On Wed. July 21, Disney Plus released the first episode of its new series “Turner & Hooch.” Based on the 1989 film of the same name, “Turner & Hooch” follows Deputy Marshal Scott Turner (Josh Peck) who inherits his father’s big, slobbery French Mastiff, Hooch. Obsessively tidy and clean Scott — whose best friend is his Roomba cleaning device — is not a welcoming match for messy Hooch. However, Scott soon realizes that after all, Hooch may be the perfect match in helping him track down the bad guys at work.
In the first episode of “Turner & Hooch,” titled “Forever and a Dog,” Peck does a fantastic job of clearly conveying Scott’s personality and ambitions as a marshal. Jessica (Carra Patterson), Scott’s straightforward and sarcastic partner, emphasizes his determination for precision. There’s no doubt that Scott, the same guy who reimbursed 35 cents to the department for parking, will find success by keeping up his diligence and positive attitude.
Although kind and conscientious, at first, Scott clearly conveys unenthusiasm with dogs. This is very contrasting from his veterinarian mother Dr. Emily Turner (Sheila Kelley) and his sister Laura (Lyndsy Fonseca) who accumulates pets of all sorts in her house. Thanks to K-9 facility trainer — and possible love interest — Erica (Vanessa Lengies), Scott warms up to Hooch upon learning about his powerful dog senses. Erica explains to Scott how dogs can sense feelings and emotions from humans. Even though they aren’t always visible, a dog’s powerful sense of smell can detect changes in emotion — just like Hooch did with the suspiciously nervous Agent Long.
Although Erica seems interested in Scott for more than just his dog, Scott admitted early on in the episode that he isn’t looking to date at the moment. On the other hand, Scott wasn’t looking to welcome a dog into his home either, but eventually ended up doing so — with tentatively open arms.
Peck’s character is more submissive than the apoplectic Scott Turner played by Tom Hanks in the film version, who is presumably the father of Scott Jr. in the 2021 series. In addition to the differing personalities, modern-day Scott handles Hooch much more humanely and reasonably than Scott does in the movie. Considering the increased knowledge that we now have about dogs and how to best treat them, Peck’s handling of Hooch is much more realistic and kind than in the original movie, even though Hooch is not the easiest dog to walk in either case. In fact, the handling of Hooch in the beginning of the 1989 film can even be a cringe-worthy watching experience for dog lovers. Overall, in the TV series Hooch seems to get along with Scott Jr. much quicker than the dog did in the movie.
Despite many differences between the film and the new television series, the dog actors look very much alike in both stories. In the movie, only one dog (Beasley the Dog) was cast as the role of Hooch. But in the 2021 series, five different French Mastiffs play the role of Hooch throughout the show. In fact, Josh Peck recently told the New York Post that each of the five dogs, Arnie, Hammer, Obi, Cyd and Mya, have their own particular talent that aided in playing the role. The audience will have to keep an eye out throughout the season to try spotting possible differences between the dogs from scene to scene.
Unlike many pilot episodes, “Forever and a Dog” kept the audience on its toes, while also providing an intriguingly fun plot. Due to the weekly release of each episode, viewers will undoubtedly be anticipating the following storyline each week. Content centered around dogs can often end in gut-wrenching conclusions, but our hope for the “Turner & Hooch” series is to see heart-warming and satisfying endings for the main characters. Perhaps Scott will learn to enjoy work with new partner Hooch, while also finding time to provide the proper training, love and care that the adorable Mastiff deserves.
“Turner & Hooch” is available to stream on Disney+ with episodes releasing weekly.
By Lauren Weber