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Why is Castle beating Hawaii 5-0 in the ratings?

Last night's 'Hawaii 5-0' featured McGarrett bonding with a fellow seal accused of murder. Kelly Hu guest starred.

- Season 1, Episode 7 - "Ho'apono"

I received a lot of flack last week for giving Hawaii Five-0 a harsh rating, but this week the show returned to its strengths with a good cast balance, a coherent plot, the Mr. Science crime solving, and the island history.

Although Castle slightly overshadows Hawaii 5-0 in the ratings, I don’t believe the two are competitors. They’re two good shows. If Castle draws more viewers, it isn’t because the producers focus on the youth market. Clearly. However, the show does provide consistent writing. If Hawaii 5-0 returns to that, as it did this week, I believe it can reclaim its audience.

I definitely enjoyed that the writers remembered to use all four squad members. Although Danno and McGarrett made the original Five-O, at the same time, Jack Lord and James MacArthur were the only professional actors in the lead roles. So, kudos to the casting coordinator for bringing together a lot of great talent. However, the writers should remember the show isn’t called “McGarrett” or  “Danno and McGarrett: The Honeymooners.”  It’s named after an entire team. Admittedly, CBS called it “McGarrett” in season 12 but that’s besides the point. While Danno and McGarrett’s interactions are the show’s funniest elements, developing that aspect over everything else could potentially weaken the show. So, I liked the division of the typical partner pairings. Chin Ho and Danno play off each other well. And, double-kudos to Kona for calling out her role as the team’s female babysitter.

What else did I like? They didn’t shoehorn in characters who didn’t advance the plot or the team’s relationship. I’m always a sucker when McGarrett pulls a MacGuyver. From the beige eyeshadow fingerprint kit to the tear gas bombs, I’m impressed by what McGarrett’s emergency car stash contains. I won’t lie, the bromance still rocks. At this point, what guest character hasn’t called out McGarrett-Danno’s marital relationship? Finally, I love it when the show forays into the island’s history, the country’s history, or McGarrett’s family history. This episode did all three.

The show also featured the awesome Kelly Hu. Last week during the demographic discussion, reader ScottH and I surmised that Hawaii’s governor wouldn’t have enough time to handhold McGarrett. In response, the show introduced Kelly Hu as the Public Safety Coordinator. Admittedly, in the original, the governor appointed naval officer McGarrett to oversee a four-person task force which handled international and national threats (and, in the 1997 reboot James MacArthur played the governor). Plus, Hawaii’s actual governor during the original show’s airing  proposed creating a five-o-type taskforce (which others vetoed). However, returning to Kelly Hu, who is their casting director? I am always surprised by who crosses the guest star thresh hold. But if you’re interested in serving as extras, check out the casting call.

Things I didn’t like included Kona as the WORST bodyguard ever. While Chin Ho received more lines in the beginning, he still disappeared in the second half.  Is there a magic Harry Potter-like dimension where they place him? I refuse to believe they’re wasting an actor with his C.V. (Lost, 24, ER, Angel) and prefer to think he’s participating in the local theatre.

So, what did everyone else think? Did the show improve this week? Does Castle deserve the upper-ratings hand?

Photo Credit: CBS

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Categories: | Episode Reviews | Features | General | Hawaii Five-0 | TV Shows |

19 Responses to “Why is Castle beating Hawaii 5-0 in the ratings?”

November 2, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Hawaii 5-0 isn’t bad, but Castle comes first for me. It has spot on writing and hilarity that’s going to be hard to beat. Combine that with a DWTS lead-in, and I see Castle holding on to the lead for a good bit.

November 2, 2010 at 7:28 PM

That’s what Brett said. So, I’m hoping it’s the DWTS phenomenon, but time can only tell.

December 18, 2010 at 10:26 PM

h50 only strong points are the location, photography, and music.
the cast/characters are woeful. although popular with the ´beer and french fries brigade´, it continues to last due to the absence of 24, law and order/original criminal intent,etc. it is a pale imitation of the original, and forgetable. although i do remember that authentic basketball game in prison. the inmates being proof of the rehabilitation wonders of the hawaii penal system. when other quality shows appear, like the wire, sleeper cell, and prison break,
sufficient numbers of people will not be bothered to watch dross like 50, and blue bloods, and they will get their asses cancelled.

November 2, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I think this post is coming too early. Like Brett said you’ll have to wait for DWTS to end to be able to really judge “Castle”.

I didn’t like the Hawaii 5-0 pilot that much but what I do know is that I hated last week’s episode – but I guess you know that if you’ve read Brett’s post and the comments :-)

November 2, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Ha! You thought you caught me, but I read Brett’s post (I just forgot to link to it in the article). I would’ve said I posted this topic too early, but other sites have commented on Castle creeping up on H5-0 since episode H5’s ep 4. I didn’t like last week’s episode by a long shot, but I wonder if (regardless of DWTS) H5.0 could catch up if it just started more of the goodness I enjoyed when it first hit (including this week) -

November 2, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Because We have NCIS and NCIS:LA we do not need NCIS: Hawaii.

November 2, 2010 at 7:36 PM

You know, I’ve posted twice about the similarity between NCIS:LA and H5.0 V. 2. So far, no one took the bait; but, I’m glad to see I’m not alone in connecting the dots –

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AM

I’m right there with you. I watched the first two episodes and just went “This isn’t Hawaii 5-0, this is a NCIS with a poor cast of characters”.

So there is at least two of us out there.

