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Featured TV on DVD Review: Hawaii Five-0: Season One

September 17th, 2011

Hawaii Five-0: Season One - Buy from Amazon

When it was announced they were going to remake Hawaii Five-0, a lot of people were skeptical. After all, at the time the original was the longest running cop show on American TV and people were worried they were messing with a classic. That said, there were also a lot of people who were interested and the series debuted to excellent ratings with over 14 million people tuned in to see it. However, by its season finale, that figure had dropped to 10.4 million. Losing more than 25% of the premiere audience is a bit troubling, but it still finished in the top 30 overall and was one of the biggest freshmen hits of the season. That said, it is a police procedural, and that's an incredibly crowded field to compete in. Can it stand out? And is it worth checking out?

The Show

The answer to the first question is, not really. But before I go into more detail, lets get into the setup. The series starts with Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett transporting Anton Hesse, an arms dealer, in a military convoy. He gets a call from his dad, who is being held hostage by Victor Hesse. Victor keeps Steve on the phone long enough to trace the call, at which time he stages a daring rescue of his brother. However, Anton is killed and Victor kills Steve's father in retaliation.

Steve's offered a chance by Governor Pat Jameson to find his father's killer by heading a special task force that will operate with immunity and outside the normal chain of command. At first he turns her down, but when he is caught at his father's house, an active crime scene, trying to remove evidence, he's nearly arrested by Detective Danny Williams. He decides to accept Governor Jameson's offer and pull rank. Not only does he take over the case, he forces Detective Williams to be his new partner. Continuing the investigation, he gets help from Chin Ho Kelly, a former cop who was thrown off the force for allegedly taking bribes. However, Steve offers him a chance to get back on the force by joining his task force. When they need someone to go undercover, Chin Ho suggests Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park), his cousin and soon to be police academy graduate.

There are other important cast members, include Taylor Wiley as Kamekona, an informant. Wo Fat, a crime boss and the recurring bad guy in both versions of the series. M.E. Max Bergman is the eccentric coroner, and his role here reminds me of the role he played on Scrubs. Later in the season, there's a new addition to the show, Jenna Kaye a CIA agent. There are also a few family members that make regular appearances, including McGarrett's sister, and Danno's ex-wife and daughter (Teilor Grubbs). On a side note, Grubbs is an excellent last name for a detective. "I'm Detective Taylor Grubbs and I do things by the book, my book." ... Moving on.

Like I said, the new version of Hawaii Five-0 doesn't really stand out in a crowded field. It is very similar to most police procedural shows on TV right now, except it is set in Hawaii. There are very few episodes during this season that couldn't take place on any number of other shows, with perhaps minor changes. The show I'm most reminded of is NCIS:LA, which is both good news and bad news. The show is well made and there's plenty of action. However, there's an over-reliance on technology that looks flashy and I don't think the cast has quite gelled as a team. There are elements that help improve the show, like the continuing story with Wo Fat. Steve McGarrett continuing his father's investigation into his mother's death is the most unique part of the show, but even that reminded me of other shows.

The Extras

Extras are spread throughout the six-disc set, starting with an audio commentary track and deleted scenes on the first episode. There's also a making of featurette for the pilot and finally a featurette on the Legacy of the original Hawaii Five-0. Three of the four episodes on disc two have deleted scenes, plus there are promos for the show and website. There are no deleted scenes on disc three, but Grace Park gives a five-minute tour of Hawaii, there's a two-minute featurette on the theme song, and a six-minute featurette on the Comic-con panel. Disc four has deleted scenes on two episodes and an audio commentary track on one episode. It also has a 30-minute overview on the season, detailing the creation of the show, character arcs, specific episodes, etc. All four episodes on disc five have deleted scenes, plus there's a 15-minute featurette on the action. (There's also an Easter Egg here. It's on the episode menu, but that's all I'll say.) The final disc has deleted scenes on three episodes, outtakes, and a seven-minute featurette on the box Steve's dad left him. (It's part of the continuing story.)

The Verdict

Hawaii Five-0: Season One does a lot well, and shows potential, but the cast hasn't quite come together, while there's not enough here separate it from the pack. It shares the same location as its predecessor, as well as the names of the main characters; however, it is very much a modern cop show. If you are a fan of the genre, it is worth checking out. If you watched the first season, there's enough extras that the DVD is worth picking up.

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