‘Hawaii Five-0′ Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 5 years ago by , Updated September 21st, 2010 at 7:58 am,

hawaii five 0 premiere Hawaii Five 0 Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Creating a new series can be a daunting task, but when Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Peter Lenkov set out to re-make one of the television’s most iconic police dramas, they’re shooting for a very high bar. Their intent was to please fans of the original series while modernizing this 70s classic. Of course, in today’s television environment, Hawaii Five-0 needs much more than fans of the original series tuning in – it needs to capture the younger market.

With the casting of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park as Chin Ho Kelly and Kona Kalakaua, CBS hoped to tap into the boisterous fan base of television’s most popular sci-fi dramas, Lost and Battlestar Galactica. And, to fill the shoes of television’s most iconic police duo, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan are this generation’s Detectives Steve McGarrett and Danny “Danno” Williams.

Now, the question remains: Will the talents of Kurtzman, Orci and Lenkov behind the scenes and the talents of O’Loughlin, Caan, Kim and Park on screen make for television’s new hit drama?

Preview (courtesy of CBS)

Upon returning to Hawaii to investigate his father’s murder, decorated Naval officer Steve McGarrett is recruited by the Governor to head up an elite new police task force: his rules, her backing, no red tape. Their first case involves tracking a weapons dealer connected to McGarrett’s father’s murdered


The pilot in itself is a self-contained story. With little editing (and a little bit of lengthening), this pilot could easily be released into theaters and people would happily pay the price of admission. Upon first news of a Hawaii Five-0 remake, I wasn’t sold on it. Even with Kurtzman, Orci and Lenkov behind it, I could not comprehend how a remake of a 70s television series would be interesting or all that different from what is currently on the air. Sure, it’s set in beautiful Hawaii, but that doesn’t make it different or special. Remember, Dog the Bounty Hunter is also shot in Hawaii.

hawaii five 0 cbs 02 Hawaii Five 0 Series Premiere Review & Discussion

And, to be honest, Hawaii Five-0 isn’t anything new or different from what’s on television today. In theory, it’s exactly the same as many other TV shows, but in its execution is where this series shines and sets itself apart from the rest. In almost every way, it does everything better than any other series. It takes the simple elements of police procedurals that have become stale and implements them in new and refreshing ways.

What Kurtzman and Orci have learned from working on Transformers, Star Trek and Cowboys & Aliens can easily be seen on the screen. Typically, I don’t discuss the look of a television series because the budget and time constraints don’t often lend themselves to creating the outstanding visuals that one sees in films these days. Fortunately, Kurtzman, Orci and Lenkov have pulled off the seemingly impossible and created not only one of the most beautiful series on television, but have done it to such a level that there are many times in the pilot that you’ll believe you’re watching a full-length feature film.

Where a typical television series would cut away in a specific scene – because it’s cheaper and easier to film – Hawaii Five-0 not only continues the shot, but it also follows the action. Take, for example, a scene in which a mid-level drug lord jumps out of his two-story house. As the criminal runs to the window, a typical television series would cut to a shot of him jumping out of the window and then cut to a shot where it shows him hitting the car. Instead, the camera follows the action throughout. In one single shot, we see him run to the window, jump out of the window, fall and land on the car – a visually pleasing scene, no doubt, but one that also helps to intensify the action and excitement of that specific sequence.

hawaii five 0 KoOlauloa 06 Hawaii Five 0 Series Premiere Review & Discussion

In terms of plot, the circumstances that initiate the series (the murder of Steve McGarrett’s father) are nowhere near as poignant or as entertaining as the storyline that evolves when Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Det. Danny Williams (Scott Caan) partner up.  Caan and O’Loughlin shine when they are together in a scene. Like some of the best duos in television history, they are able to play off of each other perfectly. This really helps sell the series.

Of course, Lost and Battlestar Galactica fans will be tuning in to see Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park fill the roles of Chin Ho Kelly and Kona Kalakaua. While CBS has been putting Kim and Kelly front and center for Hawaii Five-0 promotion, they’re more or less ancillary characters in the pilot. Hopefully, that will change once we get the required back-story out of the way.

