[As I’ve already mentioned, and will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS
The Pitch:“Surely the third time’s the charm for Alex O’Loughlin?”
Quick Response: Nothing in Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Peter Lenkov’s take on “Hawaii Five-0” is especially fresh and notable, so an awful lot of credit has to be given to director Len Wiseman (“Live Free or Die Hard”) for making this pilot so much fun. You know the old cliche about pilots that look like movies? This one does. It’s a somewhat dizzying, over-edited, slightly over-directed movie, but the Hawaii cinematography is breathtaking, the stunts are proficient and the explosions are fireball-tastic. I don’t usually find CBS procedurals to be especially entertaining. They have their language and their rhythms and they speak that language well, but they aren’t necessarily entertaining. The “Hawaii Five-0” pilot is utterly entertaining, albeit in a mindless sort of way. What’s going to happen when Wiseman departs? A valid concern. CBS’ Golden Boy Alex O’Loughlin has a good vehicle here, because all he’s asked to do is be earnest and to occasionally take his shirt off. He succeeds admirably on both counts. Co-star Scott Caan is far more entertaining, as the brash, sarcastic Dan-O — think of Caan’s “Ocean’s Eleven” character, with a badge. Grace Park is first introduced surfing in a skimpy bikini and her character is later strip-searched down to her undies, but she conveys the necessary determination and strength that you watch her even when she isn’t being objectified. Expect the producers to dedicate most of their creative juices to figuring out ways to keep Park in similar states of undress, though with the Islands backdrop, it won’t really be hard. Also fine? Daniel Dae Kim and a slew of guest actors whose presence in the pilot surprised me (and I’ll leave them unspoiled for you as well). Toss in the beloved opening credit theme and you have a show that ought to be a winner for CBS, even if it doesn’t feel like a CBS show. It’s too bright and sunny.
Desire To Watch Again: Surprisingly strong. It’s in a time period where I have DVR space available most weeks and I’m curious how well they’ll be able to maintain the pilot production values sans Wiseman. If subsequent weeks see it become Just Another CBS Procedural, I can definitely tune out, but I enjoyed watching the “Hawaii Five-0” pilot.
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