CliqueClack TV

Hawaii Five-0 premiere: how remakes are done

'A-Team' remake? Awful. 'Melrose Place' re-boot? Morose. 'Hawaii 5-0?' Books it dead-on.

- Season 1, Episode 1 - "Pilot"

After watching the pilot preview last week, and realizing my review would probably mirror Ivey’s word-for-word in accolades, I decided to wait until the show premiered.

Why? Because I thought it rocked and was afraid posting a review containing only adjectives would hurt my street cred. So, I waited until Monday night, wondering if my initial assessment would hold.

Did it hold? Did the show still rock? Hells yes.

What I liked

Although I loved Moonlight and never watched Three Rivers, CBS has finally given O’Loughlin what everyone always wanted: a meaty script, strong supporting characters, and kickass dialogue. In return, O’Loughlin gives them an improved American accent, hot as hades abs, and an awesome performance.

Seriously, even without O’Loughlin, the amount of thought placed into the show breathes utter kickassery. Everything from the opening credits to the writing to the directing to the cinematography appeared well done and well thought out.

What else did I like (besides almost everything)?

Awareness of the original series

  • They paid homage to the original series while expanding upon its origins. While Jack Lord’s 1968-1980 Det. Steve McGarrett awesomeness needed no back story, the amount of contemporary cop procedurals necessitated the showrunners not repeat the old. While O’Loughlin lacks McGarrett 1.0’s hair flip coolness, he maintains McGarrett’s investigatory detail with a bit of ninja panache.
  • The writers didn’t treat us like idiots. They didn’t drag out his acceptance and used Danno as a concrete catalyst.
  • Great re-creation of the original theme song and opening images.
  • Just like the original, the camera clearly loves Hawaii. The entire show felt cinematic from the initial rain to the Hawaiian sky while featuring great experimental shots including the Pearl Harbor opening and the outside shot of McGarrett inside.

The Characters

  • Danno and McGarrett’s meet-cute yields another romance to rival the Merlin-Arthur, Neal-Peter, and Sean-Gus match-ups. Clearly McGarrett will play the Mr. Darcy to Danno’s Elizabeth.
  • Danno’s awesome all by himself. Not only does he hail from NJ, but he’s clearly H5-0’s Iago (the side character who steals the show with his wit while muttering dire warnings. Plus, his “Nanny 911”-‘ninja’ quips keep the  inhuman McGarrett grounded.) If he’s from metropolitan NJ (i.e. Jersey City) I can see his love of skyscrapers, although most of Jersey contains suburbs, but how can he not love the shore? What’s up with that, Danno? Kudos for not recreating Danno as a man-child shadow of the original. His kid, his nickname’s backstory, and his wicked target arm all helped. Side, side note: it’s nice having a character who doesn’t see the ‘job’ as his be all-end all.
  • O’ Loughlin’s definitely at ease in this role. He definitely fills out a t-shirt. While in Moonlight, it took him awhile to mimic an American accent without eliminating vocal inflection, in 5-0 he just slides into it. I love O’Loughlin’s facial emotions and the director played to his strength during the first 15 minutes.
  • McGarrett’s still a great detective in the ‘old fashioned’ way which puts decent, detailed cop work first.
  • McGarrett is like the Pied Piper/Dorothy of Hawaii by picking up compatriots as he goes.
  • Love the car hood slides.

Random Thoughts

  • Is James Marsters putting a lock on British villain roles (Buffy, Torchwood, Hawaii 5-0) or what? While I never liked his English accent until the final season of B:TVS (please don’t hate me, buff fans), I loved his Scottish/Irish accent here.
  • I barely remember Chin Ho and always viewed him as the third banana, but as an adult watching the re-boot, it still feels like that, although I like the character. I wonder what would’ve happened if they had cast a native Hawaiian as Danno.
  • O’Laughlin’s American accent might’ve improved, but do not let him speak Chinese again.
  • I never understood the appeal of Grace Park. While I liked the criminal’s use of iPhone technology, would local cops already know a brand new (un-graduated) recruit? Side note: Really? She didn’t wash her hair before going undercover? Side side note: Is it that unlikely for someone living on an island to have sand in her hair?
  • Is it really that easy to transfer, excluding gubernatorial interference? Plus, does Hawaii really have that much terrorism?
  • They had a nice moment where they indicate their awareness of their re-boot status a la J.J. Adams’ Star Trek.
  • Perp: What kind of cops are you? McGarrett: The new kind.
  • Also quote worthy? Danno’s “Apology is noted, acceptance pending” monologue.

With the criminal of the week, the British terrorist, as well as the crime in the PD (affecting McGarrett and Chin Ho), the show has several mysteries and plot lines to maintain complication) without hitting LOST levels).

What did other people think? Was it awesome or was it awesome? Has O’Loughlin improved or is he still wooden? How does it compare to the original or, even better, how do you view it by itself as a stand-alone?

Photo Credit: CBS

17 Responses to “Hawaii Five-0 premiere: how remakes are done”

September 21, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I watched it and I liked it but it just doesn’t stand up to Moonlight. Jack Lord is H 5/0, where Alex Oloughlin is Mick St John. Alex is a strong actor and he does this role justice but remakes are tough. There will always be the constant comparison to Jack Lord for those of us that were around for the original one. I will watch it but I am not sure it isn’t because Alex is the main charactor, I loved the H 5/0 and I HONESTLY want this one to succeed for Alex, I am just not sure that it will. I am however the true vampire nut and would still like to see something with the return of Moonlight. A movie would not be out of the question and would be greatly appreciated!!!

