Hawaii Five-0 REVIEW

Rating ★★★

UK transmission: 2011, Channel to be confirmed

Let’s get one thing straight before the purists go all sniffy about remaking old classics – Hawaii Five-0 was no classic.

Fondly remembered for Steve McGarrett’s swaying bouffant, yes. For the opening music, for ‘Book ’em, Danno,’ certainly. But let’s not get misty-eyed about the original (1968-80) with Jack Lord, James MacArthur and Kam Fong. Check out YouTube (below) for a reminder of acting that made Crossroads look like the Royal Shakespeare Company.

McGarrett (Alex OLoughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan)

Exec producer Peter Lenkov calls this year’s CBS model a tribute, and as an hour of glam-action primetime the new show hits the mark.

The pilot is a mega-bucks affair with helicopter ambushes and explosions, but it actually takes the trouble to set up the characters too.

Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin, star of such TV backwaters as Moonlight and Three Rivers, gets the lead as McGarrett, an all-round hardman from special military outfits, given the job of running Hawaii’s new law-enforcement task force. His agenda is to get the villain (Buffy‘s James Marsters) who killed his father in the prologue.

Where Jack Lord was po-faced and by-the-book, O’Loughlin cracks a smile occasionally and is a bit more gung-ho.

James Caan’s son, Scott, is a personable Danno – so-called because that was how his three-year-old daughter pronounced his name, we learn. The Hawaiian characters – Daniel Dae Kim as Chin and Grace Park as a butt-kicking Kona (replacing the lumbering Kono in the original) – are more feisty and interesting than their prototypes.

The McGarrett-Danno deal is more of a buddy/odd couple routine here, some of which is cheesy and some of which raises a smile (Danno’s ringtone for his ex-wife is the screeching violins from Psycho).

The opening story, something to do with Chinese gangsters and people trafficking, is ludicrous, but for a glossy procedural with adorable scenery and explosions, the Hawaii Five-0 re-boot does the job.

It even has a revamp of the original music and McGarrett says, ‘Book him, Danno.’ Only the quiff is sadly gone.

The show was due to go out in the UK on Bravo next month, but the programming powers have pushed it back to next year somewhere ‘on the Sky platform’.

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