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The New Hawaii 5-0 Starts Off With a Bang

By Edited Feb 6, 2014 0 0

Now that LOST has ended, one of the ways I'm coping with the end of my favorite show is by checking out series involving actors from LOST. That's what drew me to the pilot episode of Hawaii 5-0, a remake of the long-running cop show that aired throughout the '70s. Although I had heard the theme song - which is replicated and revamped in this new edition - I never watched the show, so I really didn't have any kind of basis for comparison. I did have it in my head that the original series was campy, which my parents assured me was not the case. Certainly, I didn't find the new edition campy; in fact, I probably would have preferred it to be a bit sillier. Still, I was intrigued enough that I'm sure I'll give it at least another episode.

Daniel Dae Kim was the actor who drew me to this episode. On LOST, he portrayed Jin, who spends the majority of the series speaking only in Korean or short English phrases. While his roller coaster of a marriage with Sun provides some of the show's most tear-jerking moments, there were few opportunities for levity with either character. Aside from the moment in which Jin scares his fellow camping castaways silly by telling a ghost story entirely in Korean, I don't think of Jin as a humorous character. I'm hoping that Hawaii 5-0 will allow Dae Kim to flex his comedy muscles a bit more, and I found his number of toothy smiles in the premiere encouraging. The fact that his character, Detective Chin Ho Kelly, speaks fluent English should make it a little easier for him to joke around. Although his role in the pilot isn't especially extensive, he's one of just a handful of stars, so I'd say that we can count on seeing more of him.

Another aspect that this series has in common with LOST is the fact that it is shot in Hawaii. Indeed, I've been reading in interviews about how surreal it was for Dae Kim to shoot scenes for Hawaii 5-0 in the very same location where he spent so much time at the beach camp on LOST. For me, what was surreal was seeing the LOST's Edenic Island suddenly plastered with buildings and highways. The cinematographers and editors did a remarkable job of making me forget that Hawaii is hardly unspoiled, and it depressed me to see all that gorgeous wilderness overrun with modern society. The trailer park felt particularly disheartening. Yes, we get occasional shots of the island that showcase its beauty, but mostly, I couldn't help wishing it could be as pristine in real life as it is on LOST.

Just like Jack, LOST's central character, Detective Steve McGarrett embarks upon his mission having recently lost his father. In this case, the death was violent, and we watched it unfold through the adrenaline-soaked opening sequence. Steve, like Jack, must come to terms with his father's death and their complicated relationship in life, and the best way for him to do that is to track down those responsible for his murder. Which he manages to pull off in the first episode, a feat I rather thought they would save at least for the season finale, assuming the show gets to that point. With that already out of the way, what are we leading up to?

Alex O'Laughlin plays Steve, and despite all the angst surrounding him, I find him a rather dull character. Much more interesting is Detective Danny Williams, aka "Danno", played by Scott Caan. A sarcastic young cop fresh off the mainland, he instantly clashes with Steve but impresses him enough to get recruited onto his special task force. While he has a somewhat abrasive personality, not to mention an uncomfortable habit of distracted driving, he's the funniest character on the show so far, and his interaction with his daughter is sweet. The final member of the team is Kona Kalakaua, portrayed by Grace Park. This spunky surfer is Chin Ho's cousin, and underneath her beauty are some serious martial arts skills, which she ferociously demonstrates when an overcover mission goes awry. Meanwhile, Jean Smart looks to be a dynamic authority figure as Governor Pat Jameson, to whom Steve answers.

The violence on this show is fairly pervasive, at least in the first episode. There are several scenes involving people blasting guns at each other, some of them pretty hefty weapons. The high-octane action includes plenty of reckless behavior and a bit of a body count. I could have done without all the rampant destruction, and that's the element that's most likely to keep me from tuning in on a regular basis.

On the other hand, the show offers quiet moments that demonstrate the power for good that these detectives can wield, particularly when Steve encounters a young woman who has been forced into prostitution and releases her, also managing to track down her family and facilitate a reunion. Moments like this give Hawaii 5-0 a bit more balance, making it seem more plausible that I might come to resonate with these characters on an emotional level instead of simply being expected to cheer when something blows up.

I went into Hawaii 5-0 knowing only a few things about the series. It had a catchy theme song. It took place in Hawaii. It involved cops and Daniel Dae Kim. It would probably include the phrase, "Book 'im, Danno." I got all of that. While I can't say that I found myself completely captive to the screen while the show was on, I can't say that I expected I would, and I think for what it was, Hawaii 5-0 held my attention pretty well. I look forward to returning to the island this week to watch the newly minted team figure out the dynamics of their group. Will this series last as long as the original? Doubtful, but I suspect it'll be around for the rest of the season at least, and I'll probably keep on tuning in.



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