for his smoothie. He even tries to advise his pregnant partner, Jessica Baxter (Carra Patterson) on what to eat during the particular stage of her pregnancy she’s in.

Before they go into work, they go to the house of a hacker, who runs; as we find out, Scott has a lot of talent, not the least of which is the ability to chase down people trying to flee. They go back to the office and their boss, Chief James Mendez (Anthony Ruivivar), assigns them to a witness protection detail for an FBI informant. While all this is going on, Scott is getting repeated calls and texts from his mother.

Later that day he gets a knock on his door; his sister Laura (Lyndsy Fonseca) and her son Matthew (Jeremy Maguire) come in with Hooch, the slobbering, nutty dog his late father Scott Sr. had; when Scott Sr. found this version of Hooch it reminded him of the original Hooch, which was his police partner and friend 30 years prior. After Scott Sr.’s sudden death from a heart attack, Scott’s mother Emily (Sheila Kelley) is fulfilling her husband’s wish for his son to take care of the pup.

Hooch immediately tears apart Scott’s fastidious apartment, and the next day Scott wakes up to the massive dog licking his face. He grew up around dogs, but he’s just not sure Hooch can stay. But when Jessica calls to say that the witness they were protecting has escaped, he has to take Hooch with him, both to chase down the kidnappers he happens to see on the way to the safe house, and in the office, where the FBI agent in charge and the witness’ lawyer berate the two Marshals.

Hooch growls at the lawyer, but when the dog sees the lawyer the next day, Hooch has no reaction. Scott takes a cue from the Marshals’ K9 trainer Erica Mouniere (Vanessa Lengies) — who was immediately attracted to him when they were introduced by Jessica. According to Erica, dogs can feel even a slight amount of tension in someone’s body or voice. Scott puts it together, and after catching the bad guys with Hooch’s help, Mendez makes Turner and Hooch a K9 unit.

, Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Turner & Hooch’ On Disney+, A Continuation Of The Tom Hanks Film, With A New Generation Of Cop And Slobbering Dog, The Nzuchi Times News
Photo: Disney+

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? The original Tom Hanks film Turner & Hooch, of course, and because this is what is known as a “legacy sequel” to the movie, there are plenty of references back to Hanks’ character and the original Hooch.

Our Take: Matt Nix, who created this new Turner & Hooch series, is best known for the USA series Burn Notice, so the idea that T&H was going to become some gritty remake was going to be unlikely. And the fact that the show is on Disney+ probably meant that it would likely be a family-friendly show. So it shouldn’t be a surprise if the first episode of T&H tended toward the sentimental as it tries to establish the relationship between the younger Scott Turner and the current-day Hooch.

The pilot was directed by McG (also one of the EPs), which explains its heavy reliance on chase sequences. Yes, Scott Turner is a U.S. Marshal and he chases and captures bad guys, but we’re hoping that the show balances chases with more story. Because the new T&H has set up some fun-to-watch relationships, and not just between the title characters.

, Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Turner & Hooch’ On Disney+, A Continuation Of The Tom Hanks Film, With A New Generation Of Cop And Slobbering Dog, The Nzuchi Times News

But let’s talk about them for a second: Besides the fact that he’s a neat freak whose closest relationship seems to be with his Roomba, we don’t know a ton about Scott. Yes, he and his dad had a falling out over Scott Jr. leaving Cypress Beach in favor of the Marshal’s job, but it doesn’t seem like their relationship was that fraught. He also seems oblivious to Erica’s attention. But he’s still mostly a blank slate.

Hooch, on the other hand, is as expressive a pooch as his predecessor was. Every time we saw his wrinkly, drool-laden face, we went “awwww!,” which of course is the point (though sometimes it felt like we were looking at several different dogs playing Hooch — which is actually the case). We need to see Scott struggle with having Hooch in his life a little more, because it seems like he was OK with Hooch by the end of the first episode, which is the type of setup that also felt like it came out of the ’80s instead of the 2010s.

But we did enjoy Scott and Jessica’s partnership; she’s the grizzled veteran in this pairing, but instead of rolling her eyes at Scott, she actually supports and encourages him. And the burgeoning will-they-won’t-they with Scott and Erica might be something to keep an eye on. The continuing thread that will be in addition to the cases of the week, where Scott and Laura look into the circumstances around their father’s death, may also add some depth to the show. But, given what we saw in episode 1, we’re pretty sure the light tone will stay consistent throughout the season.

What Age Group Is This For?: There’s some mild violence and salty language, but the show is just fine for kids 8 and up.

Parting Shot: Laura tells Scott that the only one who was around when their father died was Hooch. Scott looks into Hooch’s adorable face and says, “I wish you could talk.”

Sleeper Star: We’ll give this to the dog (or dogs) that play Hooch. There are times that he’s showing more personality than any of his human co-stars.

Most Pilot-y Line: Some of the car flips that were executed while Scott was chasing the kidnappers felt like it came from another decade, much less another series.

Our Call: STREAM IT. We’ll be honest here: We’re recommending Turner & Hooch mostly for the dog. He’s not quite as slobbery as the original Hooch, but he’s definitely slobbery enough to contrast with the fastidious Scott Turner. Without Hooch, the show is mostly a generic basic-cable mystery series; if it can’t develop better relationships between its characters, the dog will still be the only thing keeping us watching.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

Stream Turner & Hooch On Disney+

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