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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hawaii Five-0 aka "Hey Mikey, she likes it!"

We interrupt our regularly scheduled writer broadcasting to discuss fluff. 8-)

Anybody who knows me knows I hate remakes of any sort. Movies and television shows that get reincarnated almost always universally stink. I’m a firm believer that once the magic of a show is done, it’s done. There’s no going back.

Enter Hawaii Five-0 circa 2010. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually like this show.

But the whole thing is very weird.

I should preface my comments by saying that I don’t have cable TV (or TV at all), so I can’t actually watch the show. My only exposure to the new show is from watching the sole full episode (#19) that is available for viewing on the internet, and watching the many small film clips on I also perused some of the fan fiction, which, while it’s not uncommon for fanfic authors to write out-of-character of the show in question, you can still get a good baseline for the gist of a show.

By watching the many small film clips available, I’ve been able to piece together the gist of the show, and the main characters.

First the bad news. This show doesn’t appear to have much of anything in common with the old one. Yes, they took the same show title; the same character names (though Kono appears to have shrunk and had a sex change operation), a close theme song and a few seconds of similar opening credit photography (I especially like that they kept the “Steve McGarrett turning around on the high-rise” and the end scene with all the flashing lights and view of the city.)

But there the similarities end.

The only similarity I have noticed to the old show is that the original Steve McGarrett came from a naval intelligence background. So does this one.

But this Steve McGarrett is nothing like the old one. Without being able to see episodes, I still haven’t answered the big question in my mind.  The appeal of the old show was Steve’s intelligence, his ability to figure things out and outwit the bad guy. And there are Jack Lord mannerisms that are synonymous with Steve McGarrett to me such as the finger-snapping while he’s figuring things out.

I’ve seen no finger snapping. But that’s all right. They shouldn’t try to approximate Jack Lord’s unbeatable portrayal. I am seeing some of that intelligence and figuring out of things in this Steve McGarrett, but not enough to tell for sure how closely that parallels the old. But I really like who they selected to play Steve in this version (Alex O’Loughlin). He’s a great choice and I have quickly become drawn to him as a lead character. I can see lots of potential there if the show’s writing is good.

I also like the actor who plays Chin Ho Kelly. He seems to have a lot of charisma and appeal and I like the calm intelligence he portrays which I also recall was part of the original Chin’s character.

I’m still reeling a bit that they kept the Kono character’s name and gave him a sex change operation. Weird. Nevertheless, this Kono appears very likeable as well.

The character I have the most problems with is Danno. There is absolutely no similarity whatsoever between this Danno and the old. And that wouldn’t bother me so much except that this Danno comes across as extremely obnoxious a great deal of the time. While I think some degree of the antagonistic banter between him and Steve is needed, sometimes this actor, either by his choice or the producer’s, seems to go well over the top. Call it over-acting, call it unhoned instincts about a character. Whatever you call it, I hope that as Scott Caan settles into this role in subsequent seasons that he will tone it down just a little. As he comes across right now, if I were Steve I would be very hard pressed to work with him on a daily basis and would be tempted to dangle him off the edge of the high rise like he did a perp. No one wants to hang out with someone who is overly obnoxious all the time.

Maybe I will change my mind about him as more episodes are made available on the net. We’ll see. But right now, I view him as the weak link. But all it requires for a fix is to just scale back a titch on the obnoxiousness.

I love the macho, butt-kicking style of the show as I’ve seen it so far, but hope they will also allow for some good solid friendships to grow between the characters too. It would be nice to sense that it’s not just all macho bluff and bluster (even Kono-ette seems good at carrying out macho bluff and bluster), but genuine caring as well. I haven’t been able to absorb that from the film clips I’ve seen thus far.

Mostly, I’m just reeling at the fact that I actually LIKE a remake. Mark this date on your calendars. LOL! And it’s the first time since I gave up watching television in 1992, that I wished I had TV.


Anonymous said...

Brenda, I like them all. I loved the original, but I have a hard time remembering the nuances of the show as you described. (Especially loved Jack Lord, aka Stoney Burke.)

Scott Caan and Steve (Alex) have established a rapport. Scott plays the real cop, so he's forced to be more conservative for the most part. I think they're growing into their characters and are very good together.


B.K. Jackson said...

Yes, I agree. From what I've seen these two actors work very well together. I don't view the Danno conservatism a problem. Like I said, I just wish he'd dial back just a bit on the obnoxiousness.

From what I've seen so far their injection and use of humor in the show is excellent as well.

I can't wait to see more and hope the show will stick around for a while.