Hawaii Five-O’s pilot kicks ass! Episode review!

OMIGOD! We’ve been watching loads and loads of telly this week, haven’t we Shout readers, as the fall TV schedules kick into high gear. Some have been exhilarating, some have caused me to groan out loud and roll my eyeballs.

I wasn’t looking forward to Hawaii Five-O. Another yawnsome police procedural to add to our CSI’s and NCISes. What could a remake of an old cop show really bring to the table?

Former vampire detective Alex O’Loughlin plays Steve McGarrett. To bring this show kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, McGarrett is a Navy SEAL who returns to Hawaii after his father is killed by James Marsters playing some kind of Irish terrorist. This means he has the skills to kick ass, and thanks to the governor of Hawaii, he’s been made part of a task force to eradicate criminal scum from the island.

As the pilot gets underway, McGarrett assembles his team from just about everybody he meets. It doesn’t feel that haphazard when you’re watching the episode, but you realise afterward that his colleagues are randomly accumulated rather than being singled out for any particular special skills. But we’ll get over that soon enough. Scott Caan plays the role of ‘Danno’ Williams, which means he’ll have people shouting “Book ’em Danno” at him for the rest of his life. I hope they’re paying him well. And former Lost star Daniel Dae Kim plays Chin Ho Kelly, an ex-cop who McGarrett’s father showed compassion toward when he was accused of taking kickbacks.

Rounding out the team is Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua.

The pilot is jam-packed with action scenes, shoot-outs, punch-ups and sweeping scenery shots of Hawaii. The pacing is perfect, and there’s not too much flab in the storyline – we get background on McGarrett, his reason for returning to Hawaii and the assembling of the task force. The snarky insults between McGarrett and Williams were excellent, and I found myself really buying into the animosity between the two characters and the grudging respect that developed between them. Loved the scene where they had to buy ridiculous t-shirts and ice-cream in order to get information.

James Marsters was not his usual cartoony self in his guest role, instead opting for genuine menace. Doesn’t hurt that he’d shot McGarrett Snr in the head before the classic theme tune had even started! It was almost a shame when they killed off his character at the end of the episode (but was the body ever recovered?) It would’ve been nice to have a first case that wasn’t so easily disposed of, especially when you consider that the man killed McGarrett’s father.

I hate to have to say it – because I had such low expectations for this show – but the Hawaii Five-O pilot may have been the most exciting season premiere I’ve seen this week. I sincerely hope that they capitalise on the strength of this first episode, because it’s a very watchable, action-packed cop show. Well done, CBS.

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