'Hawaii Five-0' Season 1, Episode 1 (Series Premiere) Recap (VIDEO)
by Ryan McGee, posted Sep 21st 2010 2:00AM
['Hawaii Five-0' - 'Pilot']
Making big assumptions about new shows based purely on pilots is a tricky proposition. Sometimes, a show comes out with literal and/or metaphorical guns a blazin', only to reveal soon after it was only firing blanks. Other shows take time to find their sea legs, not putting their best foot forward, but finding their proper stride down the road.
The reboot of 'Hawaii Five-0' may not suffer either fate: its goals simply don't seem terrifically lofty in the first place to warrant either a major accomplishment or an epic fail. Above all, it wants merely to entertain, and for its initial hour? Mission accomplished.
Since this show airs on CBS, there might have been quite a lot of people watching tonight who remember the original show. One imagines that more money was spent on this initial episode than perhaps an entire season's worth of originals. But all that money certainly ended up onscreen, not in an actor's pocket. Nearly every act of tonight's pilot featured at least one jaw-dropping stunt or explosion that transcended what one normally expects from television action, and landed firmly into motion-picture quality kabooms. A helicopter shooting bazookas, armored vans used as assault weapons, backflips that would make the U.S. women's gymnastics team green with pint-sized envy: 'Hawaii Five-0' spared no expense in bringing the wow factor.
Luckily, the show managed some succinct, but effective, character introductions amidst the chaos. None of them could be classified as more than "perfunctory," but they did the job. By hour's end, the classic team had to be established for the show to have a home base of operations for future installments -- so that McGarrett, Danno, Chin Ho and Kona could all work together to keep The Aloha State safe. The latter two received little in the way of screen time this episode, with McGarrett and Danno getting the bulk of the show to meet, butt heads and eventually settle into a testy but respectful partnership.
Alex O'Loughlin's time at CBS is semi-legendary, with this being his third chance as a lead actor in a show for the network. Clearly they see something in this man that the rest of the world hasn't quite discovered yet. While he was not a particularly charismatic McGarrett, he was certainly a sturdy one. He looked good with a gun, held his own when he had to stare down criminals, and even showed a flash of humor now and again. The latter aspect derived from Scott Caan's scene-stealing Danny Williams, a man with a filthy mouth but a golden heart. A New Jersey expat living in Hawaii, he puts up with pineapples in order to keep the island safe for his daughter, who is living there with her mother and step-father.
That type of personal connection carries over to McGarrett as well, who comes back after the murder of his father to discover as much seediness within the Honolulu Police Department as in the outside world. A toolbox marked "Champ" holds the potential (and unfortunately literal) key to unlocking the source of this corruption. Having this larger through-line allows the show to have a larger mystery to solve over the course of the season, in addition to weekly skirmishes with the local baddies.
Getting the Governor to authorize an essentially untouchable force ("Your rules. My backing. No red tape.") gives the show a slightly deus ex machina feel, as well as a convenient way to sidestep any internal corruption that could impede their weekly work, but let's be frank: This isn't 'The Wire' we're talking about here. If the show spent weeks of plot time with Chin Ho's desperate search to push past political red tape to obtain funding, people would kill each other in the stampede to switch channels. Give us Caan quips and Grace Park bikinis any day, CBS.
A few bullets about tonight's premiere:
• Having James Marsters onscreen as this week's Big Bad? Great! Having him show up for essentially one scene and one fight? Less great. Having McGarrett's five-year mission end so abruptly felt cheap. Couldn't a corrupt cop house Marsters' Hess for a few weeks? Say, until sweeps?
• After six years of 'Lost,' it's both great and downright odd to hear Daniel Dae Kim speak perfect English. Still, I'm all about former Oceanic 815 passengers getting work. ESPECIALLY if this idea actually comes true.
• No matter how rote some future 'Case of the Week' episodes may get, Scott Caan will probably singlehandedly save them all from being completely run-of-the-mill. He's definitely one to watch this Fall season.
• Damn, that 'Hawaii Five-0' theme song is just the coolest. Way cooler than the 'Psycho' theme song that kept playing each time Danno's ex rang him up.
'Hawaii Five-0' airs Mondays at 10PM ET on CBS.
What did you think of the 'Hawaii Five-0' premiere? Are you gonna ride the wave, or simply walk away from the shore?