By Wayne Harada
With ABC’s “Castle” returning to the Monday (Nov. 21) TV grid, CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” returned to the No. 2 spot in the 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on the Mainland), according to preliminary Nielsen ratings figures.
“Castle” was No. 1 with 11.9 million viewers and a 2.7/7 rating in the 18 to 49 adult demos, compared to “Five-0’s” 10.3 million and 2.8/7 demos.
While the viewership is stagant at 10 million in recent weeks, the “Five-0” numbers reflected a 15 percent tailspin from a year ago, when it had 12 million viewers.
NBC’s newsmagazine, “Rock Center With Brian Williams,” was No. 3 in the 9 p.m. hour with 5 million viewers and a 0.9/2 demos.
For CBS, “Hawaii Five-0” at least is consistent. It is the lone under-performing show on the network’s otherwise all-comedy slate preceding the Island-based procedural drama. “How I Met Your Mother,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Two and a Half Men,” and “Mike and Molly” have performed steadily — “Winning,” as Charlie Sheen might put it — week after week.
For me, “Five-0” continues to be muddled with unfocused, even complicated backstories and pesky new characters that flit in and out as mosquitoes in the jungle. Is this why the show can’t seem to find its firm footing to reestablish ratings supremacy?
You be the judge.
In “Ki’ilua” (Hawaiian for deceiver), the Monday segment minimized Steve McGarrett in the first half hour; he’s off to North Korea to help Jenna retrieve her finance, so much of the set-up is to galvanize a renegade flight (the governor’s nowhere, to approve the mission) to bring McG back home. The last half hour is the chopper flight, the gunfire, the aerial attack, Wo Fat using McG as a punching bag and electronic blasts on his torso, and, of course, the recovery.
There were some bright spots.
Good casting: Jimmy Buffett as Frank Bama, complete with dialogue that included “margarita,” who brought cheesy fun to the dilemma. Heck, since he was aboard, why not let him sing a verse of something?
Good elimination: Jenna, whose loyalty had been vague, is terminated. She was the show’s biggest deceiver but she gets her due. One less character to contend with in future episodes.
Good supporting actor: Kualoa Ranch, with its network of jungle, trees, mountains and barren stretches of dirt roads, portrayed Hawaii as well as North and South Korea. The cameras deftly avoided the defining peaks and profile of the Kualoa peaks when the gang supposedly was in Korea.
Good grief: So Chin Ho is getting married? The set-up was early in the show, complete with a kiss and a ring; the matrimony was imminent before the final credits. Remember, Danno’s ex still is out there, and he’s got a new main squeeze — not yet fully explored. So who’s next, Kono? So why not McG?
The show aims to give its characters a full spectrum of life — work vs. home — but come on, this is not a soap opera or sitcom.
Or maybe it should be. All other CBS Monday shows are comedies. A transformation? Think not, hope not, but “Five-0” is becoming less dramatic and more comedic, don’t you think?