Thursday, September 23, 2010

Five-O or No?

I've been off the radar for a few weeks, and I apologize to readers. I can't even blame my internet connection this time. I've been distracted with preparations for NanoWriMo, watching Blade Runner, (I received the 5-Disc Ultimate Collectors Edition box set as an early birthday present and I came up with this great idea to do a blog post comparing all five movies) and trying to catch up on the summer TV shows I had been watching before the fall season started. All of this (except Nano) was motivated by Fandombouquet, and yet I managed to forget to post here.

I've got a half finished post in the Thirteen Things series, but I have a burning need to interrupt my nicely ordered schedule. Why, you ask? No, actually you're probably not asking that. You've read the title of the post. So. As you can probably guess, I watched the pilot episode of CBS' re-imagined Hawaii 5-0 this week.

The first thing I want to explain is that the original series is right up there beside The Bionic Woman and MASH as an integral part of my growing-up experience. (Thank you, WNDS Derry for airing the show a gazillion times a week and being one of probably four channels we could consistently get without cable in my parents' home.) I won't say that I remember every episode, but I can say that if I happen to catch a re-run on TV now, it's rare for me not to remember it within a few minutes. Wo Fat is one of my favorite TV villains ever.

Now, let me also say that my experiences with "re-imagined" television shows have not been good. I liked Battlestar Galactica in its early seasons but I quit watching in season 3 and have very little to say other than "good riddance." There were a couple of others that I tried to like and couldn't. The one that I really did enjoy got cancelled after eight episodes.

Usually, it takes me three episodes to decide I like a television show. I have a firm rule. Pilot episodes do not always (ever?) reflect what the show is really like. They're meant to pique viewer interest and set up a series. Second episodes give me a little more of an accurate view, but I typically do not have a good picture of things yet. So by the third episode, I can decide with a fair amount of confidence whether I really like a show or not.

Given how often a new show will get cancelled, my current practice has been to wait until a second season is confirmed before even bothering to get invested in a series. In this case I made an exception--partially out of loyalty to the franchise; partially out of curiosity; and mostly because I wanted to have an opinion before people started asking me whether I'd seen it or not, since there's been a lot of buzz.

I wasn't absolutely convinced that I wouldn't like the show, but I have to admit that I wanted to dislike it. I like Grace Park a lot, but re-casting Kono Kalakaua (a cheerful sort of comic relief character whom I liked very much) as a hot girl with martial arts skills struck me as cheap. I frankly do not like LOST or Moonlight, so I was immediately irritated by the choice of actors for McGarrett and Chin Ho, too.

All that said, I hadn't gotten halfway through the episode before I was telling my friend, "Dammit. I like this show. I like these people." I won't comment on specifics because I don't know enough yet to do character analysis a la my Leverage series, and I don't know if I will continue to like them next week.

The episode had flaws. The set up was transparent and too obvious. Plot elements required a higher level of suspension of disbelief than I would have liked in a show that seemed to be going for a "edgy and realistic" atmosphere. The progression of the characters from strangers to colleagues and then to "unit" was a trifle fast for my taste. However, as I said earlier, pilot episodes rarely reflect the nature of the series.

So, the jury is still out. I'm not ready to jump in with both feet, but my toes are in the water here. Five-O looks like a yes from where I stand.

And for the record: I am still a Danny girl. The rest of you can have McGarrett.

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