Okay, so people usually groan when they hear that a network has decided to remake a vintage TV series. But in the new Hawaii Five-0 we have a remake that’s actually better than the original. It has better production values, a better cast, and better writing.
First of all, the show has a gorgeous look. It has the look and feel of Miami Vice and not since that great show has a series taken such advantage of its exotic setting. Each episode has a couple of shots of breathtaking landscapes that are put in just because they’re breathtaking. How often do you see that on network TV? And the attractive cast is beautifully photographed, too.
Like Miami Vice, this is a police procedural show with an imbedded buddy movie. Playing the buddies are Aussie Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, son of James Caan. O’Loughlin plays Steve McGarrett, an ex-Navy Seal who’s now head of Five-0, as they refer to it on the show. What makes the show really interesting is Garrett’s relationship with his sidekick Danny Williams.
Caan plays Williams as Italian, and he often sounds very much as his father did in The Godfather. Williams says he’s from New Jersey, so I can only suppose that the producers decided not to give him an Italian name because people still associate New Jersey Italians with the goodfellas in The Sopranos.
The supporting cast on Hawaii Five-O consists of Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) as Chin Ho Kelly, and Grace Park as his cousin Kona Kalakaua (what a great name!). Kim and Park are giving Asian-Americans a much-needed presence in primetime TV. Both of them have the good looks and the supple grace that will ensure them long-term careers. Park in particular has the kind of elegant feminine presence that cameras love.
I want to conclude with a word about the writing. There’s an intriguing ongoing story that concerns the murder of McGarrett’s parents that’s being played out, with new revelations in each episode. And if a warrior who is engaged in a long-term quest to track down the man who killed his parents sounds a lot like the plot of a well-known series about a boy wizard, all I can say is that it’s handled beautifully here.
This is a terrific show. Watch a couple of episodes. You’ll be glad you did.