If one were to raise any complaints with an almost flawless pilot, it would be the episode’s final fight scene. Much of the pilot is spent on tracking down the killer of McGarrett’s father, Victor Hesse (played by James Marsters), but when the confrontation between McGarrett and Hesse finally happens, it’s over quickly. While the fight scene between the two is action-packed and fun to watch, it was over just too quickly. Sure, the pilot implies that Hesse is not dead, but still, I would have liked to have seen a bit more. Hopefully, we will when these two foes meet again.

hawaii five 0 cbs 01 Hawaii Five 0 Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Hawaii Five-0 is easily the best pilot of the new season, but with so much time and money spent to produce the pilot, I’m interested to see how subsequent episodes will match up in terms of look and feel. Was this a one-time thing or can Hawaii Five-0 consistently produce great looking, highly entertaining episodes week-after-week.

Final Thoughts

Hawaii Five-0 has more to prove than any other new television series. Thankfully, Kurtzman and Orci’s remake of this television classic exceeds all expectations. Not only does it bring something new to the tired police procedural, but at times you’ll swear that you’re watching a film. While Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Alex O’Loughlin have been touted as the show’s stars, it is Scott Caan who brings it all together and makes this series work.

Hawaii Five-0 airs Monday’s @10pm, on CBS


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  1. I would have liked it better without so many cliches, even with that the one that got me the most, I am so tired of the bad guys gun jamming/running out of bullets right when he has the good guy in his sights and 1 shot would end him. That cliche has to go.

  2. I finally watched the premiere tonight and I liked it. Great visuals, lots of action, James Marsters as a villain (the role he does best) and an I thought there was great chemistry between the main characters. Plus there was some moments of humor in there. I will definitely be tuning into this every week. I am not sure I see what the complaints are. It’s a remake of a 70′s show, they can’t do EVERYTHING the same as the original (which was not THAT great, IMO). I think this show will find it’s legs and be one of the best new shows this year. At least it’s not CSI: Hawaii.

  3. The difference between Hawaii 5-0 and other crime shows is the other shows seem to find some creative way to kill a victim, then spend the hour giving us highly detailed autopsy doings. I am not interested in that. I want a story. I want characters that I actually can get to know. I’m hoping H50 will be that type of show. Waiting to see.

  4. My girlfriend and I are visitors of the the island, so seeing familiar places on the show was cool. But the action was great!!! This show is a favorite of mine. Did anyone notice that it was directed by Les Wiseman? Great stunts, funny at times and awesome characters!!! I will be a fan of this show. Hats off to James Marsters (I know he will be back in it again) Hawaii 5-0 is a show that everyone should check out. Lets hope the writing and the directing will continue to be good. Bookem Dano!!!!

  5. So do kurtzman or orci ever do anything original. Sorry but these two make a living of rehashing other peoples creation. And they aren’t very good at it. Just my opinion.

    • They must be good enough if they keep getting hired and their shows/movies do well in the ratings/box office. They must be rolling in the moolah by now.

    • I agree 100%. I think they are quite untalented and only get hired again and again because of their relationship with J.J. Abrams and the collective illusion Hollywood is under that J.J. Abrams isn’t a flop-meister.

  6. Orci & Kurtsman, should be writting SyFy tv programs. That’s about their level. They write popcorn fodder.

    They got lucky with Transformers and Star Trek. Let’s face it, nobodys going to see Transformers or Trek because of the writing.

    • Those were horrible, awful movies.

      That is what Kurtzmann and Orci do.

      Sadly Hollywood love horrible and awful product these days.

  7. I’ll stick with the show for now, but I did find the pilot to be pretty cheesy at times.

  8. Plot development. Character building. Cliches.

    Nice comments but can anyone point to a single current 60 minute television pilot that isn’t short on plot and character building. Are there any purely original shows that don’t rely on cliches? Seriously. Everyone needs to lighten up. Stop sounding like the show is some kind of personal affront.


  9. I watched the first 20 minutes of the second episode.

    This show appears to be a colossal failure. The guy that plays McGarret is miss-cast and his lack of chemistry with his partner is unmistakable.

    It is a shame that a show with so much potential, delivered such a turd.

    • Sadly, even though the show flopped, the people who keep pushing Alex O’Loughlin’s lack of talent on us have decided to keep producing this awful show.

  10. i was ready to give mcgarett some slack since he wasn`t hunting his fathers killer in this episode but he still was an ass.

  11. I’m laughing at the viewers that really thought this would be good. Lol,,, ah haa!

    Book’um D,,,

  12. Its not a question of not being deep, thought provoking series. Depending on mood I enjoy meaningless violence,The movie of yester year “Commando” was strickly a video shoot um up, but that is what I wanted to see. I will still watch it.
    Hawaii 5-0 should pick one and stick with it. Come on, who here has a cell phone that works everywhere, but “24″ it not only works but downloads monster documents in 5 seconds without problem. And Jack can get cross town in 5 minutes. We want to suspend belief, but you need a story told well to allow it to be suspended.
    I really think Hawaii 5-0 is trying to be a cop show for everyone. I dont think it will work, lets see if it gets better.

