POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 7, 2010
It's a small mystery every week for fans of "Hawaii Five-0" that can't be solved by watching the show. It takes investigative work on your own time.
Each episode has a title that never appears on screen. They're found in most print and online TV listings and are often mentioned in social media outlets that discuss "Five-0."
Except they're not in English. They're in Hawaiian.
"Ohana." "Malama ka Aina." "Lanakila." "Nalowale." "Ko'olauloa." "Ho'apono."
They're hardly news in Hawaii, but for the millions of mainland fans, the titles are a novelty created by the folks behind "Five-0." Peter Lenkov, one of the show's three executive producers, says he wanted to give the show an unmistakable flavor.
"I guess thematically, it was to give each episode a Hawaiian identity, to make it unique and make it feel like these are stories that could only be told in Hawaii," he said in an interview last week. "I think it adds to the value of the show."
The idea was inspired by another show. From 1998 to 2001, when Lenkov worked on "La Femme Nikita," the TV show created buzz by matching the number of words in each episode's title with the season number — one-word titles for the first season, two-word titles for the second, etc.
In the new "Five-0," the plot suggests a theme and a word or two translated into Hawaiian by one of the consultants from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the Bishop Museum or the community.
The original "Five-0" episodes had titles, all in English, Lenkov said. Leaving them off episodes in the rebooted series was a style choice to further distinguish the show.
But knowing what the titles mean is at the heart of the treasure hunt Lenkov created.
Most of the current audience does not speak Hawaiian, so the words on the TV guides are a mystery. Interested fans must hunt down the translations, which can be found on CBS websites, Lenkov said.
His hope, though, is that fans won't stop there.
"I was looking at it as being an interactive experience for viewers," he said. "A lot of people are very curious about what the titles mean. I hope they are out onto the Internet and learning about Hawaiian culture."
IT LASTED ONLY a few seconds, but last week's "Five-0" paid tribute to the late James MacArthur, who died just days before the episode aired.
Superimposed over a photo of a very young MacArthur were the words: "In Memorium James MacArthur 1937-2010 The original 'Danno.'"
BETHANY HAMILTON'S amazing story — from shark bite victim to international inspiration — is finally headed for theaters. "Soul Surfer," the biopic featuring waifish blonde AnnaSophia Robb as the Kauai surfer, will be released nationwide April 15. It's being distributed through a deal between FilmDistrict and TriStar Picture.
Directed by Sean McNamara, the film was shot last February on Oahu's North Shore and Kauai. It stars Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as Hamilton's parents.
Hamilton, now 20, was 13 when a shark rose out of the water at Haena and bit off her left arm in 2003. Not only did she survive, she became a motivational speaker and returned to competitive professional surfing.
"Soul Surfer" is being described as the perfect family film for spring break, and the Hamiltons said in a statement that they are honored to be part of it.
But not all of it was easy to witness. It is, after all, a story triggered by a shark attack. On the day the attack was filmed, it was so painfully real for Hamilton's father, Tom, that he had to walk off the set.
AND that's a wrap.
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. E-mail him at email@example.com.