And so, for the second time, Hawaii Five-O has reached the end of its run. The first time happened on April 5th, 1980 when the final episode aired. Now the series ends its run of DVD releases as Paramount now issues the 12th and final season of the landmark series. There will be a third ending, let’s hope not for a long time when the revival series closes its doors in the future. For now fans can be content that they can finally complete their collection of the original series.
Have you ever walked down the street and heard a chorus of “Five Oh” making the rounds? In street lexicon, that means the police. It’s a warning to the drug dealers and any other illegal activities that the police are on the way. That’s just one of the ways that Hawaii Five-0 has invaded our pop culture. Who hasn’t heard the phrase, “Book him, Danno”? It’s no surprise, because until Law & Order, Hawaii Five-0 was the longest running crime drama on television. It started in 1968 and didn’t end until 1980 when the production staff and facilities were immediately retooled to produce Magnum P.I., which was an unofficial spin-off of Hawaii Five-0. While he never actually appeared on Magnum, Five-0’s McGarrett was often referred to by characters on the series. The series continued for a few years in syndication where the episodes were all mixed up. These DVDs allow the first chance since their original broadcast for these episodes to air complete and in the correct order. While continuity wasn’t huge, as there were few actual story arcs beyond the episodes, there were minor changes that made the show look strange in syndication. The final season was aired under the title “McGarrett”.
Working in Hawaii on one of television’s hottest shows in the 1970’s was too good a job for most of the cast and crew of Hawaii Five-0. This meant that there was very little cast turnover for the series in general, and none going into the fourth year. Jack Lord saw his star rise considerably, and while he began to see some serious pay hikes, even he wasn’t about to kill the golden goose. With this kind of consistency, fans were never disappointed or turned off by drastic changes in the cast or formula. With this cop show, it was all about tropical locations and formula.
The cops of Hawaii Five-0 were not city cops, but rather Hawaii’s version of the State Police. Leader McGarrett (Lord) answered directly to the Governor. The team included Danny “Danno” Williams (MacArthur) who was McGarrett’s right hand. Danno was great for kicking in doors or infiltrating a mob family. Detective Chin Ho-Kelly (Kam Fong) provided the local cop element to the team. In the fifth season Al Harrington joined the cast as Ben Kokua, in essence replacing Zulu’s character, who left after four seasons. This was in reality a straightforward typical cop drama. The Hawaiian locations and scenery added the unique style that kept the show fresh, even though they were recycling the same stories that other cop shows had already done. Perhaps it is the Morton Stevens theme that is most memorable from the show. The opening had that great cresting wave along with some drumbeats. Finally those familiar notes overtook the screen, and there was no mistaking what you were about to see. There was plenty of action, car chases, and even boat chases to keep the adrenalin pumping full time.
There are some other notable episodes in the collection that includes A Lion In The Streets. It’s the two-part episode that begins the final season. A local union clashes with island nationalists and the streets of Hawaii become explosive for the team. In Good Help Is Hard To Find, we run into the killer’s of Kimo’s family as they try to frame and ruin the reputation of the team. It’s an emotional and explosive episode. These are just two of the show’s final episodes and they can all be found here, all 19 episodes on 5 discs.
Each episode of Hawaii Five-0 is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. There’s not a lot to love in this transfer. The picture is almost always grainy. There are too many overt instances of compression artifact. In general this was not a carefully prepared transfer. I’m sure Paramount expects the fans to take it as it is. Colors are fair, but there is a subdued overall tone to the entire presentation. Black levels suffer the most and are quite poor.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track delivers exactly what you are looking for and nothing more. The dialog is clear, and that’s all you’re going to get out of this minimalist presentation. If you’re looking for the nostalgia of watching a ten year old television show, Paramount decided to make the experience authentic by delivering a ten year old sound.
Short Episodic Promos.
Music Video: (2:51) Rap song Crime Wave by Truckmasters.
The highlight of the final series has to be the two-part series finale when McGarrett finally has his showdown with his nemesis, Wo Fat. Steve is captured by the crime lord and must make his escape. While it’s not the most conclusive of finales, the show does give the audience some measure of closure… until the final second with Wo Fat in his cell. The door is left open just a little bit. In the mean time this “crime wave drops“.