Show and Tell Hawai'i

Showdown time for 'Five-0,' as November sweeps begins

October 24th, 2010

It’s showdown time for “Hawaii Five-0,” now fully vested for the full 22-show season on CBS and heading into Nielsen’s November sweeps, which starts this week (Oct. 28) and continues to Nov. 24.
Launched and bandied as the No. 1 fall TV series, the filmed-in-Hawaii reboot tripped up in the fifth episode last Monday, becoming the second banana in its Monday night time slot — behind ABC’s “Castle.” So there’s a lot of work to be done, to raise the viewership and ramp up enthusiasm to season-opener levels.
How? Some thoughts:
* Tighter scripts, with attention paid to interaction of characters. The banter between Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan), is getting weary, even tad boring. McGarrett has yet to prove he has leadership finesse; and is that answer-back Danno attitude possibly a case of insubordination? And “Book ‘em Danno” is infrequently uttered — what twice or thrice, since the series was launched — and not like the original Jack Lord-James McArthur original, where the utterance was expected at least one during an episode. Further, Caan is spinning circles around O’Loughlin, with his spitfire wit and goofy charm; O’Loughlin’s sex appeal (remember, he was in bed and shirtless in last week’s episode), didn’t register high in the ratings meter, so maybe he should keep his skin — and tattoos — covered. But remember, O’Loughlin is top banana, drawing a salary of $100,000 per week, compared to Caan’s $80,000, so some paycheck adjustment just might be in the making.
* Better focus on the ensemble. Clearly, there’s the side story of Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim), the tainted cop, who recommended his sexy cousin Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) to complete the four wheels in the “Five-0” machine, but both have yet to strut their stuff. OK, Park has brought grace and dignity to the bikini, but does she have to be skimpily dressed so frequently? And are “Lost” fans losing interest in “Five-0,” because of the lack of a story spin for Kim? Are “Battlestar Galactica” boosters of Park looking elsewhere in the TV universe? Maybe their visibility quotient parallels their payroll ranking.
* A less frenetic pace. The show is perpetual motion, with chases (in cars, on foot, on boats) and trigger-happy shooters (handguns and machine guns), augmented by rock/hip-hop sounds. Can’t some of the crime be combated by the mind, instead of by mighty weapons? And when will the Hawaiian sounds — there are some upbeat local chants and popular, hip tunes, you know? — going to be part of the aural wallop? Is the tempo too fierce and fast for the calm and lethargic nature of the Islands? The show still mirrors the pace of “CSI: Miami,” with flamingos replacing palms and high-rises subbing for the Koolaus.
* More gorgeous Island ’scapes. Show us more scenics — like the chopper aerial shots, of the emerald seas; like the waterfalls and rainforest-like terrain of the undisturbed Molokai. Kaneohe Bay, Maunalua Bay, Hanauma Bay, the Pali, the sandy stretches of Lanikai and Ala Moana beach parks. The eye candy brings relief to that busy, dizzy pace.
* Cultural sensitivity and awareness, to reflect Honolulu. As previously mentioned in this blog, boosting cultural elements to make “Hawaii Five-0” reflect the Island lifestyle, albeit updated to contemporary times, would enrich the show tremendously. A luau; a sashaying hula or pulsating Samoan fire knife dance; a bon dance (OK, it’s out of season snow, but can easily be replicated with young and old in kimono, around which crime can play). Lunchtime at Bishop Street or Ala Moana Center. And schools; geez, cops are called to schools in real life, why not in fictionalized Hawaii?

It’s no surprise that the network — which had ordered an initial 13-show season — rewarded “Five-0” with what the industry calls “the back nine,” the indicator that it has faith in its product and is fully committed to its stars.
With about half of the already-filmed inventory now airing, and the production schedule approaching the half-way point, it’s important to get the characters established, and their markers in place.
We’re going to finally meet Danno’s wife Rachel, played by Australian
Claire Van Der Boom (from “The Pacific”), so there will more familial issues concerning their daughter Grace. Till now, all Danno’s done is to rant about her and her ways, between his gripes with McGarrett. Is she all that he’s made up to be? Will she and he lock horns?
We’re still wondering the relevance of introducing Mary Ann McGarrett, sister of the detective, played by Taryn Manning — kind of a needless distraction. Kelly Hu will get her launch shortly, as an aide to the governor; maybe she should be an evil nemesis to McGarrett, the way she haunted the folks on both "NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles." More juice for the viewing party.

