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Featured TV on DVD Review: Hawaii Five-O: Season 12

January 5th, 2012

Hawaii Five-O: Season 12 - Buy from Amazon

Hawaii Five-O ends its run on the home market this week with the release of Season Twelve. I found the previous season to be sadly average, but does the show continue this decline? Or does it go out on a high note?

The Show

I have some bad news. When you think of Hawaii Five-O, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Probably the theme song. The second thing is probably, "Book 'em, Danno." Steve McGarrett's iconic catchphrase had been said countless times over the previous eleven seasons, but after season eleven, James MacArthur, the Danno booking people, left the show. So did Kam Fong Chun, who played Chin Ho. The pair were replaced by three new characters: Truck Kealoha, James "Kimo" Carew, and Lori Wilson. A previously introduced character, Detective Duke Lukela, becomes a lot more prominent this season. Unfortunately, these changes didn't help the show avoid declining further. In fact, they helped accelerate the problems.

In addition to a new core cast that simply didn't have the same chemistry as the main cast had during the show's best years, the writing was also much weaker this time around and there are very few episodes that are even merely average. The season starts off on one such average note with A Lion in the Streets, a two-part episode about unions and organized crime, which is also used to introduce the first two of the new cast members. Lori Wilson is introduced in Who Says Cops Don't Cry?, which is even weaker than the season premiere. For the next two or three discs there's a string of mediocre episodes. There are a few better than average episodes late in the season (The Flight of the Jewels, Clash of Shadows, etc.) and the show does end on a high note with Woe to Wo Fat, which marks the final showdown between Steve McGarrett and Wo Fat. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of positive things to say for the rest of the season.

I know, this is a shorter review than with most TV on DVD releases, but when it comes to this type of release, I try to limit the review to the highlights, and there are just not a lot of those to be found on this five-disc set.

The Extras

The only extras are a 30-second archival promo for the series and a music video for "Crime Wave" that's mostly just clips from the TV series.

The Verdict

"Disappointing" is the best way to describe the final season of Hawaii Five-O. I can imagine a lot of fans, especially those who thought the previous season was weak, will be skipping Season Twelve. On the other hand, if you are a completist, it might be worth waiting a few months till the price drops.

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