November 3, 2010 at 12:47 AM

Good way to put it. And while I love NCIS, I don’t watch NCIS:LA, partly because it brings little new, partly because it’s got an excess of testosterone and partly because I’m not a particular fan of a show supporting itself with a bromance, all three things I find with Hawaii 5-0 as well.

I prefer Castle (don’t watch DWTS) because it has more consistent writing and brings more elements into play — humour, better characterization of all the eight regular characters on the show (H 5-0 is really the Steve/Danno show), the mystery of the week, and a number of over-arching mysteries. A better planned and written show overall.

So I watch Hawaii 5-0 when I want something in the background while I cook or sort papers but unlike Castle, I wouldn’t re-watch episodes or read fanfic for it because I don’t care about the characters enough.

I don’t think Hawaii 5-0 is in any danger of being cancelled though because it has all the elements to bring in the young male demographic, the most difficult one to grab.

November 2, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I think Castle wins because I host an awesome Castle LiveClack each Monday … what … oh, that’s not it?!?!

I watch both, but I prefer Castle by a lot. I have gotten a little bored with Hawaii Five-O. Castle is different than other shows out there. More than a cop show, it is a mystery and it is fun to figure out the who-dun-it. Even more so with a chat room of people. Hawaii Five-O is not much different than other cop shows out there. I really really wanted to love it, but I just kinda like it.

November 2, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Hmm, I’d suggest a Castle v. Hawaii 5-0 LiveClack-Off, but something tells me the results would depress me :)

According to CBS, H5-0 has a pretty high re-watch rate, so maybe that’s what people are doing, watching one and TIVO/DVR-ing the other. I wonder if I’d find myself doing the same if I didn’t review it. But, um, let’s not talk about that. H5-0 4Eva!!

November 2, 2010 at 11:33 PM

I’m with you, Carla. I like H50 in an “it’s okay” way, but I absolutely LOVE Castle. Five-0 does seem too much like another procedural to get me too excited, but Castle is just 44 minutes of “Whodunit Fun” and for me that wins every time.

Oh, and for the record, I’m not brought in by DWTS. If I didn’t record Castle, that reality dreck (sorry, my own personal opinion) would drive me away from ABC. Still, it is going to be interesting when it is no longer the lead-in.

On a tangent, I never understood how people are led from one show to another that airs after it simply because the first show was good. Are they cattle? I suppose way back before the remote control and VCR/DVD it might’ve worked with extremely lazy and dull-minded viewers who couldn’t work up the energy to go change the channel, but now it just doesn’t make sense to me. I check what’s on, record what I want and watch it when I feel like it. I’ve never been led to, or pushed away from a show just because the one preceding it is good or bad.

I would like someone to explain how that works with viewers, unless the whole “lazy, dull-minded” thing is spot on. Seriously, I’d like to know.

November 3, 2010 at 2:21 AM

I think Castle is winning because it’s just an awesome amount of fun! Any show that can actually make me look forward to Mondays is a winner to me. I’m so glad it’s doing well. I was very worried about it getting killed by H50 before the season started.

November 3, 2010 at 12:30 PM

I’m with Tom, how many people really continue to be led in from one show to another. I could understand way back ION’s ago when remotes, VCR’s and DVR’s didn’t exist, but now I can’t believe people still pay any attention. I haven’t watched live TV (except) some special sports program for years. I program in advance and watch when time and mood are correct. As for Castle/5-0, both are shows that are on my don’t miss list. Let’s also remember that one is already a sort of veteran show, and the other is new this season. Castle is one a very few shows that ABC can be proud of. I really think, for now, CBS has a lock on good network programs.

November 3, 2010 at 5:20 PM

I strongly disagree with your comments. My family and my parents all love Hawaii Five-0 very much, never missing an episode. Each episode of H50 gets better, more exciting, fun and entertaining! We don’t watch Castle because it’s boring. The modern day Hawaii Five-0 is fresh, smart, beautiful, great characters, fantastic stories, humorous, touching, intense, exciting and very entertaining to watch week after week. The entire cast and the creative writers are doing an outstanding job on Hawaii Five-0!

November 3, 2010 at 9:24 PM

I agree with the above comment. CASTLE is good but Hawaii 5-0 is really coming into its own. The plots, The cast and the background stories are becoming more and more interesting and they are all very good actors and GORGEOUS to look at not to mention the exquisite backdrop of Oahu

November 6, 2010 at 6:13 PM

I like Hawaii 5.0 better, plus I’ve watched castle a few times but it has always bored me. The guy that was on firefly changes too much to my taste. I like the H50 cast better more interaction. When I was a kid I used to watch Starsky and Hutch, and it makes me think a little bit of S&H. I like when Steve and Danny are close I hope they get closer in future episodes, helping each other out, plus I like to see Danny with his kid more. I really love this show and I hope it is around for a while, I am really getting into it.

November 17, 2010 at 10:06 PM

An, you hit the nail right on the head…the cast and characters aren’t that interesting so the guest stars are forced to save the show. I hate to admit it but I feel that even after watching these 4 characters for many weeks now, I still don’t know them….and thats a huge problem. I was more interested in Kelly Hu’s brief moments on screen than I was any of the main cast. Maybe someone in the producers office should take the initiative and see if they can add Hu as a series regular and start developing a character that I can relate too and feel compelled to tune in each week to watch. It wouldn’t hurt to have an actual “Hawaiian” in the cast either.

November 18, 2010 at 12:29 PM

A question for the male readers…
If you saw a commercial for a cosmetic product that used the soundtrack from one of your favorite TV shows, would it turn you off to the show? The commercial would feature a beautiful, sexy young woman in a “spy-like” storyline.