Meanwhile, Chin Ho still is awaiting a key story line; some resolution to his tarnished cop reputation. Kono’s b.f., a white dude, gets introduced this week, and he’s going to be a thorn, too, if his presence continues.
If all this is overwhelming and you need to sort it all out, you can at least get a glimpse of the first episode of “Five-0,” themed “Ohana,” which is set to be retelevised by CBS at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 (an hour later on the Mainland).
About the November sweeps:
Sweeps time generally means the network tries its best to haul out its best shows and specials to boost its ratings during prime time; bigger ratings mean higher ad rates (and revenues). While this ranking competition runs a month, those with Nielsen diaries — weeklong books that reflect what shows are watched, and hence, rated — will post their habits only for one week of the month.

“Ko‘olauloa,” this week’s episode, again features Masi Oka as Max Bergman, the bizarre piano-playing forensics expert. Surf’s up, in a show involving the murder of a honcho of a surfing company, drawing Kono back into action (the CEO was her surf mentor) and exploring the North Shore culture. Maybe the show can create a ratings tsunami with footage of Sunset Beach waves. Well, one can only hope.

9 Responses to “Showdown time for 'Five-0,' as November sweeps begins”

  1. theDman:

    In short, what the show needs, is better writing. (give me a call guys, I can help you!)

    But like you say Wayne, the ratings will sort that out. There is not much focus or direction right now, and that is going to hurt if they don't take care of that in...big-time audience drop-off.

    Sex and guns will only take the show so far, the producers should know that, and in fact, the slowdown in the ratings are proof!



  3. Tabitha:

    I am kind of disappionted in ths show. CBS did so much hype that I thought it would be better. The acting is not that good. Daniel K does not have enough of a part and Grace Park is kind of weak. Scott Caan is awesome and he makes the show. Alex O whom I really watched for is not that good. I cannot put my finger on it yet but there is something missing. All the sex and loud gun fire will not hide it. I am holding my breath that it makes it through this season. Otherwise, everyone come back to California and try another cop show. God knows, there are plenty of them.

  4. TWD:

    I agree with Hamster D. (never thought I'd be typing those particular words.) And I must add that most fans of the show love the banter between McG and Danno. Also, speaking for the ladies, although McGarrett's bed scene might not have resulted in higher ratings, it did result in many, many happy women.

  5. Kathy:

    While I love Alex O'Loughlin and enjoy Hawaii Five-O, I wish they'd brought Moonlight back instead. It was a better show with better writing.

  6. theDman:

    The ratings for this week's episode show a drop into the 9 million viewer mark in the second half hour...translation -> they are starting to drop below the required threshold. If they were low-cost production, that number would still be good, but HI 5-0 is not low-cost, it is a very expensive show to produce. They need to hold their numbers, and they are clearly not going to be able to do that.

    Despite the order of a full 22 episodes, the network execs have to be concerned about the continuous loss of viewers.

    In five weeks, the viewership could actually break and fall below 8 million.

    That will prompt a reconsideration of the remaining episodes.

  7. NoName:

    I love the show. I wasn't alive when the original Hawaii Five-O aired so I only know the new show. But it needs something to give it the boost. I feel that people like it but they just expect more from it. If you are going to reboot a show then you have to make it better than the original or it just becomes a failed attempt of bringing back the past. Scott Caan is my favorite but he needs more of a part then just bickering with Alex O'Loughlin and complaining about his ex. Daniel Dae Kim is more of this background person. He deserves a bigger part in the show. He needs to take charge of a few episodes or something. I do love the show but it needs that extra step to reach a higher level of success or it will go down hard.

  8. cooks source:

    In short, what the show needs, is better writing. (give me a call guys, I can help you!)

    But like you say Wayne, the ratings will sort that out. There is not much focus or direction right now, and that is going to hurt if they don't take care of that in...big-time audience drop-off.

    Sex and guns will only take the show so far, the producers should know that, and in fact, the slowdown in the ratings are proof!

  9. T. Jamieson:

    Well, I like some of the stories that has showed thus far on the show. Ok, two of them. I mean, come on a little girl is snatch from the observing eyes of a police woman right there and she doesn't get the license plates? Holes my friend, holes.

    The banter between McGarrett and Danno reminds me of my last marriage and why I got a divorce. McGarrett character is infamous for going that extra mile to get something done, viewers fell in love with The Shield just for that reason. Why have his subordinate argue with his tactics.

    Let Daniel Dae Kim loose. Give him a whole episode, he is the sexiest thing on show thus far with a normal looking body. It wouldn't hurt either to include more real woman in series. You know, have some meat on their bones. Come on...we Polynesians are a big people, not just the men but the busty women too. Oh BTW, get rid of the George Michael beards. You can see Danno's gray and McGarrett looks like he is a George Michael wanna-be. Can you say Passe.

    Yes, Hawaii Five O is the best thing happening to the Islands let's keep it that way.

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