Hawaii 5-0 was one of CBS’s most successful shows of the 1970’s. A great deal of money had been spent creating facilities to take advantage of the Island’s unique setting. When the show had finally run its course, executives with the network were not keen to give up the production resources, so they simply created a new show to fill the same time slot and utilize the Hawaiian settings. Instead of a cop, this new show would center around Thomas Magnum (Selleck). Magnum was a former Naval Intelligence operative from …he Vietnam War. He worked for an unseen wealthy boss ala Charlie’s Angels. His intermediary was Higgins (Hillerman). The show might even be considered a spinoff of Hawaii 5-0, as there are times Magnum mentions McGarrett from the previous show. A great deal of the show’s charm was created in the relationship between the proper English gentleman of Higgins and the devil-may-care free spirit of Magnum. Detective shows of the era also featured cool cars. Rockford had his Firebird, Starsky had his stripped Tomato Torino, Crockett had his Ferrari. Magnum drove a flashy red Ferrari actually owned by his boss. Helping in the adventures was Island chopper pilot TC (Mosley) and Casablanca knockoff nightclub owner Rick (Mannetti).
The Fourth Season of Magnum begins with one of the series’ more unique episodes. In “Home From The Sea” you won’t find the normal antics and car chases that made the show famous. Instead, Magnum is adrift at sea treading water. The episode provides a wonderful opportunity for some insight into Magnum’s childhood through flashbacks. The rest of the season is pretty much more of the same from the first three years. Bad guys and friends in trouble dominate the collection of episodes.
Each episode of Magnum P.I. is presented in its original full frame broadcast ratio. These are not great transfers. The very first episode begins with mysterious blue marks on the far left of the screen. Print artifacts like these constantly show up in most episodes. Fortunately the color holds up well, and so the scenery is presented quite nicely. The colors, if not rich, are certainly faithfully reproduced. Black levels are average.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is about all that you really need here. Dialogue is fine and comes through nice and clean. The score sounds pretty much the way I remembered it on television. So without giving you a lot, it gives you what you need.
There are two notable features here:“The Great 80’s Flashback” is a TV Land style look at the history of 80’s television. It’s not really about Magnum P.I. Shows talked about include Knight Rider, Quantum Leap, Miami Vice, The A Team, and so on.
A bonus episode is provided. For some unknown reason, the third episode from Season 5: Mac’s Back is provided. Sure, it’s another unique episode with more opportunity to learn about Magnum’s past, but it’s likely to be included in the next set, so I’m not sure what value it provides here.
Shows like Magnum are pretty dated. If you were a huge fan, you’ve already decided to pick this one up. If not, you are unlikely to begin with Season Four unless you’re “bucking for a section 8”.
Special Features List
- The Great ’80s TV Flashback
- Bonus Magnum P.I. Season Five episode “Mac’s Back”