By Wayne Harada
The decluttering has begun. The less-is-more concept helped "Hawaii Five-0" with an upward movement Monday (Oct. night.
Or perhaps the shark scare, with Steve McGarrett and Danno Williams adrift in the Pacific without fuel or a cellphone, helped boost the floundering CBS procedural, which had been idling and floating so far this season.
For Monday ratings, the "Five-0" demographics were up and viewership also increased a skosh.
The good news: “Five-0” was No. 2 in the 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Mainland) time slot, up from No. 3 a week ago; “Five-0” matched the 2.2 rating in the key 8 to 49 demographics of ABC’s “Castle,” its most formidable competitor.
The bad news: In viewership numbers, “Castle” was still No. 1 with 10.562 million, compared with “Five-0’s” 9.006 million (but better than NBC’s “Revolution’s” 8.206 million).
The preliminary Nielsen ratings — which could be inflated somewhat, since CBS carried Monday Night Football in Houston, and the figures have not yet been adjusted — offers hope for improvement for the home-based series.
The streamlined story — a hijacking of a boat, a murder, a plot involving a disintegrating marriage between the wife and the murder victim — focused solely on McG and Danno, complete with frisky but overworked bickering and arguments in a time of crisis. OK, there was a volley of give-and-take between McG (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan), in a blame-and-enflame game hardly realistic (except in their relationship) where teamwork might have been tantamount.
But this was as focused and minimalist as anything seen this season. Precise, pointed, pertinent. And very rare in the annals of the "Five-0" reboot.
Further, Kono Kalakaua’s (Grace Park) relationship with cousin Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) also had revealing, isolated details; she still worried over the loss of his wife, he still was adamant that her rekindled romantic liaison with a rescuer (remember, she was in deep kim chee, also in the ocean, as season two ended) who has ties to the Yakuza, portending revisits of this sticky issue in the stories ahead.
In short, the segment spotlighted relationships without the tedium and clutter of unnecessary characters and details. This was clearly a departure from all other episodes, where story arcs and folks from the past impede the storytelling.
It was a relief that the spotlight was on character traits and behavior, with a taut script that magnified the relationship. Less is more.
Overall, NBC was No. 1 in the 18 to 49 demos, thanks to “The Voice” (4.7 adults demo, 12.577 million viewers). ABC had the most total viewers, because of “Dancing With the Stars” (2.1 adults demo, 13.331 million) and “Castle;” and CBS had ‘em laughing with its “2 Broke Girls,” “Mike and Molly” and “Partner” comedies.