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The new “Hawaii Five-O” made its debut on CBS last night; it was fast-paced, action-packed, modern and current. It paid homage to the old show while creating far more depth in the main characters. If it was short on only one thing it would be…inspiration.
From the start we learned more about the main character, Alex O’Loughlin’s Steve McGarrett than we ever did from the first show. He was a military guy who returned to Hawaii to chase the murderer of his father. An old theme: revenge.
Upon returning to Hawaii he was met by the governor who gave the angry guy all the authority he needed to do or take or steal or even kill–whatever it took to get revenge. “Your rules, my backing, no red tape,” she said. This was starting to sound like the old “Death Wish” movies with Charles Bronson.
Scott Caan is Danny Williams in this turn, though he plays a divorced and far less of a Clean Jean guy than the original. We also find out he’s divorced and the origin of the “Dan-O” nickname came from his daughter when she was three. He lives in a torn up studio apartment on an island he calls a “pineapple infested hell hole.”
Imagine the old Dan-o taking a big swing at McGarrett, or the two of them recruiting a cop accused of being dirty and his cousin who punches surfers. This was almost starting to look like the beginning of Charlie’s Angels!
There were some nice quippy lines, but when mentioning “the unspoken rule that separates us from jackals and hyenas,” these guys seemed to break all the rules.
And “your apology is noted; acceptance is pending,” but forgiveness was not even mentioned.
A character named Victor Hess was the evil guy–sort of today’s Wo Fat–and since he fell into the bay after being shot we can probably count on seeing him appear again..and revenge will continue to be a theme for McGarrett.
Yes, I know, the old Hawaii Five-O reigned in a different generation, but the show’s premise was good guys who caught the bad guys via the good guys’ rules. And style. I wish the updating of old shows didn’t need to reflect the values slippage of our culture. Perhaps future shows will turn in the right direction. There’s lots of action on TV. I’m looking for inspiration.

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