Season four of the modern version of Hawaii Five-0 finally arrives on UK screens tonight (Sunday). Even if you have never watched the show before, here are ten reasons why you should at least give it a try.
1. Non-stop escapism
Hawaii Five-0‘s core format is something of a throwback – high-octane action, preposterous plots and stunning visual sequences – focussing on spectacle more than complex storylines. That makes it perfect escapist TV for wintry Sunday nights.
Season three brought us Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) attempting to swim through shark-infested waters while towing his partner Danny Williams (Scott Caan) in a dinghy, a prison transport being airlifted off the road by helicopter, burning corn fields and the beheading of a polo player. Expect more of the same here, starting with the resolution of last season’s multiple cliffhanger.
2. A fine bromance
The show revolves around the dynamic between Steve and Danny, possibly the finest on-screen bromance since Butch and Sundance. While being the best of friends, the pair constantly bicker like an old married couple. Even other characters knowingly pass comment on how jealous they become when anyone gets between them.
3. Eye candy
I’m not so much talking about the cast here – although they’re hardly a strain on the eyes – as the lush and diverse scenery of the Hawaiian islands themselves. This is not the dark and foreboding surroundings of New York or Chicago: it’s tourist porn.
4. Shaking up the formula
The show hasn’t been afraid to play with its basic format, with a variety of cast additions and a willingness to embrace one-off gimmicks. Season three alone brought us episodes based around Victoria’s Secret models and the NFL’s annual Pro Bowl, not to mention the traditional day-in-the-life trope redressed in the form of a daytime TV show following the activities of the Five-0 team.
The year before, we also had a crossover story with CBS stablemate NCIS: Los Angeles. Not all of these experiments have been successful, but you have to applaud the producers for not sticking to the same formula week in, week out.
5. Fan interaction
Fans play a greater role in H5-0 than in perhaps any network drama. Last year we saw an episode where viewers were able to vote live via social media to determine the identity of that week’s murderer. (Sadly, while it was a great idea, the story itself was one of the poorest in the show’s history.)
This season’s innovation is an episode where viewers can make wardrobe choices for Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) and vote to select the murder weapon, like a giant social media game of Cluedo. It’s all a bit daft, but it’s nonetheless an ingenious way for the show to reach out to its fans and involve them in stories.
6. Embracing the past
Although it stands on its own feet, the new show isn’t afraid to recognise its past, even to the extent of producing a faithful adaptation of the original series story Hookman, complete with retro-style credits.
The original McGarrett’s nemesis, Wo Fat, is integral to the modern version. And we’ve also had two appearances by another familiar villain from the earlier series, August March.
7. Big-name guest stars
Maybe it’s the attraction of a week’s filming in Hawaii, but Five-0 more than punches its weight when it comes to attracting high-profile guest stars. Lost‘s Terry O’Quinn has had a recurring role, but last season alone we also saw Robocop‘s Peter Weller (as the titular Hookman), Star Trek‘s George Takei, Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo, Magnum P.I.’s Larry Manetti, Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce), NFL star Arian Foster, daytime TV show host Aisha Tyler and a bizarre pre-credits cameo by Dog the Bounty Hunter‘s Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman as himself.
This season will see the return of Willis and Pushing Daisies‘ Chi McBride in a recurring role. Plus we will also see guest turns by Jorge Garcia (Lost‘s Hugo), Rebecca de Mornay, L.A. Law‘s Corbin Bernsen and Nick Jonas (of Jonas Brothers fame).
Five-0 can rarely be accused of taking itself too seriously, teasing fans with Steve and Danny’s bromance and providing various tongue-in-cheek plays on McGarrett’s classic “Book him, Danno” catchphrase.
The show is never afraid to have a laugh at its own expense and break down the fourth wall that separates fantasy from reality. It was incredibly silly, but you couldn’t help but raise a smile at four men in a helicopter singing the theme tune to one of the 1980s’ most-loved (and Hawaii-based) series. All together now (you know you want to!):
9. The mother of all cliffhangers
The closing scenes of the season three finale left us with Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) joining boyfriend Adam and Steve’s mother Doris on a slow boat to China, semi-regular Charlie Fong in hospital after being stabbed and Steve facing the prospect of defending arch-enemy Wo Fat from an unseen hit squad. If nothing else, it’s worth tuning in to see how the team gets out of those messes.
10. That theme tune
Finally, even if you’ve never watched the show, you will surely be familiar with its iconic theme tune, with the modern version remaining pleasingly faithful to the original. Sing along now …
Hawaii Five-0 is on Sky One on Sundays at 9pm.
Link: Season 3 review