Monday, July 21, 2014

TV Do-Over Blog Hop, the Hawaii Five-0 edition

When Caroline Fardig announced that she was hosting this blog hop, I raised my hand faster than Welcome Back, Kotter's Horshack. And because it's Caroline, we both *knew* I'd have to write about Hawaii Five-0...
Yes, I watch Hawaii Five-0. No, I’m not ashamed (too much). 
Understand, I come by Hawaii Five-O honestly. My father was a fan of the original in the Seventies, and I watched along. Steve McGarrett was VERY serious, and Danny Williams aka Dann-O was his trusted right-hand man- and that was all I really knew, except that it was set in Hawaii. 
I was very excited when it was announced a few years ago that CBS was bringing back the show, and when I found out that Grace Park, an actress from Battlestar Galactica, was going to be playing a role previously played by a man, I was ecstatic. 
Let’s just say the execution has been a letdown. There’s a lot I would do differently. 
  • Layoff the Bromance. Alex O'Loughlin is in great shape and he can keep a straight face; Scott Caan has great comedic timing. Neither of them have a lot of dramatic range. The answer the producers came up with is to make them *the* bromance of prime time television. I admit, for a few minutes, it can be cute, but after that...please, no. When I see them squabbling about, well, nothing for more than ten minutes, I know that the writers needed a lot of filler for that episode. Suggestion: make the crimes- and the criminals- more interesting and spare us five minutes of their banter.
McGarrett and Dann-O smirking- of course
...these two are less amused, possibly because they have more to do
  • Develop the female characters. Oh my god! I sent a message to Caroline the day after one of the episodes featuring Jorge Garcia. He plays a brilliant but very paranoid high school acquaintance of Chin Ho’s, Jerry Ortega. He’s a great actor, but he’s a minor character. However, within ten minutes of his appearance I thought he was infinitely more interesting than Catherine Rollins, played by Michelle Borth. We know that Rollins is hyper-competent, sexy and loyal to Steve, but...that’s really it. There was virtually no character development for her, and neither was there for Lori Weston as played by Lauren Graham (although she did get to drop the occasional one-liners). The women who were interesting- Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik) and Malia Waincroft (Reiko Aylesworth)- were killed off. Of course. Suggestion: next time you hire an actress, make her character interesting.

What's the point of making a core character if a woman if you're not going to develop that character? Other than putting her in a bikini?
  • A little gravitas. One of the early episodes lingered on Steve and Catherine waking up in bed together. It wasn't graphic at all- hello, this is CBS- but it was silly. I remarked to my husband that we never saw Jack Lord, the original McGarrett, in bed with anyone. My husband replied that he would have closed the door. Indeed. It's not about intimacy on television- done well, it's great!- but sometimes I want McGarrett to be a little more in charge and even a little more aloof. Suggestion: watch the old show and see what they did for Lord.
  • More Wo Fat! Wo Fat from the original series was dangerous and ruthless, but he didn't get his own hands dirty. The modern Wo-Fat doesn't mind killing people with his own hands. He's just as brilliant, and he has a long reach. There's also a connection between his family and McGarrett's- he ordered the hit on McGarrett's father and McGarrett's mother killed one of his parents- but he clearly wants something *more* from McGarrett. Suggestion: as the show enters its fifth season, it should think about its end game. Figure out what it is Wo-Fat wants, and make sure we see a lot of him.

Both versions of Wo Fat are pretty badass, but the one from the Seventies might schmooze you a little before he killed you.
  • More Chin Ho! I wasn't a Lost fan (I'm sorry, I just couldn't make the commitment), but it didn't take long for me to know that Daniel Dae Kim is the best actor on the show, hands down. The episodes that heavily feature him are among the best in the series, and his presence in a scene usually elevates everyone in it...when it doesn't highlight how much work they need to do. Suggestion: give Chin Ho more to do.

Eerie coincidence: Daniel Dae Kim and Kam Fong Chun both played the role of Chin Ho Kelly- and they were both good actors. Weird!
  • Enough with the bikini shots. Yes, Hawaii has beautiful scenery and beautiful beaches, but please, stop putting everyone in bikinis. Everyone's too thin and it's just weird. Suggestion: focus more on Honolulu's downtown.
  • Stop making it the 21st century equivalent of The Love Boat. It's not that older actors aren't good actors; it's that you might as well put a sign on them that says "Special Guest Star to appeal to CBS' dominant demographic" every time they walk into a scene. Most of the people they've cast *are* good actors, so why have most of their story lines felt so silly? Darryl Hannah as a flaky real estate agent, Dennis Miller as a shock jock, Melanie Griffith as Danno's mother (REALLY?!) and, most painfully, Eli Wallach as a World War 2 veteran were wasted opportunities. Those actors should have been given more to do. Their best use to date so far has been Ed Asner as a ruthless jewel thief who originally appeared in the 70s show (the flashbacks were awesome). Now if only they hadn't felt the need to make him funny too... Suggestion: when you've got a diamond, let it shine.
 Thanks for reading! What would you do differently, or H5-0 or any other show? Let me know in the comments below, and then do me a favor and hop over to Laura Chapman's blog tomorrow to find out which show she's dying to change.

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