Judge Cynthia Boris catches a nostalgia wave to Hawaii.
Our reviews of Hawaii Five-O: The Complete First Season (published March 6th, 2007), Hawaii Five-O: The Fourth Season (published July 9th, 2008), Hawaii Five-O: The Sixth Season (published June 15th, 2009), Hawaii Five-O: The Third Season (published January 28th, 2008), and Hawaii Five-O: The Twelfth and Final Season (published January 10th, 2012) are also available.
"I need some answers, Betsy baby."—McGarrett being both tough and cool at the same time.
They found their style and their footing, and the characters have more meat on their bones. It's Hawaii Five-O—The Second Season and I think it's one of their best. Grab a Mai Tai and a straw hat; we're on our way to the big island where danger lurks at every turn.
Facts of the Case
Jack Lord (Stoney Burke) is Steve McGarrett, head of "Five-O," an elite police squad dedicated to solving the biggest crimes on the big island. His right-hand man is the idealistic Danny Williams (James MacArthur) and they are ably assisted by the fatherly Chin Ho Kelly (Kam Fong) and the burly but boyish Kono Kalakaua (Zulu). With the scenery of Hawaii as an additional character on the show, the Five-O team tracks down killers of the hired and homegrown kind, kidnappers, extortionists, and all levels of members of the mob.
Here's what you'll get in this box set:
• "A Thousand Pardons, You're Dead"
• "To Hell With Babe Ruth"
• "Forty Feet High and It Kills"
• "Just Lucky, I Guess"
• "Savage Sunday"
• "A Bullet for McGarrett"
• "Sweet Terror"
• "King Kamehameha Blues"
• "The Singapore File"
• "All the King's Horses"
• "Leopard on the Rock"
• "The Devil and Mr. Frog"
• "The Joker's Wild, Man, Wild!"
• "Which Way Did They Go"
• "Blind Tiger"
• "Run, Johnny, Run"
• "Killer Bee"
• "The One with the Gun"
• "Cry, Lie"
• "Most Likely to Murder"
• "Nightmare Road"
• "Three Dead Cows at Makapuu, Part 1 & 2"
• "Kiss the Queen Goodbye"
Hawaii Five-O: The Second Season is loaded with some of my favorite episodes of the series. Episodes I still vividly remember even though I haven't seen them in many years. There's "The Devil and Mr. Frog," "A Bullet for McGarrett," and one of my all-time favorite plots, "The Joker is Wild, Man, Wild!," where two young men play a deadly game of "I dare you" in order to win the hand of a bored heiress.
Much of the season's strength comes from familiarity. The characters are now well thought out, the style is set, and the writers still have plenty to say. The first season's artistic style continues, with gorgeous location shots, unusual camera angles, and hand-held driving shots from inside the car. There's an attention to detail that you'll notice even if you don't realize you're noticing. It's another one of the show's trademarks.
Character-wise, the show gets a little personal this season. In "Cry, Lie," Chin Ho Kelly is accused of taking bribes and it's a real showcase episode for hard-working, rarely praised actor Kam Fong. Danny gets a little too personal with a witness in "A Thousand Pardons, You're Dead!" and he's out to stop a friend from going on a revenge spree in "Most Likely to Murder."
But it's McGarrett who really gets his cool on when he tries to smuggle a beautiful but reluctant witness out of Singapore in "The Singapore File." Later, his birthday turns to terror when he's blinded by a car bomb in "Blind Tiger."
The villainous Wo Fat makes an appearance in "Forty Feet High and it Kills" and you'll find a young Christopher Walken doing it up right as an AWOL sailor on the run from his crewmates as well as the police.
As for the DVD itself, I like the nice clean packaging. Three snapcases in a lovely ocean-view sleeve. I would have preferred to see different pictures on each case, but I can live with what I've got. The sound is acceptable and the video looks great.
There is only one special feature and it's kind of fun, though strangely presented. It's the coming attraction promos for next week's episodes (included for the majority of the episodes). These promos are unusual in that they feature Jack Lord not only teasing the plot but actually naming off the guest cast with phrases such as "riveting performance by" along with a liberal sprinkling of exciting adjectives. They're quite long compared to today's promos and I found them really fascinating to watch. The dumb thing is that they're included at the start of the episode they're promoting instead of being tagged on to the end of the previous episode where they belong.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
This DVD set is called, Hawaii Five-O—The Second Season. Notice they don't use the word "complete"! That's because it's one episode and, apparently, several minutes shy of the complete second season.
There's a small notation at the bottom of the box stating that some of the episodes "may be edited from their original network versions." I know the show fairly well, but not enough to notice a missing minute here or there and I haven't found anyone else who can tell me what was cut, either. (Feel free to e-mail me if you know).
The bigger issue for fans is the missing episode "Bored, She Hung Herself." I gotta give Paramount credit for making this clear on the box rather than just sitting back and waiting for the complaints. The episode in question hasn't been seen since it first ran due to litigation that arose when a woman killed herself in the manner described on the show. I know fans are upset about the show being absent on this box set, but frankly, I'm stoked to see the season on DVD, so I'm glad they didn't hold things up over that one episode.
Hawaii Five-Ois a true pop-culture icon. The words "Five-O" and "Book 'em, Danno" have become part of American language, and the theme song is one of the most identifiable in the history of TV. Hawaii Five-O—The Second Season really holds up with fascinating storylines, more gorgeous scenery, stylish camera work, and, working it all, McGarrett, who was the coolest cat in the islands long before Magnum hit town.
This haole court says Hawaii Five-0—The Second Season is like kupuna to all modern cop shows. Should be much respected.
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