10 reasons you should be watching Hawaii Five-0

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.

I'm sure I've seen this somewhere before ... Steve, Danny, Kono and Chin Ho confer in the modern version of the classic series episode Hookman (Image: CBS)

The Five-0 team mull over yet another crime (Image: CBS)

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.

Steve and Danny question real-life Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (Image: CBS)

The Houston Texans’ Arian Foster: a better running back than an actor, admittedly (Image: CBS)

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.’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 DaisiesChi 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).

8. Humour

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

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2 Comments on 10 reasons you should be watching Hawaii Five-0

  1. I watched a bit of Hawaii Five-O when I was travelling as it was on quite a lot on one of the main English-language channels in South East Asia, and although it’s ridiculously silly it’s also a really enjoyable way to switch off for an hour. I like that it isn’t afraid of that humour and knowingness in the way that other cop shows sometimes can be, as well as the willingness to try different things with the format.

    • I think that’s exactly it. I like a good serious procedural as much as the next viewer, but there’s also a place for over-the-top escapism done with a knowing wink to the audience, and H5-0 does this very well.

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