With a flurry of season finales currently coinciding with a slate of series premieres, this seems like a good opportunity to chime in on how some series fared, and how some new ones look. Next up: “Hawaii Five-O.”
Few series this fall have been surrounded by as much hype as the rebooted “Hawaii Five-O” on CBS. Everyone’s already familiar with the story and the characters from the 1970s classic, everyone knows the opening theme music and everyone knows the catchphrase (“Book ’em, Danno”). So can version 2.0 live up to the original? Ehhh, not quite. While it manages to match the original’s cheesiness and ups the ante with more action, star Alex O’Laughlin’s close-cropped hair simply cannot match Jack Lord’s fantastic lacquered pompadour. And sorry, but Steve McGarrett needs to have cool hair.
What I liked: It’s slick and action-packed. Even though Jerry Bruckheimer has nothing to do with the show’s production, is has a lot of his hallmarks: Overblown testosterone, gigantic guns, dramatically pumping music and pretty, pretty explosions. This isn’t a show to fall asleep too; the shootouts every five minutes will prevent that.
The series is shot in Hawaii — and in one very identifiable “Lost” location that doubles as South Korea in the pilot — so you know the scenery will be spectacular. And the film is super saturated, so the tropical colors really pop on your screen.
The supporting cast is very good: Scott Caan (“Entourage”) as McGarrett’s partner, Danno; Daniel Dae Kim (“Lost”) as Detective Chin Ho; and Grace Park (“Battlestar Galactica”) as rookie cop Kono. As in “Entourage,” Caan steals pretty much every scene he’s in. Jean Smart plays the governor and Masi Oka (“Heroes”) will appear in upcoming episodes as the coroner, making this not only one of the deepest casts on network TV, but one of the only places on any network to see fully formed Asian-American characters. For once, the cast actually looks somewhat like the city it’s set in, and that’s a welcome change.
What I didn’t like: The plot is dumbed-down. It’s not like every show needs to be “The Wire,” but there was nothing in the pilot that was interesting or intriguing enough to keep me coming back. The dialogue wasn’t particularly snappy, though Caan managed to make every line better than it should have been. The biggest problem, though, is O’Laughlin. The dude is bland, lacking any semblance of charisma. It doesn’t help that his character is a total cliche. It reminds me of watching a Keanu Reeves movie — every scene he’s in, you get distracted from the action and instead notice him trying to “act.”
Bottom line: If you’re looking for mindless entertainment and action, it’s not a bad choice. But it’s not good enough to get me to watch regularly.
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