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

September 18th, 2012

Hawaii Five-0: Season Two - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

The remake Hawaii Five-O, Hawaii Five-0 was a huge hit during its first season and was arguably the biggest new release of the 2010-2011 season. However, I was less impressed. The police procedural is an incredibly crowded genre. There are about ten other such shows on CBS alone. Quite frankly, this one didn't stand out. Did it find its voice during season two? Or did it fade into the crowd even more?

The Show

First a recap of the show. ... It's a police procedural show, set in Hawaii. That's really all you need to know. Steve McGarrett heads the Five-0, a special state task force that deals with serious crimes on the island state. Detective Danny Williams is his partner, even though the two cops' style clashes. Other members of the force includes Chin Ho Kelly and his cousin, Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park), who at the beginning of season one isn't even a graduate of the police academy. M.E. Max Bergman rounds out the main cast from season one, while Special Agent Lori Weston joins early in season two.

Before I get into season two, I feel I need to describe my reviewing process for TV on DVD. I will watch a disc while writing notes, then when the full disc is done, I start coming up with a summary for each episode. If it is a good episode, I don't even have to look at my notes, just writing them down is enough to recap it later on. However, if it is a mediocre or unmemorable episode, I have check my notes, and even then it is sometimes not enough. With Hawaii Five-0, I had to look at my notes for every single episode. Granted, this is partially because the episode names are in Hawaiian and I can't speak Hawaiian, so the names don't give me any clue as to the content of the episode, but this is mainly because it is a really generic modern police procedural. By the time I finished watching all of the episodes, I couldn't remember what the first few were about. After reading the notes on the first few, I would forget what the last ones were about. It all just blurred together.

So why doesn't this show stand out? This is partially due to the writing, which is rather weak. The mysteries are not interesting enough and instead they rely too heavily on fancy technology and action scenes. This is something I've complained about with my most recent review of NCIS: LA. However, this is also partially because of the cast. I like some of the cast members, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Masi Oka, for instance. But while they are good, their characters are not as compelling as those on NCIS or Castle, which are the only police procedurals I still watch regularly. Unfortunately, Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan are wooden and have little to no chemistry together. When the two leads are the weakest part of your show, then you have serious issues. Granted, the locations look gorgeous and occasionally they use the Hawaiian setting to its fullest, but that's not enough to justify choosing this police procedural over the many others out there.

Hawaii Five-0 could be named CSI: Honolulu and it would fit right in with that franchise, except for the theme song, that is. Six or seven years ago, that might have been considered a compliment. However, I've grown really tired of that franchise and I don't even bother requesting screeners for those shows anymore. I won't be requesting a screener for season three of this show.

The Extras

Extras are spread throughout the six-disc set, starting with two audio commentary tracks and deleted scenes for many episodes. The rest of the extras are on disc five, including the crossover episodes with NCIS:LA. There is a 30-minute overview on season two. Next up is a 23-minute long making of featurette that concentrates on the action scenes. Hawaii Five-O’Ahu is an interactive map of locations used in the show that has various short clips. There is a nine-minute featurette on Becoming a SEAL. Finally, there are ten minutes of outtakes.

The Blu-ray looks and sounds gorgeous, especially compared to most TV on DVD releases. It is perhaps not quite as good as Once Upon a Time, but it's among the best high definition releases for a network show. Likewise, the audio is great for a TV on DVD release with clear dialogue, some good separation, ambient sounds, and other activity in the surround sound speakers.

The Blu-ray costs $5 or 17% more than the DVD. This is an excellent deal for a TV on DVD release.

The Verdict

Hawaii Five-0 is just too generic. It doesn't have the same appeal as the original, nor can it stand out in a very crowded genre. It you liked Season Two more than I did, then the extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray are sufficient to be worth purchasing, while the latter is the much better deal.

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