On the recommendation of my sister-in-law, my wife and I checked out the new Hawaii Five-0. I had never seen the original series but my wife had and enjoyed it. She was quite excited about this new version. We tried the episode entitled “Pahele” from season two. Sadly, we both found it a rather pathetic, by-the-numbers police procedural. The plot from this episode involved a school bus full of children being hijacked by drug runners. They were wanting to exchange the kids for the drugs that the Five-0 squad had recently confiscated. In the end, the goals of the drug runners was a bit more complicated than this, but the episode was so unengaging that neither of us really felt pulled in to the conflict. In fact, I was quite surprised that the method of the criminals was similar to an old episode of Millennium in which a group of school children were kidnapped and buried by a man who sees himself as part of an apocalyptic prophecy. As I think back on it, that story seemed similarly uninteresting and rote, so maybe stories about hijacked school buses are just a bad idea.
But along with the tedious plot, the actors didn’t seem to perform. In some scenes they appeared quite uncharismatic, almost as if the actors had just showed up to read their lines. Maybe there was a good catered buffet just out of shot and everyone wanted the episode to wrap as soon as possible. Many of the performances were wooden and dry and the whole experience was mind-boggling. If this was indicative of the show, then it looked to be horrible.
Now in fairness, the scenes with Terry O’Quinn were good. His character was helping McGarrett investigate some secret about McGarrett’s father. But these scenes added up to less than five minutes of the episode, and as compelling as they were, they didn’t really work to draw us back.
The next night we decided to give the show another chance and bought the pilot episode from iTunes. The difference between these two episodes left me speechless. The plot was interesting, the characters (and actors) seemed to be enjoying themselves. Even the banter between McGarrett and Danny was fun to watch, something that was completely missing from “Pahele”. The pilot was a show that I would willingly go back to, whereas “Pahele” wasn’t.
Final Verdict: Perhaps if Amazon ever has the first season on sale for $20, I’ll check out more episodes. Or if my wife wants to buy more herself. Either way, I’d like to see where the show goes, but I confess that I probably won’t go out of my way to pursue it.