I never thought I would find myself writing something called reasons to love Hawaii Five-0. I freely admit I am a bit of a television snob. I don't watch soap operas, abhor reality TV and find little of interest in so-called pop culture shows. However, during a prolonged stay at my mother's, I was subjected to all manner of American TV crime and cop shows. Most I could ignore, but something about Hawaii Five-O just grabbed my attention and I was hooked! Interminably and irrevocably hooked! Now, I watch all the reruns u2013 the repeats of the first series have just come to an end here and season 2 starts on Monday. I can't wait and I'm on tenterhooks waiting for season three, which is due next year. Here are the reasons I love Hawaii Five-0
1. The Scenery
This is what first caught me and remains top of my reasons to love Hawaii Five-0. Set on the island of Oahu, the scenery which is the backdrop to the show is simply spectacular. Unlike so many other shows that are set in gorgeous locations, you don't get just fleeting glimpses as the camera whizzes from one scene to the next. We get glorious full color-drenched shots of the stunning beaches and water and the lush forested mountains and valleys. We see the beauty from all vantage points u2013 from the air, road and from the water.
Even though second string to the main cast, Max is my favorite character and to my mind we don't see enough of him. How do you best sum up Dr. Max Bergman in one word? Kooky! Played so brilliantly by Masi Oka (you may remember him from Heroes), Max is a genius and a savant, and one hell of a forensic scientist. Max's job is dead bodies - he's the show's medical examiner. Max's hobby is dead bodies u2013 he loves murder re-enactment parties. But Max also plays the piano, loves comic books and crossword puzzles, is allergic to shrimp and oh, he makes pickles. One of his best moments u2013 the day he drove up to a crime scene in a bright yellow Chevy Camaro after trading in his jeep and selling his prehistoric fossil collection. Max is sarcastic but his delivery is razor-sharp and the team often has to confirm what he's really saying to them.
3. The Action
Earlier I mentioned the scenery as one of my top reasons to love Hawaii Five-0, and why do we get to see all Oahu's lovely island beauty? Because every show is action-packed and it happens all over the island. From exploding buildings downtown to rubber-burning car chases along beachside highways, from death defying descents down seriously high cliffs to face-to-face, ass-kicking combat, from car bombs to bank robberies, the show has it all. At the very heart of the action is Task Force Commander Steve McGarrett. A decorated Navy Seal, McGarrett opens doors with grenades, jumps through windows without opening them, and thinks nothing of throwing himself out of a moving vehicle to cut off someone's escape route. Another who deserves an honorable mention with respect to the action is Officer Kono Kalakaua. A former professional surfer who turned to crime fighting after damaging her knee, Kono is a true action chick. She is skilled in martial arts, is a shit-hot sniper and is turning out to be a bit of a techie whiz too.
4. The Culture
Even though done very subtly and in total keeping with the stories, the culture of Hawaii and the island natives and their beliefs and traditions are referred to consistently. Anyone interested in the Polynesian culture will find good reasons to watch Hawaii Five-0. Every episode has a title in the native language and English. We learn about burial rituals and sacred sites, how the communities stand together and support each other, the Polynesian sense of honor and moral code, and we learn about the food culture too. At this point a shout out must go to Kamekona u2013 the man mountain who has become unofficial caterer to the task force. The giant shrimp truck and shaved ice stand owner regularly uses the team as guinea pigs for his latest foodie venture or recipes and in exchange, he is a man with his ear to the ground who acts as their confidential informant u2013 and great friend. He makes an excellent babysitter for Danny's daughter, Grace. Kamekona is currently learning to fly a helicopter to extend his business to include island tours.
5. The Team Dynamics
The Task Force Commander is Steve McGarrett (played by Australian hottie Alex O'Loughlin) was born in and grew up in Hawaii. He came back from his Naval duties to investigate his father's murder and was asked by the Governor to head Five-0. Caring more for getting the job done, Steve needs to brush up on his interpersonal skills but lately, Naval Intelligence Officer Catherine Rollins (unofficial task force member) has been very much helping on that front. Steve's sister calls him a Ninja! Danny u201cDannou201d Williams (Scott Caan) is a grumpy ex-New Jersey cop who moved to Hawaii to be near his young daughter. He is practically press ganged into joining the Five-0 Taskforce and at the beginning his relationship with his commanding officer is more prickly than a cactus. Used to the hard-nose NJ ways, he struggles with the way of things on the island but he struggles with his commanding officer's way of doing things even more. Danno regularly tries to keep Steve u201dthe Neanderthalu201d in check, but fails. From a dodgy beginning, we're well on the way to a bromance here. Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly is one of the most complicated of the task force. A highly decorated cop force out by allegations of corruption, Chin Ho goes through more of a roller coaster in his personal life than any of the other characters. He possesses all the skills a top cop needs and is fiercely loyal to his comrades and family. The last member of the team is Kono. A cousin to Chin, Kono might be the rookie but boy, is she a fast learner. No-one ever seems to notice that she is actually a girl, despite being buff and pretty hot. In fact, the whole team makes for a nice line up of eye candy.
6. The Banter
The constant battle of words between Steve and Danny is another of my favorite reasons to watch Hawaii Five-0. Danny's tongue was sharpened on the rough streets of NJ as a beat cop and he is surprisingly witty. Although many a suspect or witness has been on the end of a Danno quip, his main target is boss Steve. His acerbic perspicacity regularly comes to the fore and there have been some absolute corkers. Always vocal, and always plain talking, Danno tells it like it is and puts in words what everyone else is thinking. Here are a selection of Danno classics:
Danno: I love pancakes in the afternoon.
Steve: I like pancakes.
Danno: You do? You seem more like napalm in the morning kind of guy.
Danno: Can I ask you a question? Why are you always driving my car?
Steve: I like to drive.
Danno: No. Rainman liked to drive. You have control issues.
Steve: You don't think I am a happy person?
Danno: I am sure you have your moments, like when Guns and Ammo puts out its gift guide, or a Rambo retrospective comes on TV.
7. The Plot
I am not going to spoil the plot for you because I know my reasons to watch Hawaii Five-0 will have you scanning the schedules to find out when it is on... ^_^
Like most shows of this genre, each episode is an individual story. However, there is a very interesting plot threading throughout which is twisting and turning like a twisty turny thing. At the heart of it are Steve's murdered mom (raised eyebrows!) and dad, the Yakuza (Japanese criminal force) and the mysterious but deadly Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos). Danny has his own sub plot of his fight with his ex-wife and access to his daughter, Chin has more going on in his private and family life than I can remember and Kono, well let's just say she gets up close and personal with someone unexpected in another sub story to the main plot.
I know I have been very indulgent here and if you've stuck with me to here, either you're a fan, or you've accepted that there are some very good reasons to watch Hawaii Five-0 and enjoy it the way I do. It's action all the way, it's funny, it's poignant, and it has its romance too. And it's pretty to look at. What say you?