September 21, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Poor Alex O’Loughlin. Ever since he and Jason Dohring shared the hottest vampire kiss this side of post-90s Anne Rice, he is doomed to TV’s vampire eternity :) But, outside of re-runs on the CW I doubt we’ll ever see ‘Moonlight’ in active filming again :)

September 21, 2010 at 1:53 PM

I think this is the first cop show where the characters actually reload their guns after firing a more or less accurate number of bullets.

at the docks … McGarrett reloaded like 3 times!

September 21, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I didn’t notice that. Nice attention to detail. I’ve grown accustomed to Hollywood’s idea of limitless bullets. But, McG re-loading around 3 times definitely shows his bullet blazing personality -

September 21, 2010 at 3:55 PM

An: if you rephrase the question: “Would dirty local cops know the new recruit who is family to the ex-cop who was investigating dirty cops?” its more plausible. Also, when you’re only talking about a million people, everybody knows everybody :)

September 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

I stand corrected. You’re right. Dirty cops would have an eye on a crusading ex-cop with a vendetta and they might track his long-standing visitors who are post-pre-teen yet pre-senior citizens –

September 21, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I have special reasons why I have so eagarly awaited the debut of Hawaii 5-0. And as I knew all along, this show did not disappoint me. Far from it! But putting my fanboyism aside, there are a lot of reasons this show is going to be a winner….a keeper.

Hawaii 5-0 has all the right ingredients. It has a cast full of good-looking people, capable writers, and the enticing Hawaiian background. It also features such a unique approach for a cop show. The action is (predictably) good and the story fast-paced. What was a pleasant surprise was the banter injected into the dialogue. This version of Steve McGarret had all the original’s toughness and intellect, but had that extra touch of humor. I loved it.

I realize the greatness of a show does not always guarantee it’s staying on the air, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one to be on for a long time.

September 21, 2010 at 5:53 PM

I like your enthusiasm and agree that — with Alex O’Loughlin’s backyard shirt change and Grace Park’s surfing/strip search outfits — the show has tons of eye candy. However, I will continue to hope with you that the show makes it past the first and second seasons -

September 21, 2010 at 10:08 PM

It was so much fun running into Grace Park on this show. I’m not sure anyone would believe she was a little lost lamb working at the cannery, but that’s really a minor thing.

Loved the original and I can honestly say I found this to be pretty enjoyable. I usually dismiss cop shows altogether, but I can see following this one.

September 22, 2010 at 4:21 PM

I am happy that you wrote that, bsgfan.

September 22, 2010 at 10:53 AM

An: let it be written that on this date and at this time (I’ve used that phrase a lot that this week) that Tim-1 was able to get through an entire comment without mentioning Grace Park by name. I mean, if you read between the lines, it is all there, but directly. Crazy. I’ll bet you that as long you cover H-50, it won’t happen often.

Tim: I kid. How’s daddy life?

September 22, 2010 at 4:27 PM

It is good to hear from you my friend. Ivey, I realize that I should take a lower profile on writing about my favorite actress. I will try but it’s killing me.

Thank you for asking about my son. We are both fine.

ps: I have been reading your reviews and continue to be impressed. I’m not sucking up….just saying….

September 21, 2010 at 10:22 PM

I’ve never seen O’Loughlin before in anything. Definitely wooden. Now that I know he’s fighting off an accent to do an American one, that partly explains it. Still: wooden. As for the show, it’s got way too much pumped-up violence, bullets, and explosions for me. I watched mainly for the opening credits (very good, but seemed a little speeded up, and of course, much shorter than the original), Scott Caan (so far the only human being, other than the governor, on the show), and HD scenery of Hawaii (breathtaking). I’ll watch a few more, but if the violence doesn’t come down and the character development doesn’t take over, I just have no taste for over-pumped violence-fests.

September 21, 2010 at 11:39 PM

I did forget to mention that if one does bother to wear a Kevlar vest, they should also try to buckle up. :)

September 22, 2010 at 11:18 AM

A couple of moments that didn’t make it for me:

1st. Who would take a regular cellphone in a black ops mission? A nokia 5510 none the less. sure, no need for high tech there but when they’re in the surveillance magic van they even have laser mics.

2nd. A black ops n1 promotion shoots the bad guy and while he is wearing a huge kevlar vest he dies? wasn’t he supposed to be a major intel asset on terrorist cells? and they later say that our hero is a kickass seal?

Also, the introduction of both park and jin from lost were really poor …

I’ll give it a second chance but it starts poorly.

September 22, 2010 at 7:04 PM

1. They really needed a military consultant, the opening was goofy, to be kind.

2. The original McGarrett’s backround was pretty much the same, naval intelligence not the SEALs…

3. Hopefully they wont turn into super cops. The broke up a weapons ring, a human trading ring, discovered a dirty cop and shot the guy McGarrett has been hunting for years. Plus whatever is in the “champ” toolbox which looks like more corruption in the H.P.D.

All this without badges, or any official standing in the law enforcement community.

December 3, 2010 at 7:14 PM

I just started the series and love it.

I can’t stand O’Loughlin’s American accent here. It was fine in “Moonlight”; however, it does sound “wooden” here. He definitely does not sound like someone who grew up in Hawaii. If he can do a decent pidgin, maybe I’ll reconsider. (Disclosure: I am not Hawaiian, but many of my friends are.)

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