This is it folks — in a little less than a week, fans of “Hawaii Five-0” will merge onto Waikīkī Beach to enjoy the long awaited start of the show’s fourth season on Thursday, Sept. 26.
Since its debut in 2010, “Hawaii Five-0” has kicked off each season with a “Sunset on the Beach” red carpet event to unveil its premiere episode days before the television premiere. The evening starts off with a red carpet press line, with the stars arriving an hour before the season opener is shown on a huge screen set up on the sand.
The actors then move down the line of reporters and photographers to take pictures and be grilled about everything from what they are wearing, what foods they like to eat, their thoughts on their character, and the popular “what did you do on your summer (hiatus) break.”
Once they get to the end of the red carpet, fans await them behind barricades armed with pictures, shirts, and body parts to sign.
For many fans it is a dream of a lifetime to see the stars of their favorite show, all dressed and buffed up nicely, walk down the red carpet, and to be able to get close enough to shake their hands or get a hug or a picture. Many fans travel from miles and continents away. I know of fans coming from Germany, Austria, England, France, Australia, Japan, and of course, from all over the continental United States. I have been lucky enough to meet and spend time with them on a “Hawaii Five-0” themed lūʻau and island tour, and at fan Tweetups centered around the season premiere activities.
My first “Sunset on the Beach” was in 2011 at the start of season two. I very much enjoyed talking to Alex O’Loughlin, Grace Park, Mark Dacascos, Terry O’Quinn, Masi Oka, Lauren German, Brian Yang, Daniela Ruah, Robert Orci, and Peter Lenkov on the red carpet. As the “new kid,” I felt really awkward and tentative, but standing next to Star-Advertiser reporter Mike Gordon and Features Editor Christie Wilson, I got the hang of how a press line works and had an amazing experience.
My second red carpet event, for the season three premiere in 2012, was a smoother experience. I had the hang of working the red carpet and felt very comfortable. This red carpet event was a little more laid back, as only a few actors and the two executive producers walked the press line. I spoke to Robert Orci, Peter Lenkov, Daniel Dae Kim, Michelle Borth, and Alex O’Loughlin.
I asked a couple of die-hard “Hawaii Five-0” fans about their own experiences attending “Sunset on the Beach.”
“Sunset on the Beach 2011 was great because I got to meet a lot of my twitter friends that traveled to Hawaii from all over the world,” said Lisa Woo, who with Keith Sato runs the fan site “H50hana” and has attended the last two season premiere red carpet events.
“Lauren German and Mark Dacascos will always stand out to me that year for their genuine gratitude and kindness they showed the fans,” she said. “I’m so happy Mark will be back this year for the red carpet.
“It was so much fun to get photos, autographs, and to chat a little bit with (the stars). … It was overall a fantastic experience to share with good friends, not just for the red carpet and premiere, but the entire day.”
Jen Leines came from Kauaʻi for the premiere in 2011, which was screened in Waikiki nine days before the rest of the world got to see it.
“It was so fun … I’m not a crowd person, but it was still an experience that I can say that I was at a season premiere of ‘Hawaii Five-0,’” she said. “It was really special because I met all these great people, made a lot of good friends, and have all these connections, all because of a television show. ‘Hawaii Five-0’ was what we had in common before … and now it’s gone beyond that. There are some people who I consider my very good friends; we share our lives with each other and it’s more than just about liking the same show.”
And while the fans enjoy the show and seeing all of the stars, the actors are just as thankful for the fans attending and showing their support and aloha.
“‘Sunset on the Beach’ is such a special and wonderful experience,” said Dennis Chun, who plays Sgt. Duke Lukela. “Most importantly, it is a chance to personally express our deep appreciation to all the wonderful fans who are the ʻohana of ‘Hawaii Five-0.’ To be able to premiere our show on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world makes the moment even more meaningful.”
I’m sure there are other fans who have had similar experiences meeting the “Five-0” stars. Yet the sheer fact that the cast and crew take time out for the fans and CBS brings the show directly to them a few nights before the rest of the world gets to see the season premiere is pretty special. I know all the fans who come to see the premiere will experience a night they will always remember. I’m looking forward to having my third experience on the red carpet and sharing my experience with all of you next week.
Just remember to be there. Aloha.
Redux Side Note:
If you are not attending “Sunset on the Beach” in Waikiki, you can catch two great season one episodes on TNT. “Kai eʻe” (“Tidal Wave”) and “E Mālama” (“To Protect”) air on Thursday.
Friday, Sept. 27, is the network premiere of “Aloha Kekahi i Kekahi” (“We Need Each Other”) at 8 p.m. in Hawaii on CBS.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.