After four months of waiting in anticipation for new episodes of “Hawaii Five-0,” fans are more than ready to see the series return to television Friday.
This year their desire for their favorite show to return to its regular Friday night slot is even stronger as CBS has only aired two episodes from the eighth season in the last two months. So when the season eight DVD went on sale Sept. 4, there was a collective sigh of relief heard around the world.
Yes, around the world — because contrary to all the “Five-0” haters out there — this show has millions of followers from all corners of the globe. This is probably why it is entering its ninth season and will celebrate its 200th episode in November. On Sept. 16, the cast and crew of “Five-0” celebrated the start of the new season at the Sunset on the Beach event with the new “Magnum P.I.” cast, along with thousands of fans on Waikiki Beach. The series also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the “Hawaii Five-0” franchise being on television; the original debuted in September 1968.
Every year, just a couple of weeks before the premiere of its new season, “Hawaii Five-0” releases the DVD collection from the season before. This year’s collection includes all 25 episodes from season eight, deleted and extended scenes from several episodes, a gag reel and several other special features all produced by David Naylor.
Naylor, a freelance producer and director, has produced the special features for the DVD collections since the start of “Hawaii Five-0.” In May, he won a Telly Award for his special feature “The Chun Family Legacy,” which was included in the season seven DVD collection. Naylor obviously has great aloha for the show and that definitely comes through in his features.
This year’s collection is no different.
Included within the six-disc set is “Shorelines: Season 8” which is an overview of special stunts, guests and moments from the season that the show highlights for the viewers. It was neat to watch how they re-created the “event digital effects sequence” in the season opener “ʻAʻole e ʻōlelo mai ana ke ahi ua ana ia” (“Fire Will Never Say that It Has Had Enough”). The show basically set Oahu on fire and lifted a cabin out of the fire via a helicopter flown by McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin). The short also explained how they re-created an air race in “He Kaha Luʻu Ke Ala, Mai Hoʻokolo Aku” (“The trail leads to a diving place; do not follow after”), which have been never seen or done in Hawaii.
Besides the production staff and writers discussing the different CGI effects and stunts the actors have to go through, they also discussed the thought process behind different plots and character arcs. Fans loved the Danny-centric episode “I ka wā mamua, I ka wā mahope” (“The Future Is in the Past”) where Danny (Scott Caan) is shot and he imagines all the moments he would miss if he died. For this episode, the make-up effects were highlighted — a fake cast of Caan’s chest that could be sculpted, and the life casts of both his and O’Loughlin’s faces so Danny and McGarrett could be aged into their 80s.
Another highlight was how co-executive producer and writer Rob Hanning honored our veterans in the Christmas episode, “ ’Oni kalalea ke kū a ka lā’au loa” (“A Tall Tree Stands Above the Others”). In the episode, five real-life military veterans, played veterans who help McGarrett and Five-0 catch two armed robbers dressed as Santa. It was also fascinating to hear writer Sean O’Reilly and executive producer Peter Lenkov discuss Chi McBride’s acting when his character Lou Grover has to convince an armed man not to kill himself in “O ka mea ua hala, ua hala ia” (“What Is Gone Is Gone”). And writer Rachael Paradis gave great kudos to Dennis Chun’s performance as Sgt. Duke Lukela in “Kōpī wale no i ka iʻa a ʻeu no ka ilo” (“Though the fish is well salted, the maggots crawl”). In the episode, Lukela has to step outside his normal role as the steadfast sergeant and basically break the law to save his kidnapped granddaughter, Akela.
Another short that was really well done was “Meet the Rookies,” which focused on the newest cast members, Meaghan Rath, who plays Tani Rey, and Beulah Koale, who plays Junior Reigns. They also focused on Eddie the dog — who is not technically part of the regular cast but seems to have been adopted as such. Hanning said it best, that “not only have these characters invigorated the writers, but they invigorated the cast.”
The short showed how well both Rath and Koale have quickly become part of the “Five-0” ohana. They certainly have brought new life to the veteran show. It’s hard for new actors to join a cast after seven seasons on the air, but it seems as if both actors were not only welcomed by the cast and crew, but are equally as talented and ambitious. The two have great chemistry together, as well as with the rest of the cast. Producer Matt Wheeler had it right when he said their “fresh energy and fresh enthusiasm” has lifted the cast — as well as the level of writing and the energy of the episodes. Rath is on fire as a strong female role model and can obviously hold her own to play Tani. And Koale has great physicality and emotion to play a former Navy SEAL.
The last part of the short focused on how Eddie the dog fit in with the cast. Everyone — cast, crew and fans alike — love Eddie. It was interesting to hear that they were first going to have a female dog play the part, and found Eddie instead. Eddie seems to have a big personality and is often excited to be around Rath, and O’Loughlin too, according to the series star. Needless to say, the cast seems to be having a ball working with Eddie, and fans have enjoyed the humor and sweetness Eddie brings out in the characters.
The best short of the collection, however, has to be “Directing With Alex O’Loughlin” on disc five. The short explores the episode, “E hoʻokō kuleana” (“To do one’s duty”), which was O’Loughlin’s directorial debut. The episode was really well-done, and focused on a storyline about who shot Danny, and showed the camaraderie between Tani and Junior as they walked a beat as uniformed HPD officers.
O’Loughlin explained how much he prepared for his debut, even drawing out the scenes so he would know where he wanted the cameras to get the scenes to look the way he wanted. He also didn’t want to let his “mate” Scott Caan down as he directed him. The feature gives really great insight into how a director thinks, and was even more interesting as O’Loughlin directed actors and characters he knows fairly intimately. The episode itself was one of the best of the season, and that most likely has to do with O’Loughlin’s directing.
Overall the season eight DVD is a great one to add to your “Five-0” collection. Beyond the gag reel, which is too short but oh, so funny, and the animated “cargument,” also too short but very cool — all the episodes from the season are there as well. Still, it is the DVD’s special features that add excellent insight into your favorite characters and storylines. Not only is it interesting to see all the behind-the-scenes details, but it’s fun and entertaining to watch.