The fall TV season may be months away, but it’s never too soon to get a feel for the fresh fare coming our way. In Fancast’s First Look, Two Takes series, executive editor Matt Mitovich shares a snapshot overview of each new show, noting strengths and areas for improvement, then invites a fellow editor to offer a second opinion.
‘HAWAII FIVE-O,’ CBS
Time slot: Mondays at 10/9c
Competition: ‘Castle’ (ABC) and ‘Chase’ (NBC)
Cast: Alex O’Loughlin (‘Moonlight’), Scott Caan (‘Ocean’s Eleven’), Daniel Dae Kim (‘Lost’), Grace Park (‘Battlestar Galactica’)
Executive Producers: Peter Lenkov (‘CSI: NY’), Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (‘Fringe’)
The Bullet: A reboot of the classic series (watch full episodes here), CBS’ ‘Hawaii Five-O’ stars O’Loughlin as Steve McGarrett, a disenfranchised lawman lured back to serving justice by the promise of fronting an elite task force. Hoping to at least settle an old score, McGarrett quickly assembles a team populated by Danny “Danno” Williams (Caan), Chin Ho Kelly (Kim) and Chin’s cousin Kono (Park).
What Works: I wanted to start our First Look series on a high, and ‘Five-O’ is one of this season’s most entertaining pilots. The Hawaii setting is of course gorgeous (even if it perhaps gives ‘Lost’ vet Kim flashbacks to The Island!), and the cast is among TV’s most telegenic. The task force’s first assignment is sufficiently engaging, even as it works to set up the series’ premise and intro the players. Jean Smart (’24’) is the Hawaii governor who taps McGarrett for this plum gig, while James Marsters (‘Buffy’s Spike) guest-stars as a nasty (and hopefully recurring) baddie. And yes – the theme song is the same, with near-identical visuals in the opening credits. Check it out here:
What Needs Work: In this his third CBS series, O’Loughlin isn’t “popping” as much as he did sporting ‘Moonlight’ fangs, but that could balance nicely with Caan’s Danno, who is one entertainingly quippy cop. Also, the pilot screams expensive, kicking off with a literally explosive sequence that introduces McGarrett’s demons; it’ll be interesting to see how they maintain that quality on a weekly basis.
Take Two, from Fancast’s Julie Zied: Given that I often regard procedurals as background filler best viewed while occupied with other tasks, I was surprised by how instantly captivating this pilot was. O’Loughlin shines as the cocksure pack leader, and his exchanges with his reluctant partner are some of the show’s wittiest. (“You let your daughter sleep here?” McGarrett asks upon seeing Danny’s shabby pad. “Who are you, Nanny 911?” Danny retorts.) As the series progresses, I’m curious to learn more about Jin’s Chin’s shady past and what happened between Danny and his ex that led him to set her ringtone to ‘Grim Reaper.’ I also look forward to the inevitable fan debate over which eligible bachelor – Danny or McGarrett – Kono should sleep with. Bottom line? Beautiful cast + solid writing + exotic scenery = a series poised to give ‘NCIS’ a run for its money as CBS’ most popular drama.
The Fancast Forecast: ‘Castle’ may wish that ‘CSI: Miami’ had stayed put.