In going through my TV news briefs for the day, I went through some of the entertaining (yes sarcastic) sound bites spouted by CBS President Les Moonves at today’s quarterly earnings call. Most of it was boasting about all the money they were making now (oh yeah, warm fuzzies) and irrelevantly Two and a Half Men made the conversation (I’m over you Charlie Sheen!). What caught my eye though was this comment as captured by Deadline.com.
“Moonves says that Hawaii Five-0 is destined to become “a billion dollar franchise for us” following an initial syndication deal that prices the show at $5 million an episode.”
Wow. I knew that international syndication played a role in the success of a show more than some may think, but $5 million? For a freshman show? Times have indeed changed. Gone are the years of a high budget show having to run for a few years before turning a profit. Of course I guess this doesn’t shock me, since lightweight CSI Miami has been a huge international draw for a while now. Foreigners love procedurals in exotic locales and tend to ignore the fact that the lead actor is a no talent…I’ll stop there. I might offend those that don’t watch Supernatural.
I’ve watched every episode of Hawaii Five-0 since it premiered. Granted I wouldn’t say I’ve carefully watched it. As with any CBS procedural (aka their entire lineup save The Big Bang Theory) I watch while blogging and doing the laundry. I do like the chemistry of the cast. They did build a very strong cast there, even if Scott Caan often outshines Alex O’Loughlin. It’s actually the cast that’s kept me going with this show. That and the theme song. It’s a brilliant homage to the original, even though it’s much faster and shorter. Still, the best theme song in the history of TV.
My issue with Hawaii Five-0, and one I would hope they would improve on, is that the plots are cliche and predictable and often the sentimental and emotional moments are forced with the impact of a sledgehammer. I had hopes that maybe sagging ratings and a waning popularity might inspire the new creative talent that takes over when Executive Producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman bail for their next Hollywood cliche to go more in the direction of an NCIS. There is that kind of potential. Right now, it’s CSI Miami with better acting. Oh, and a better locale. Hawaii rules. (Yes, this is coming from a huge Magnum PI fan).
Sadly, Hawaii Five-0 is still trying to find its footing in the plotting department and ends up being very inconsistent from week to week. I’m still trying to figure out why that episode was even done where Steve McGarrett broke his arm (sorry, I suck with Hawaiian episode titles). What was that hot mess? I’ve seen better plotting on Teletubbies. Did Alex O’Loughlin actually break his arm in real life? If so, wasn’t there about 800 better ways to show that? When I remember nothing of the episode except that contrived mess on the side of the mountain, rain supposedly looming in a sun filled sky (thus never actually coming), it all being nothing more than a chance to show Scott Caan scale a mountain like a granny, all I could think was the episode could have been saved if McGarrett cut his arm off.
I’m being harsh though. There have been some good episodes. That’s the issue though. They’re scattered in between many forgettable ones. Any episode that gives the spotlight to Scott Caan and Danny’s problems with his family has resulted in a goldmine. Wo Fat as a menacing villan, that could be better. I really like Daniel Dae Kim’s character, but the whole checkered past bit of his is wearing thin. I really hope in season two that’s well put behind him and he gets to kick some ass. Also, give Grace Park a bit more to do than wear skimpy bikinis. There’s tons of untapped potential there for she really does hold up with the guys. Keep Alex O’Loughlin where he is, but do more scenes with him and Scott Caan griping at each other and using their creative methods of interrogation (I loved the shark cage!) Heck, even the Camaro is growing on me, but I still think it should have been a Mustang (yes, I’ll always be a Mustang girl).
I guess my point in all this is I’ve been hoping all season long that things would gradually improve and I haven’t seen it yet. Another freshman show that I stuck with the entire run, Detroit 1-8-7, gradually grew light years better and became an entertaining treat every week. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to capture viewers and it likely won’t be back. Of course Detroit 1-8-7 didn’t get the high profile buzz that Hawaii Five-0 did and so far that buzz has made the difference between the two. For the TV viewer’s sake and not the investors, here’s hoping that CBS will try to do more in building their potential billion dollar franchise by trying to improve it creatively and not take a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. One CSI Miami is enough, and even that’s too much.