The names of the characters may be the same and the backdrop is still Hawaii, but that’s where the similarities end between the old and new "Hawaii Five-0," the re invented CBS series that should leave audiences breathless for more.
Selected Honolulu media representatives were given a sneak preview yesterday of the "Five-0" pilot on the same day CBS screened it for the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, Calif. But don’t worry, there are no plot spoilers here. To reveal the details of what looks like a hit in the making would be a crime worthy of Wo Fat.
The pilot is a fast-paced, action-packed interpretation of the classic police drama, which ended its original run 30 years ago. The new "Five-0" stars Alex O’Loughlin in the role of Steve McGarrett, Scott Caan as Danno Williams, Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly and Grace Park as Kono.
All four actors take the roles to new places, especially Park, who looks better in a bathing suit than her predecessor, Zulu (aka former Waikiki beachboy Gilbert Kauhi). O’Loughlin may be as stoic as Jack Lord ever was, but his scowling McGarrett has six-pack abs, doesn’t wear a suit and tie and definitely thinks shaving is overrated.
And Caan steals the pilot with his wisecracker one-liners and the fact that his version of Danno has more fortitude than his predecessor. Hey, the guy actually punches McGarrett in the jaw.
Kim comes across as the most believable local, perhaps because he’s lived here ever since ABC’s "Lost" began in 2004. His Chin Ho even has local high school cred: He was a quarterback at Kahuku High School.
A number of lush Oahu vistas compete for attention, and island residents will have lots of fun trying to connect the dots between geographic reality and "Five-0" reality. The aerial views of Aina Haina, the North Shore and Kaneohe Bay are priceless, but was that a homeless encampment down there along the highway?
The wink at the original show is one the characters will never be able to reveal. At one point, when McGarrett is poking around his father’s garage, he uncovers the same black 1974 Mercury Marquis that Lord drove as McGarrett in the later years of the series. The Marquis is owned by John Nordlum, a Nanakuli resident who was Lord’s stunt double.
"Five-0" started filming episodes July 15. It will use a warehouse at the former Honolulu Advertiser building and part of the U.S. Post Office on Richards Street, as well as numerous Oahu locations.
The network will give Hawaii fans the first public look at "Five-0" when it screens the pilot Sept. 13 at Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki. The national debut will be Sept. 20 — the anniversary date of the original series when it started in 1968.