Why We Love Hawaii Five-O (& What’s With the New Fall Shows?)

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I think I know exactly why you made Hawaii Five-O your favorite new Fall TV series in this week’s poll. Part of it has to do with Alex O’Loughlin, who – after two failed dramas – is probably the luckiest guy on TV right now. Because a couple of Hollywood casting directors had faith and… turns out?  They were right about him.  He’s terrific. And the show rocks. But I’m guessing there’s another reason why H5O is your favorite – and it has to do with what’s wrong with so many brand new shows. Each of which starts out something like this:



We see and HOT GUY and a HOT GIRL seated on the pavement following an enormous explosion of some kind. There is debris everywhere; they are covered in soot.


Wow. It’s a good thing we’re alive. I wonder who set that bomb off.


Me too. Fortunately you’ve just gotten that Forensics Investigation Degree from UCLA.


I hated getting that degree.  And everything reminds me of my two years in Afghanistan.


I know, after your former wife tried to blackmail you and reveal that your daughter isn’t really yours…why, I know Forensic school was tough.  It’s a good thing your former wife is behind bars.  And the affair she was having with your brother no longer haunts you. Or does it?


A little bit. But it’s a really good thing that you’re the town DA. If you hadn’t gotten to the bottom of that affair and my father-in-law’s murder I don’t know what  I would have done. Good thing you graduated top of your class from Yale Law School. Even though it was tough – you being an orphan and spending all those years as a stripper. And sixteen years younger than me.


But fortunately you were able to overlook my past, when we met while I was in the Witness Protection Program seven years ago. Especially since that’s when you quit drinking and decided to take care of the neighbors and become a one-man-anti-terror vigilante.


Yes, but you know I can only be a one-man vigilante in Washington DC, which is nearly 3000 miles away from here. In fact, I’ll probably have to leave tomorrow. How can we make this cross-country multigenerational romance work ? The odds are against us.


I know. But most important now is to find out who set off this bomb. Wait – look!  (SHE PICKS UP A NOTE IN THE RUBBLE) This note says “I will set off another bomb in ten minutes twelve  miles away in a nearby shopping mall. Think you can stop me?”


There’s no time to lose. Let’s get to work!


Sound familiar? It should, because seemingly every new TV drama is SOOO loaded down with details & plot exposition that the actors can barely breathe. Character development? Forget it. Relationships? Nowhere near ready. Banter? No way. We won’t get there until the fifth episode – and by then it’ll be too late because the show (like Lone Star, sadly) might have been canceled.  This is the problem with so many new shows. It’s the same old story – writers have guns to their heads and an order to make every new show  a) intriguing b) smart c) character-driven  d) funny and also – they’re told: Don’t forget to explain the WHOLE THING in the pilot so no one’s confused.

Which brings us back to why Hawaii Five-O is popular.  It’s simple – we  know the premise. We get it – right out of the gate. No backstory is needed.  We know what’s going on long before we need to see even a drop of water from any old wave  — without having to be told. Which means that instead of bogging  us down with a lot of clunky exposition the writers can send their (appealing) cast headfirst into the next week’s adventures. Which is part of why I think H5O struck such a positive chord with viewers. No explanation was needed and the crimestoppers got right to the good stuff. And isn’t that why we watch TV anyway?  You voted Blue Bloods into second place in our poll, and reportedly the show was extremely popular despite its Friday night time slot (I thought it was clunky but I’m optimistic). I also think its success has more to do with Tom Selleck – arguably the biggest new-old  name to appear on TV in quite some time (Jimmy Smits had a new series last year). We’ll see whether those two shows are bona fide hits or not. But if H5O is one, we know it’s partially because someone did a lot of the leg work in 1968, so we’re prepped and can enjoy this reboot.  Now let’s  revisit other shows. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these other beloved TV programs you’d like to see rebooted for current prime time:

1)    Mod Squad

2)    Happy Days

3)    The Rockford Files

4)    CHiPs

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