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“Book ‘em, Danno.”
Genre: TV series, Cop, Drama
Country: United States
Starring: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Al Harrington
Guest stars: Herbert Lom, Buddy Ebsen, John Ritter, Vic Morrow, Marion Ross, Hume Cronyn, Donald Pleasance, Ray Danton, David Birney
Creators: Leonard Freeman
Run time: 20 hours 9 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Related reviews: Hawaii Five-O Season Five, Hawaii Five-O Season Six, Hawaii Five-O Season Seven
One of the worst things you can say about a TV show or movie from the 70s or 60s or even the 1930s and 40s is that it feels dated. That it doesn’t stand up over time. That what was once considered classic is stuck, mired, in it’s own era, completely lacking the ability to maintain it’s relevance in today’s world. And then, every now and again, being “dated” can actually be a good thing. Such is the case with Hawaii Five-O, a show which may be the classic show that holds up the least over time. And I love that about it! It is so cheesy and mired in the seventies that it becomes hilarious to watch. The Fourth Season of Hawaii Five-O comes out tomorrow, June 10th, from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett must be the most hilariously dated screen character available on DVD right now. His hair is glorious, in a 1970s pre-Flock-Of-Seagulls sort of way. This is the most dated hair on TV, next to MacGyver’s mullet. His delivery is painfully cheesy, the one-liners and the tough guy talk are a cross between Clint Eastwood and Don Johnson, which just doesn’t work. Well, any more, I guess. The tough-guy showdowns between McGarrett and the big evil bosses (especially the wooden yet enigmatic Wo Fat, played by Khigh Dheigh) are ludicrous but SO entertaining. It’s pretty clear to me that on CSI:
Miami, David Caruso is channeling 70s-era Jack Lord. And for some reason, people still love that show, while I think David Caruso is hilariously over-the-top. The legacy of the ludicrous cop. A funny one, I think.
Also awesomely dated is that famous theme music. One of the most familiar tunes in the world, I had never seen an episode of Hawaii Five-O, I couldn’t have identified the theme correctly in any way, but as soon as the first episode started up there it was. This one’s up there with Bonanza as probably the greatest most recognizable theme music in TV history. Another hilarious part of the show – prototyping the David Carusos that were to come – is that Steve McGarrett seems to be the only character on the show. Oh, they’re a team, McGarrett and the other guy…played by James McArthur…what was his name? Oh yeah. Danno! A guy who exists simply as a reason for Lord to utter the line “book ‘em, Danno”. I’m certain this series was intended to be extremely serious in it’s day, but it has now become so campy as to be awesome. Watch it next time you’re about to get into CSI:
Miami and look for the comparisons. Then again, many people don’t get the humour in CSI:
Miami either, so perhaps they’ll watch this and be very entertained. I know I was.