After the initial indifference I felt while watching the pilot, I decided to give Hawaii Five-O a second chance. It was my college roommate’s suggestion, she said she and her family loved it. (We tend to be good at recommending shows for each other so it seemed worth it to try again.)
It was a good decision. The show will never make it onto my top five list, but it’s good enough to watch. It still feels mostly like the location is more a ploy for girls in bikinis than it is a real asset to the show (occasionally the location plays into the bigger picture, but not often enough for my taste), but fine, I can get over that. (I have nothing against scantily clad people, I just prefer that it not feel gratuitous.)
The unit itself, Five-O, seems to investigate crimes arbitrarily. Where most police units investigate specific types of crimes (white collar, homicide, etc.), this one investigates any type of serious crime. I suppose this gives the writers more flexibility in their plot-making. It’s name has something to do with being a true Hawaiian, though even when they explained it I wasn’t too clear.
Now for the unit itself, which is made up of Steve McGarret (former SEAL and member of Naval Intelligence), Danny Williams (police officer from New Jersey who moved to Hawaii to live near his daughter), Chin Ho Kelly (former Hawaiian detective, retired due to accusations of corruption), and Kono Kalakaua (Chin’s cousin, former pro surfer, and newly graduated from Police Academy).
Of the cast, McGarret, played by Alex O’Laughlin, is the weakest character of the group. Sure, he’s a good guy whose father was killed in the pilot, he’s able and determined…but as far as actual personality goes we haven’t really seen much depth. Danny’s at least more lovable in that, despite his stuffiness and love of New Jersey (I have a friend like that, it’s inexplicable), the care he shows to his daughter. Something that I have noticed so far is that of all of them, he tends to have the most family issues and gets distracted while working cases because of his daughter, ex-wife, and even brother. As a pair Steve and Danny are a bit more fun, they have a great rapport, but individually they are average. For me, Chin Ho (lost’s Daniel Dae Kim!) and Kono are the most solid characters on the show. Chin has lost many of his friends and his family thanks to the accusations against him, but Kono has refused to abandon him, even if it taints her future career. Kono is the little sister/rookie of the team which makes her both the one everyone takes care but also the capable woman that can take care of herself. (Plus, as native Hawaiians, they know the lay of the land and can talk to the locals in a way that Danny can’t and that even Steve, with his Hawaii smarts, can’t quite pull off the same way.)
I like the way the new series incorporates the “Book ’em Danno” slogan in a fun, and playful way. McGarret says it at nearly every episode, but where it’s accepted as normal in the old series, it’s more of an annoyance to Danny in this one. He accepts it only reluctantly.
Anyway, I am now up to date on the show, but I found one particular episode to be a little disappointing. The big tsunami episode. Yes, it was clever that it was all made up, but at the same time it was visually disappointing. So thumbs down to that particular twist but thumbs up to the rest of the show. (I’m hoping for more on O’Laughlin’s character as the show progresses, beyond his sort of girlfriend, sort of sex-partner Lt. Catherine Rollins.)