I know what you’re thinking. Not another remake!
When this TV critic heard CBS was re-doing the seventies classic ‘Hawaii Five-O‘ I thought the same thing, and rolled my eyes the same way you did.
But then something funny happened on the way to pilot season…
They started casting, and the cast was good. Then I heard the pilot was being directed by (Kate Beckinsale’s hubby) Len Wiseman (‘Live Free or Die Hard,’ ‘Underworld’), implying it might have some edge, and, sure enough, the premiere plays like an action movie. And while prime-time certainly doesn’t need another cop show, let’s face it: criminal procedurals are what CBS does best (see also: the ‘CSI’ franchise, ‘NCIS,’ ‘Criminal Minds,’ etc.) — so this is totally in the network’s wheelhouse, and as such, they give this series a great spin.
Ushering in the CBS “reboot” (not a remake) of the original series is summed up in three words in the premiere episode when a suspect asks, “What kind of cops are you?”
“The new kind,” says the new, darker, man of few words Steve McGarrett, as played by Alex O’Loughlin, who comes off as more of a brooding Jack Bauer than a stately Jack Lord in this version–and that’s a good thing.
Here Are 5 Things to Know About the New ‘Hawaii Five-O’ (*the first is to give it a chance):
1. What’s Old:
~The Song: The theme song is same, but spiffier — Listen to it Here.
~The Names: Steve McGarrett, Danno, Chin Ho, and Kono are all on board.
~The Car: The 1974 Mercury Marquis, driven by Jack Lord’s McGarrett in the original, appears in the update as the vintage sedan belonging to this McGarrett’s late father.
~The Line: “Book ‘em, Danno” — will appear once in the debut episode, in a clever, organic way (and hopefully not overused too much in the future).
2. What’s New:
~Testy Twosome: McGarrett and Danno are more of a buddy-cop team, as opposed to the ’70s McGarrett, who was the walkie-talkie wielding top cop. Here, O’Loughlin’s mourning McGarrett, a Navy SEAL who returns to Hawaii to investigate the murder of his father, plays the straight man to Scott Caan’s sarcastic sidekick, Danno. The two–reluctantly–team up when the governor (Jean Smart) gives McGarrett free reign to take down his father’s killer, who has turned her island paradise into something more like Cutthroat Island.
~Gender Bender: Kono Kalakaua’s character, a rather hefty male in the original as portrayed by Gilbert Lani Kauhi, has been turned into a lithe and lethal female rookie cop, still called Kono (Grace Park), in the modern update to add a little estrogen to the elite force.
3. What Works:
~The beautiful backdrop of Hawaii — the entire series is shot on location — and the skimpy attire that goes with it bodes well for a visually appealing display week-to-week, and the camaraderie that emerges by the end of the pilot indicates a foursome with some potentially fun chemistry. As for longevity, the tale of cops-n-robbers in paradise won’t go stale anytime soon (see also: the original series, which ran from 1968 to 1980, and ‘Magnum P.I.‘) [Editor's Note: Only one episode has been screened.]
4. What’s Hot:
The ‘Babe Factor’ is in full force with Kono Kalakaulau, played by former ‘Battlestar‘ babe Grace Park, who surfs in a bikini and strips down to her skivvies in an undercover interrogation scene in the series premiere. Of course, the trio of hunks doesn’t hurt either: ‘Moonlight‘ favorite Alex O’Loughlin in the leading role; ‘Lost‘ hottie Daniel Dae Kim back in Hawaii as Kono’s cousin, Det. Chin Ho Kelly; and beefy Scott Caan (‘Ocean’s Eleven‘) cracking wise as Det. Danny ‘Danno’ Williams.
5. What’s the Verdict?
~Worth the Trip: Fancast Editors give the new ‘Hawaii Five-O’ two thumbs up.
And it could very well be the ‘third series is a charm’ leading man O’Loughlin’s been looking for: “If this one doesn’t go, I’m completely bewildered. I have no idea how television works at all.” – Alex O’Loughlin (whose two strikes include CBS’ ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Three Rivers’) said to reporters about the prospects of ‘Hawaii’ being a hit.
The new ‘Hawaii Five-O’ premieres tonight at 10 p.m./EST on CBS.
Hot Video: Head to ‘Hawaii’