Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hawaii Five-O All Grown Up

Even though I'm still quite busy I'm still around. Tonight I saw "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" from Season 5 of Angel. Naturally, it turned into one of those episodes where I can devote about eight paragraphs of text for each two-word line of dialogue, so the review for that show will come at a later date. Fortunately, I can pound out a few impressions of the series premiere of the 2010 version of Hawaii Five-O without too many problems.

Overall Impressions of Hawaii Five-O. I actually saw it for the first time when I was out of town a few nights ago. I was all by myself, watching the show on what was not the greatest TV set in the world, and I honestly didn't enjoy it that much. My family and I just finished watching the first season of the original series on DVD a few months ago, and naturally the new series just couldn't compare. I thought the colors were much murkier in the new version (too much computer-generated assistance?), the editing was too fast-paced, the characters blew through enough ammunition to supply our U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan for about a year, and the love/hate turning into buddy/buddy relationship between characters Steve McGarrett and Danno Williams seemed too forced. Believe it or not, the wooden acting performances from the non-professionals in the original series added to the charm, whereas the new version of the show was a little too slick. Finally, that strained easy-going chit-chat at the end of the show was a little too much for me to put up with.

Fortunately, my husband recorded the episode and I just finished watching it again a few hours ago. It certainly made a difference watching the show with my husband and two of my sons, with them whooping and hollering and giving them each other fist bumps every three minutes or so. I had a lot of fun with my family tonight and I look forward to seeing the show again next week.

Spike, er, Victor Hesse. I have to start out with this character first, since he was the main reason why I saw the show. James Marsters was magnificent, at least from what little I saw of him. I honestly don't ever remember seeing the main villain of an episode get so little airtime. We saw Marsters for a few minutes in the beginning of the show, for a few minutes at the end, and never for longer than about 1/8th of a second at a time (or so it seemed). I felt like dope-slapping the editors and saying, would it kill you to let us get a good look at the guy? Was Marsters so hideous or his acting so deplorable the editors were forced to do all of that fancy splicing? At times it seemed more like we saw a series of video montages of Marsters interspersed amongst the other action rather than a performance from him.

I'm wondering if this was a conscious decision to focus more of the attention on the main characters so we'd get to know them before the season really kicks into high gear? In the original series, the villain of the week usually got as much airtime as the main characters. I know, I know, I shouldn't compare the old with the new. Regardless, Marsters certainly made the best of a very limited opportunity.

Steve McGarrett and Danno Williams. On the second viewing, I thought Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan were excellent as Steve McGarrett and Danno Williams. In the original series McGarrett was very much the tyrant. I always wondered why no one ever told him to shove it somewhere. In the new version McGarrett is again very much the alpha male, but Danno did not allow himself to be pushed around. Although McGarrett is technically of higher rank, Danno appears to be very much an equal.

Incidentally, I love Danno as the sensitive dad.

Chin Ho Kelly. Just as I figured, Daniel Dae Kim is excellent as Chin Ho Kelly. Has Kim received very many awards for his performances? He certainly deserves them. Regardless, I really had my doubts when I read the original story line several months ago about how Chin Ho Kelly was an embittered ex-cop who had been kicked off the force (wrongly, it appears) for being on the take. The original Chin Ho was much older and as square as they make them. My only criticism is that I don't feel convinced that Chin Ho is native to the island, but I can easily overlook that.

Kono. This was the toughest part for me, trying to accept Grace Park as Kono. The original Kono was played by a gazillion-pound non-professional actor named Zulu. Some people would say that Zulu was one of the wooden actors that I referenced above, but I prefer to call his style stoic bemused detachment. Whatever you want to call it, my family loved the original Kono! What can I say about Grace Park? Well, let's see. She's half my age (not really) and twice as lovely (closer to the truth), and seems to spend most of her waking hours in a bikini. Also, her character can do just about anything even though she's probably only in her mid-20's at the most. Fortunately, she fights like Buffy, so I'll grudgingly accept her for now.

Closing Thoughts
. My sons informed me that as long as we judge the new Hawaii Five-O on its own merits rather than compare it to the old series, we should be OK. Anyway, of course I'm wondering how long the new series will last?

We were a bit worried going into this about how bad the show might be. I wouldn't exactly say that we had high hopes for the new Knight Rider series that aired in 2008, but still we could only stomach about the first 10 minutes of the premiere episode. Even then we had to force ourselves to watch it that long.

The opening theme music for the new Five-O pays homage to the music in the original series, but just doesn't last long enough. Rather than being disappointing in comparison, perhaps the producers should give the theme music in the new series some more of its own personality.

As far as I know, there doesn't seem to be any concrete plans to bring back Marsters as Victor Hesse. I have no inside knowledge so I hope I'm wrong.

I'm wondering if part of the reason we saw very little of Marsters at the end was because a lot of the action was apparently performed by a stunt man?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bianca33
I am a huge fan of Alex O'Loughlin, so I went to the Red Carpet Premiere in Hawaii, a week before it was aired on TV. Seeing the show on the big screen, it felt more like a movie than a TV show. It was meant to catch your attention and it did! For what I can see and read, there is going to be a lot more character development between the actors. In the beginning, the characters are just getting to know each other, so there is not much more that can be shown in this area. Also, for what I understand, there were a lot of deleted scenes that eventually will be shown on the DVD. That is where I wished, the pilot would be shown in a two hour (or two parts) premiere. However, some people might not have shown up for two hours, so I can understand CBS decision to shorten it.
As far as James Masters is concerned, he will be back. The body will not be found and he will reappear later. Also, both James and Alex performed the majority of the stunts

Miriam said...

Bianca33, that's wonderful that you got to see the premiere in Hawaii! I think the episode could have easily filled two hours. For one thing we could have learned more about Victor's story (all we heard is that he's some sort of generic terrorist who might presumably be getting aid from North Korea). For another, it would have been a nice tribute to the original series, since it was supposedly the first series in television to start out with a 2-hour pilot movie back in 1968.

Thanks for filling me in on James and Alex performing their own stunts. At one point we did go through one of Alex' stunts frame by frame and concluded it was him instead of a double. James must have had to ice down every joint in his body for a full week after he filmed the ending scene. :-)

I look forward to seeing James again later in the season.