Hawaii Five-0 Season One
Go on holiday to Hawaii, and the chances are you will be murdered.
That is the overriding thought going through my mind after the end of the first season of Hawaii Five-0, a reboot of the iconic series that originally ran between 1968 and 1980.
That theme tune, which is almost as memorable as the programme itself remains in this version, though it is slightly souped-up for the 21st century, something that appears to be a recurring theme throughout this programme.
Australian Alex O’Loughlin plays the main character Steve McGarrett, a fomer Navy SEAL who is entrusted by the Governor of Hawaii (Jean Smart, who was Martha Logan in 24) to head an elite crime-fighting task force that pretty much has full immunity to do what they want in pursuit of the bad guys.
McGarrett is your typical action hero, a kind of cross between Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer, but with considerably more charm than them. While he seems a nice enough chap, he can be infuriating in that he is everything most of the male viewers (like me) aren’t.
He hires Danny ‘Danno’ Williams (played by Scott Caan, son of James) to the team, a cop from New Jersey who moved to Hawaii in order to be closer to his cuter-than-cute daughter, who lives on the islands with her mother and stepfather.
The rest of the unit is made up of Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim, who was Jin in Lost), a disgraced ex-cop, and his cousin Kono (Grace Park), who is also a surfer, purely as an excuse by the producers to allow for plenty of gratuitous bikini shots of her on the beach.
While the vast majority of episodes are separate to what precedes and follow them, the main story arc revolves around McGarrett being on the hunt for the people responsible for the deaths of both his parents. However, this is often forgotten about for weeks on end, except for the odd shoehorned-in mention of it at random times.
For the most part, each shows begins with some wonderful swooping scenic shots of Hawaii, which would not look out of place in any promotional video for the islands, usually followed by the unfortunate murder of someone- who is often a tourist which counterbalances your initial views. By the time the opening credits roll around you were half way to booking a holiday there, before quickly changing your mind when the deaths come.
Where Hawaii Five-0 really excels is the wacky ‘bromance’ relationship between the two lead characters of McGarrett, who is the ‘let’s scare them half to death in to giving us answers’ kind of bloke, while Danno plays the straight-ish role in comparison, the ‘fish out of water’ in the relaxed mood of Hawaii, compared to his time on the mean streets of New Jersey.
They are both engaging, likeable characters who interact well together and provide most of the entertainment. Along the way, more comic relief comes from Kamekona, a beast of an ex-con who now owns a shave ice stall. Kamekona is basically the Five-0’s informant and contact when it comes to getting beefy new weapons, though the gang usually have to buy a shave ice from him before he’ll talk. By the end of the series you do wonder why he hasn’t been murdered about 20 times by one of the baddies for being a snitch.
At some point in pretty much every episode, some low-life tries to escape being arrested by absolutely legging it and trying to outrun the dynamic duo. But as anyone who has ever watched it will tell you, outrunning McGarrett is about as likely as England winning the World Cup. It just won’t happen.
As you can probably tell, this is a very macho show. Lots of gunfire: check. Big explosions: check. Fast car chases: check.
But when the main story is returned to with a couple of episodes to go, the tone becomes much more serious.
Have no doubt about it, Hawaii Five-0 will not be winning Emmy awards anytime soon, but that doesn’t stop it being a thoroughly entertaining hour of television. Yes it is a bit of fluff at times, but it is slick, stylish and exciting, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is an easy watch if you are looking for something considerably less weighty and mind-consuming than many other police dramas out there. CBS have renewed the show for a second season starting in September, so expect it to hit Sky 1 in the UK early next year.
The big issue here is simple though. Is it worth the risk of being murdered to have a nice holiday in Hawaii?