Last fall I heard a lot about the new reboot of Hawaii Five-0 and I was pretty excited to check it out – I had read good reviews, heard how this reboot was way better than other reboots, and it just looked cool (cheers, marketing team). I missed the pilot (which would have helped explain a lot, but oh well), and in October I watched the second episode, “Ohana.” I was not disappointed. There’s cyberterrorism and bad guy Serbians, a kidnapping, some awesome fighting, explosions, hilarity, and a great ribbing of the original Five-O‘s catchphrase, “Book ‘Em Danno.” I’d never seen the original, but I got the joke. Overall, I enjoyed myself and got excited for my new show.
And I’ve continued watching Hawaii Five-0, but now I occasionally wonder why. It’s certainly not bad. In fact, it remains quite enjoyable. It just hasn’t always lived up to it’s original promise of awesomeness (particularly see #5 below). You think it’s going to be great and then you reach a moment of such ridiculousness (as particularly exemplified by February 7th’s episode, “E Malama,” see #’s 9 & 10 below).
However, I am going to keep watching and keep enjoying. Hell, ridiculous can be fun! I’m just going to file the entire thing firmly in the Guilty Pleasure category and call it a day.
Here are 10 Reasons Why:
5 Good Things About Hawaii Five-0 (Reasons It’s a Pleasure)
1. Scott Caan as Danno
As all the reviews say, Scott Caan is the reason to watch this show. He really brings the humor and shoulders pretty much all of the engaging emotional and personal connection responsibility (I’d rather see stuff with his family than McGarrett’s, at this point anyway). He’s fun and makes each scene he’s in fun to watch. And you really notice his absence from those other scenes.
2. Beautiful island setting
It’s just pretty to look at and that’s nothing to knock. Yaaaaaaaaay escapism!
3. Fun & unique plotlines
These guys are not solving your typical serialized-show murders (which get pretty interesting and diverse themselves nowadays). Or at least the writers get some more interesting options due to the awesome setting – the witness can run through the jungle! the kidnapping can take place on a boat! sharks! tsunamis! luaus! I also think they are doing a good job of making storylines with slightly higher stakes to justify this Special Task Force. These problems are not just what the regular ol’ police get to investigate. They’re a little more sinister. A little more of state or national importance. And with more explosions.
4. Good fights
I have recently taken a lot of stage combat classes. I don’t at all claim to be an expert (nowhere near, in fact), but I have learned a thing or two and I do know what to look for. I know a good fight when I see one. In the second episode “Ohana,” Kono (Grace Park) fights Nadia, the secret Serbian bad girl agent, and I was very excited to see, not only an awesome fight, but an awesome girl fight! This wasn’t just hair pulling or pulling punches. It began when Nadia grabbed a knife and I noticed that she swung as if she was really going for it, trying to kill Kono with each swipe. Which is how you would actually fight in such a situation, especially if you’re the bad girl. Trust me, having that aspect of reality can be hard to find. This was both fun and real, so from the beginning the combat has been promising.
5. It’s Bill! (again!)
In the same episode, Martin Starr appeared as Toast, the perpetually stoned hacker genius who helped out with the high tech aspect of the problem-o’-the-episode. I had high hopes (hehehe) he would be their go-to tech guy, but alas he was only in the one episode. Why??? It was an awesome casting choice and a fun role. And provided this choice line about Toast’s state of mind: “Baked…as a po-ta-to.” Bring back Toast!
[As for the rest of the team, they’re pretty okay. I like Grace Park as Kono, though I couldn’t necessarily tell you why and I think her shirts are always about to fall off. And Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly seems just fine, but see #8 below. And while Alex O’Loughlin is very earnest as McGarrett and seems to be trying very hard, I agree with a review I read that called him “wooden.” I’m sorry, dude, but we need a little more energy, not just gruff-voiced shirtlessness.]
5 RIDICULOUS Things About Hawaii Five-0 (Or Reasons the Pleasure is Guilty)
6. I’m confused. Who is McGarrett and why is he there and WHY is he in charge?
I realize that I missed the pilot and that’s where all backstory setting this up occurred. I know that it is a special govenor Task Force; that part they repeat and make very clear. I know his dad was a cop and he’s a Navy Seal. And he dangles people off of buildings, so is therefore a badass. And…something-or-other, plot device, now he’s a cop…ish. Is he? I honestly don’t know. Is he allowed to arrest people? Is that why he needs Danno? In a recent episode, I swear they were repeatedly reminding us that McGarrett is not a cop (or so I gathered from the banter with Danno), so then how is he allowed to do all of this stuff? The immunity, sure, but this issue keeps coming up and keeps seeming strange to me and I would like that explanation to exist in more than just the pilot. Then again, maybe this all comes from the original 1968 version of the show* and I should just sit back and not fight it.
7. The height differential between Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.
Ahem. I don’t want to, but I definitely keep noticing that a. Scott Caan is a little short (but we love him and who could be so petty as to care, right?!) and b. Alex O’Laughlin is very very tall, so c. when they stand next to each other they look…disparate. I don’t want to care, I really don’t, but at times it does seem a bit, well, ridiculous.
8. The lines they have Daniel Dae Kim say.
Chin really gets all the rough ones. Which makes taking him seriously…difficult.
9. McGarrett is doing WHAT in the middle of the jungle???
In recent episode “E Malama,” an important witness in the trial of a gang leader goes missing after her federal protection is killed by hired hitmen. Chin and McGarrett go looking for and find her in the middle of the jungle, though they know the hitmen are also there in hot pursuit. McGarrett sends Chin off with the girl so they can get back in time for the trial, while he goes very Man vs. Wild and begins to hunt the hitmen with only what he has in the jungle at his aid. This is where things go a little off the rails. One moment they’re all business, not to mention this moment is intercut with scenes of Danno’s B-Story involving his ex-wife and daughter back in town. Then we’re back in the jungle and we suddenly see McGarrett, face painted, creating a crude battering ram with vines and a log!
Suddenly we are in the mash-up lovechild of Rambo + Swiss Family Robinson + Home Alone!
(I was pretty proud of the Home Alone realization…he’s sitting there setting up traps and it immediately made me think of the paint cans tied on the stairs!)
10. … in the middle of all that McGarrett TAKES A PHONE CALL!
I get that they need to stay in touch, but when the hitmen could be anywhere nearby, he’s in the middle of holding a heavy log in the air, and the entire operation depends on surprise, I couldn’t believe that McGarrett took the time to try to talk Danno out of fighting with his ex-wife’s new husband.
Clearly, there are some crazy moments. Then again, these sudden and surprising moments of…let’s call it whimsy, shall we?…are also what will keep me coming back for more fun. Even if it’s only the fun of coming up with more strange movie combination lovechild references!
*I am super amused that the way to differentiate the shows (and this is backed up by both CBS.com and Wikipedia, so it must be true 🙂 ) is that the original was spelled Five-O, with a capital letter O, and the reboot is spelled Five-0, with a zero. You’d need some way to keep it straight, right? I wonder if it’s a copyright issue…cause that would really be funny…