Coinciding with my decision to give up on NCIS, an email* arrived informing me that Sky was re-running the first season of Hawaii Five-O. Well, I had some spare time on my hands and recalled that I rather enjoyed the pilot so figured I’d give it a shot.
Sometimes pilots end up not being representative of the rest of the series, sometimes a weak first episode turns into a solid series, or an impressive start ends up in a disappointing series; it’s not always just about quality either, sometimes tones and subjects change as series progress. Hawaii Five-0 was not one of these shows, for better or worse, the pilot was an exact miniature of the rest of the series.
For the most part, that was good. I enjoyed the pilot, particularly the central relationship between the two reluctant partners – Danny the wise ass detective from New Jersey who at heart is a softy and would rather talk things through, and Steve the local boy turned special forces commander who goes in all guns blazing. It’s a perfect ‘buddy cop’ pairing, a great mixture of frustration and friendship, they challenge and support each other with laugh-out-loud funny bickering and manfully emotional sentiment.
The second star of the show is definitely the setting. Hawaii is gorgeous and the show may as well be sponsored by the tourist board. They also make a point of exploring the culture and history of the islands though which adds an extra dimension to the cases which otherwise are solid but disposable. The ongoing storylines are woven through the series to give a little more depth to things, but for the most part everything is neatly tied up with a little moral bow at the end of each episode. That doesn’t give much scope for anything outstanding, but each episode’s formulaic structure trundles along nicely and makes for comfortable watching.
Unfortunately however the show failed to improve on some of the weaknesses in the pilot. The supporting characters remain woefully under-developed. Grace Park, who did amazing work on Battlestar Galactica is reduced to a rookie agent, being patronised with exposition and constantly being sent to talk to children and/or wearing a bikini. Daniel Dae Kim continues to spend most of his time pouting and mysterious about his past which got dull very quickly.
Hawaii Five-0 is a solid, entertaining series, that bounces along with action sequences interspersed with beautiful scenery and laugh-out-loud funny bantering. I’ll probably add to my viewing as a direct replacement for NCIS. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is just plain entertaining.
* The Sky Never Miss site is an excellent resource for tracking shows, and I think you can create an account even if you don’t actually have Sky. You can select from hundreds of past, present and future shows and about a week before the show is on you get an email letting you know. Incidentally, back when I was doing some work for Sky via an agency about 5 years ago my company suggested to them that this was the kind of service that television fans really wanted, not endless emails about competitions. Took them a while…