Tom Hanks is dead. At least in the world of Scott and Huutsch, that buddy comedy in which, as a pissed-off small town policeman Scott Turner, he suddenly has the drooling dog of a murder victim on his cheek – as the only witness. That was 1989, and the film broke up after hits like Splash (1984) and Big (1989) found a benevolent reaction to the Hanks success barometer. Fast forward to the here and now, that is, into the age of nostalgia: Turner’s son Scotty has also become a policeman and is just as angry that a dog named Huutsch has usurped his orderly life. The father has just died and bequeathed the animal to him – the umpteenth successor to the heroic mastiff, who died of a gunshot wound in the film.
So both originals are dead, and Disney has now revived the film as a series for its in-house streaming portal. The showrunner Matt Nix was brought on board for this Burn Notice (2007-2013) created one of the most successful meta-crime series in recent years. Meta is Scott & Huutsch also become, even if the series is essentially based on the film plot: In the individual episodes, the talented snoop Huutsch now helps to solve cases. On top of that, it turns out that the father may not have died of natural causes, but that a special investigation was his undoing. Here too, Huutsch is the only witness again.
A feeling for wild references in the crime genre enlivens the uniform episodes
Leading actor Josh Peck has probably the most ungrateful task in this infusion. Tom Hanks’ timing, which turned his performance into a slapstick revue, is difficult to imitate and the punctuated puns don’t help much either (“Drop your gun or you’re dog food!”). You can hardly blame him for it. Showrunner Matt Nix’s flair for wild reverence to the crime genre, however, still enlivens the uniform episodes when, for example, Reginald VelJohnson takes up his role as Hanks’ partner Dave Sutton in a guest role. That he was also Bruce Willis’ colleague Al in Die Hard Nix thinks wisely: In the same episode, Scotty has to go barefoot on a chase in a hotel and so briefly stumbles in his footsteps. Maybe Disney should have relied on Nix’s experience and rolled out this meta-level more broadly. Such references disappeared too quickly to provoke more than a smile.
Scott & Huutsch, six episodes, on Disney + since July 21st.