By Wayne Harada
Something wicked this way comes.
And no, it’s not “Wicked,” the Broadway musical, which indeed is coming to the Islands next year. Details for that one are forthcoming; but that’s another story.
The website Deadline has reported that the current reboot of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” is doing something quite extradordinary in bringing back a character played by Ed “Lou Grant” Asner (who, of course, is the guy who in that floating house in the Disney hit “Up”) to play the same dude — smuggler August March, which he originally portrayed when Jack Lord was Steve McGarrett in 1975 — in a 2012 “Five-0” episode where Alex O’Loughlin is McG.
Huh? It’s either the most brilliant move yet, from the Hawaii-based procedural, or the dumbest. Remember, the characters are the same with new actors and one as a switcheroo, from male original to female. The recurring characters, like Wo Fat and Dr. Bergman, are played by actors from this generation, not the past. “It is thrilling to, for the first time, merge the original 'Hawaii Five-0' and our new show by having the classic, versatile and award-winning actor Ed Asner reprise his role of August March, a character Mr. Asner first played 36 years ago,” said Lenkov, the executive producer of the new “Five-0.”
But how can this unlikely merger, which according to Lenkov, will tap archival footage of a younger Asner to counterpoint the older Asner as the same character, make any sense?
“There is no better way to form a bridge between our reboot and the original series,” said Lenkov.
Huh? Al Harrington, who played Ben Kokua in the earlier “Five-0,” is a living bridge to the past, who had a bit part in season one. But everyone else from the groundbreaking show — from Lord, Zulu (Kono), Danno (James MacArthur), and Chin Ho (Kam Fong) — are deceased. Shouldn't the chapter be closed when returning to the vaults to revive a character playing along a new generation of regulars?
Medical examiner Bergman (now played by Masi Oka) is a continuing character, once played by the late Al Eben. Wo Fat is enacted by Mark Dacascos.
Perhaps logic is not an issue in creating the weekly cop drama. But folks — particularly local fans — still cherish the memory of the original while struggling with acceptance of the reboot. There’s a lot of history and fond aloha out there, so some restraint and delicacy should be observed in robbing the past to fulfill present needs.
What do you think: Good idea? Bad idea?
As some bloggers are beginning to say, maybe another Island show, airing opposite “Five-0,” might be an option to place a homegrown production on a mantel where there’s pride in what viewers elsewhere are also watching. We care a lot; elsewhere, not so much.