While I’ve never seen the original Turner & Hooch starring Tom Hanks, I have to imagine it is significantly better than than this strange mish-mash of clashing tones and action drama. Explosions, shooting, blazing fire, and hand-to-hand action combat—2021’s Turner & Hooch reboot is certainly not what I was expecting from Disney. The pilot is bumpy indeed, though later episodes glimmer with promise thanks to the slowly-forming bond with Hooch, and the natural charisma of lead star Josh Peck.
Scott Turner (Josh Peck), the son of Hanks’ Detective Scott Turner, is a job-first US Marshall still hung up on the ex who dumped him unceremoniously. His sister drops off the giant family dog he’s never met: Hooch. They have had the dog since November, but he never visits, and now he must accept his inheritance! Scott’s chance to step up to the plate has arrived, but Hooch isn’t exactly the easiest dog to live with. He chews everything, including Scott’s one constant companion: his robot vacuum Roomba. Scott starts bringing Hooch to work with him, where Hooch’s sharp instincts may help solve crimes. Erica (Glee’s Vanessa Lengies) is the enthusiastic and awkward main love interest, and she encourages Scott to follow his dog. The bond between Scott and Hooch takes far too long to get going, but by the end of the pilot, I was happy they had each other.
Scott’s dad, who passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack, leaves Scott an emotional letter imploring him to love Hooch as he deserves. An unraveling mystery tease about his dad at the end of the second episode is the most enticing part of the show. It leaves the door open for potential flashbacks and world-building. Episode 2, titled “A Good Day to Dog Hard”, is a total riff on Die Hard, complete with foreign villains and heavy accents. The show may be worth seeing specifically for Peck in John McClane mode. The third episode is funny and relatable, centering on an annoying squeaking toy that keeps Scott up at night.
I have to admire the attention to detail in recreating the 1989 film’s poster for the series, right down to the way the French Mastiff is lovingly staring at his owner. It’s nothing new to make a central character related to one from the past, which is exactly what Turner & Hooch attempts. Allegedly, Hanks will only be appearing via photographs. So far, it is unable to capture anything meaningful or timely, lacking the signature Disney charm we have grown to expect from the company.
Disney shared the first three episodes with critics, with episode two emerging as my clear favorite. Judging by these alone, I’m hesitant about continuing the 12-episode series—it could be a lot doggone better! As far as Disney+ television, this doesn’t hold a candle to The Mandalorian, High School Musical The Musical The Series, or The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. A wannabe Brooklyn 99 is basically this show, just with an added dog. There is promise here if they can break free from the generic feel and tone, and embrace the sillier more kid-friendly aspects.
Turner & Hooch lets the dogs out when it debuts exclusively on Disney+ Wednesday, July 21st.