Hawaii Five-O and Hawaii Five-O (2010)


Hawaii Five-O (1968 1980)
Hawaii Five-O (2010 -    )
Type: Revival

   It's not often that someone retools a classic and it turns out well. Heck, it's not often that someone retools a crap show and it works. But, in this case, they reworked a beloved show successfully.

   Hawaii Five-O is a television cop show classic. Jack Lord played Detective Steve McGarrett. He and his team of "Five-O" cops patrolled the shores of exotically beautiful Hawaii (The 50th state, thus "Five-O"). McGarrett's right hand man was Dan Williams, also known as Danno, leading to Jack Lord's famous catchphrase. After catching the bad guy he would usually give a shout of, "Book 'em, Danno!" Over the run of the show they tangled with a number of bad guys but the show's arch villain was the crime boss Wo Fat. The show ended up airing for 12 seasons, an amazing run for any series. But in 1980 Five-O was retired... for the time being.

   Cut to 2010. CBS decided to revamp and revive its classic cop drama. It's understandable. With the internet and cable TV nibbling away at network ratings every major network wants and needs a hit. Introducing a brand new show and having it catch on with the public is a tough proposition. Starting with an established franchise helps to get people to at least try a new show. Again, reviving an old show more often than not ends up in disaster but, hey, it's still a slightly better bet than a show no one has heard of. And if it tanks ya bail on it.

   In this case the producers revamped in a very smart way so there ended up no need to bail. First of all, they stuck close to the original show's formula and characters. It was still McGarrett and company hunting down criminals against the gorgeous backdrop of Hawaii. Each week you got a self-contained action cop story.

   They also made smart changes. First off, this Hawaii Five-O was not a direct continuation of the old show. This was a new continuity with new younger versions of the classic characters. McGarrett was now a young tough guy, fresh out of the military special ops. Dan Williams was back but redefined as a mainlander closer to McGarrett's age and willing to complain and talk back. In fact the joke in the new Five-O was that only Danny's daughter called him Danno and it annoyed him to no end whenever McGarrett would say, "Book 'em, Danno." Also back on the Five-O team was Chin Ho and Kono Kalakaua, both in younger sexier forms. In fact Kono became a sexy female detective.

   Helping on the character front was some savvy casting. New McGarrett Alex O'Loughlin was not exactly a household name. But that's good. Don't necessarily want a known actor taking over the lead role. Danno was played by Scott Caan, son of acting legend James Caan. He had also established himself on the hit HBO series Entourage. Korean actor Daniel Dae Kim took over the role of Chin Ho fresh off of being part of the huge hit series Lost (also filmed in Hawaii). And then there's Kono, now female and played by the beautiful and charismatic Grace Parks. In addition to being a former model, Parks also had starred in the hit revival of another show, Battlestar Galactica. They added to the cast Masi Oka - just off the hit show Heroes - as well as Terry O'Quinn, also just off the hit Lost. So they not only cast attractive and talented actors, they cast actors that came with followings from other shows. Something else that would get people to at least TRY the show. As long as you don't screw things up that's a good starting point for building a ratings hit.

   And they didn't mess it up. Like I said, they stuck to the tried and true cop show formula. They packed the show with good character interplay. And... oh yeah, despite the cop show formula, this was not your daddy's Hawaii Five-O. This Five-O borrowed it's action attitude from the hit action show 24, even though it didn't follow that show's serialized style. It had bigger weapons and action than the original Five-O.

   I almost forgot something very important. They did right by theme music. The original series had a kick ass theme song. The new series didn't jettison it. They rerecorded it, rocking it up just a bit more but staying faithful to the classic. They did right by the music which, with this song, was a huge plus to gaining viewers. You hear that song on a promo, you wanna tune it.

   With the show a solid hit the only question now is if the new Five-O will run as long as the original.

Other Hawaii Five-O Crossover Links
Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I.

Click here to return to main Crossover List

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