  13. Im friends with tony harrington on maui and have trade name to JAWS surf and sail maui .com ……. could you folks please put more howzit shaka bra da-kine bamby k-den etc. etc. in the script????? TANKS-HEH!!!!!GOD BLESS LAHAINADAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I couldn’t differ much more

  15. Love the show with the exception of Maggie Grace. Who could believe that a girl who looks like she weighs 90lbs and looks like an anorexic could be a cop? They do have physical requirements.

    • Grace Park hasn’t weighed 90 lbs. since the day after Thanksgiving.

  16. Most of the fun of the original was Jack Lord’s rigid acting style, and the multitude of interesting guest villians. I didn’t expect the re-make to try to be the original, but it looks like they merely cashed-in on name recognition like most new shows and movies do these days. The remake must cost a fortune to produce, so I doubt it will last long

  17. Briefly…I am such a big fan of the original I will never watch this. It might be ok for people who never saw the original but there are some programs and films that should never ever be re-made. This is one if them. And a woman as ‘Kono!!’ I wish everyone would stop trying to be so damn ‘pc’ I’ll vEry on with my original boxset thanks.

  18. I like the show enough, BUT , I am the only one that has to struggle to hear over the way too load background music????

  19. i am a super fan of the old one and this new one aswell…. tell me if u lost something in your life will some of you won’t replace it. If you get a divorce will you never remarried cause it’s not like the orginal. Come on. I grew up watching the old one. I love it very much and the old cast..they were awesome. Doesn’t mean i’m betraying the old one by also loving this new one, and this new one is for this time . love the actors. Great natural acting. Very relax. Hawaii 5-0 God speed and keep up the good work. Aloha !!!
    Ms.Pat Duffus from Guantanmo Bay Cuba

  20. Mc garrett obviously wasnt driving, he seldom bothered to look at the road
    It lacked the entertainment value of the original show, hope it improves, more escapism and romance is needed

  21. This show is tooo contrived.. Police can’t just continually break the laws and get away with it !! The relationshiop between “Dano” and McGarrett is tooooo forced and fake. So much so that it has become annoying!.. They should replace Dano, He is not believable.. They should replace Maggie Grace.. She is sooo unblievable.. it’s ridiculous. They just needed a bean pole to put in a bikini! She looks like a cop about as much as pee wee herman does.. I tried. I dont like it.. I’m done.. This could have been a great Idea but they have already went too far too fast and it has sunk the ship.. Aloha Hawaii 5-0!

  22. This is nothing special, they should have called it Hawaii Bitchin’ (as that’s all the dynamic duo seem to do) and left the original name to someone who was going to do a good show. This is just a typical lame US crime action show, formula stuff.

  23. My wife and I have watched Hawai 50 a few times. The plots are great but get turned off when the two staring actors start their little arguements.It sounds a bit silly.Also Scott Caan with all those crazy hand movements when he”s trying to express himself or is he trying to communicate with the deaf? I’m sorry to say he dosen’t come across as a actor.Now please guys and girls no offence just wan’t to express how we view all your charactors and the parts they portray.So far the top crime shows we quite enjoy are The Mentalist,Blue Bloods, The Closer, CSI Miami and Law and Order special victims unit. The Best to all JERRY AND LINDA

  24. The best? It was surely the worst.

    Five reasons:

    Scott Caan can’t act.
    Alex O’Laughlin can’t act.
    Daniel Dae Kim really can’t act.
    Grace Park can’t act (but looks pretty in a bikini)
    It’s shot on video and looks terrible.

    Other than that it’s a friggin’ masterpiece!

  25. I forgot to mention it also bombed out in the ratings, failing to improve on way-past-its-expiration-date CSI Miami.

    But don’t tell that to the press which is convinced it’s doing great because for some reason CBS had decided to break with its good habits of not hyping failures and pretend this pale excuse for a show is a hit (which is not how CBS came to be the #1 network by a very wide margin).

  26. I really love the show, However I do not understand why they had to go so political with guns. Hypocrites, they use guns to kill people and make money. This show is all about crime what do they want them to do try to shoot tazers 50 yards away. I will still watch the show but I am very disgusted about this.

  27. This show does not belong as a lead in to blue bloods – it is not believable and the jerky way caan talks is irritating. He has no talent. Must work cheap.