Archive for November, 2012

Without 'Castle,' 'Five-0' makes gains — though it still pains

November 27th, 2012
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CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” earned its best ratings so far this season, but there’s a caveat: Its primary challenger, ABC’s “Castle,” was pre-empted and replaced with a two-hour “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in the 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Mainland) slot.
According to the overnight Nielsen TV ratings, two other CBS shows — “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike and Molly” — also posted season’s best numbers this week, even though the ratings rulers were “ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” (reaching its season high, in its final performance segment) and NBC’s “The Voice” (still narrowing down its competitive field).
“Five-0” managed to garner 10.1 million viewers, ahead of NBC’s “Revolution” (8.7 million) and the low-performing ABC “Extreme Makeover” edition (5.2 million). Yep, the No. 1 ranking in the hour was long overdue, though the victory was a tad shallow, what with the absence of "Castle."
The 18-to-49 demographics leader in this time slot was “Revolution” (2.9 million), a show that will soon disappear for a spell, perhaps giving "Five-0" some leverage to rebuild and recover from the challenges of season three.
The episode, “Wahine ‘Ino Loa,” or Evil Woman,” had a spectacular opening sequence, capped by a body burnt to a crisp and hit by a car, as good as the earlier episode where a polo player literally loses his head.
Nothing like a horrific beginning to capture the viewership.
The plot, alas, was a sometimes entertaining but overall an unsatisfying medley of a therapist posing as a madame (Vanessa Marcil) aiming to outfox and play mind games with Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin). He’s onto her, however, rightfully expecting shenanigans, and her presence seems to be mostly to recall some parental issues from the past —and meddling with his head — making McG intent on proving she’s the killer of the kalua’d dude.
A subplot involving Catherine (Michele Borth) and agent Channing (Carlos Bernard) querying her about a dude named Mangosta, a figure from the Mama McG’s (Christine Lahti) past, who invades Catherine’s home — yet another lame plot attempt to create situations and build a past around newly established regulars. Intrusive without being interesting — and hopefully not another Shelburne-type arc. Doris McGarrett, alas, has much too much baggage — with still unknown issues involving Wo Fat.
This kind of new plodding, dreary details are painful, without much relevance to the here-and-now.
Sounds like McG and Mama need to put their heads and souls together, once and for all, to get all the cobwebs out of the family closet so that the procedural can proceed with fighting crimes and baddies, instead of taking detours to filter and weed out ohana secrets.
Surely, a lean-and-clean profile, with more emphasis on action than reaction to past shadows, will help the show regain, retain and maintain ratings that matter.
Thoughts?

MVT seeks 'Normal' cast, 'Wicked' aids Pali Momi fund

November 26th, 2012
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Theater notes:

'Next to Normal' auditions

Manoa Valley Theatre will hold auditions for “Next to Normal,” a Tony Award-winning musical, at 7 p.m. Monday (Nov. 26) and Tuesday (Nov. 27) at the MVT Theatre.
Brett Harwood, formerly of Army Community Theatre, steps in as guest director to replace ailing earlier-announced Glenn Cannon. Megan Mount will be musical director.
The show — which will be a Hawaii premiere — deals with a mother struggling with bipolar disorder and the effects of her illness on her husband, her son and her daughter, as well with ethics in modern psychiatry and the impact on suburban life.
A cast of four men and two women is sought. Tryouts will require singing of 16 bars of a prepared song (bring sheet music) and readings from the script, copies of which are available for perusal at the theater at 2833 E. Manoa Road during business hours. An accompanist will be provided; a capella or karaoke singing will not be allowed.
Rehearsals begin Jan. 2 at Iolani School for a run from March 7 to 31 at MVT.
Information: 988-6131. For specifics on the role requirements, visit manoavalleytheatre.com.

‘Wicked’ a fundraising hero

“Wicked,” the Tony Award-winning Broadway blockbuster still running on the Great White Way, provided a $27,100 check to benefit the Pali Momi Medical Center’s Health Care Hero event.
The musical, which opened Thanksgiving Day and runs through Jan. 12 at Blaisdell Concert Hall, partnered with the Pali Momi in the project to bring awareness and to support the patient-centered comprehensive health services provided by Pali Momi’s Women’s Center. The funds were raised in pre-opening ticket sales earmarked for the hospital program and presented by cast and producer reps following Sunday’s (Nov. 25) matinee performance.
“Wicked,” presented as the first of a three-show Broadway in Hawaii season, will be followed by “Rain,” a Beatles-music attraction May 14 through 19, and Blue Man Group June 18 to 23.
Details: www.broadwayinhawaii.com.

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It's no secret: 'Hawaii Five-0' needs to kick more butt. Really!

November 20th, 2012
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The good news: CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” viewership was up Monday (Nov. 19), ahead of NBC’s “Revolution” but still second to ABC’s “Castle.”
The bad news: The plot was a trifle of secrets untold (“Ohuna,” or secrets, was the episode’s title), then revealed, with Steve McGarrett (Alex 0’Loughlin) and the show welcoming back his sister Mary Ann (Taryn Manning), amid a storyline involving a young hacker killed before he can reveal a password to government secrets. Mama McG (Christine Lahti) was back too, involved in a tearful reunion scene with Mary Ann. A tepid distraction, if you ask me — familial ghosts in the closet shouldn’t get this kind of emphasis in a procedural in jeopardy.
More good news: Kono (Grace Park) finally comes into her own, moving from the shadows into a kick-butt moment — the kind of action the episode needed. Finally, she’s liberated — “one of the guys,” so to speak; perhaps the best secret revealed so far this year.
The bad news: Early Nielsen viewership numbers continue the 1-2-3 pattern. “Castle” had 10.5 million viewers (6.8/11 rating share), “H50” had 8.8 million (5.7/9 rating) and “Revolution” 7 million (4.3/7 rating) in the 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Mainland) slot. The figures likely will be adjusted, since the San Francisco market had a football game Monday.
In the 18 to 49 demos, NBC was No. 1 overall, though ABC had most total viewers. To the credit of “H50,” the show logged a 2.2 demo rating, up a tenth from a week ago. Maybe this growth will help energize the show and bump up future ratings.
Midway into season three, and at the end of the November ratings sweeps, it's no secret: "Hawaii Five-0" needs to kick more butt, with meatier plots that will jump-start the lull. Really!
As discussed in this space in recent weeks, “H50” needs to beef up its storylines, eliminate or minimize clutter and character background details, and adhere to and focus on crime-fighting elements. Sure, the producers bring on guest stars, but overall, the show seems to be chugging and struggling to restore the quality and the appeal of season one. Now more than ever, kinfolk of the main four characters continue to be discovered and dispatched — like George Takei playing Chin Ho Kelly’s (Daniel Dae Kim) uncle in a future show. As discussed by readers here, this year’s “H50” polish has been tarnished. The series needs a transfusion to revitalize and reinvent itself.
Reality show lead-in programming —CBS has comedies, ABC has “Dancing With the Stars” and NBC has “The Voice” — may or may not be part of the challenge. But the problem is the lame storylines.
Sure, the Island-filmed show has a broad fanship, with websites gushing about how great everything and everyone is, but the reality is that some diehard regulars are abandoning ship.

ABC cancels 'Last Resort;' so what was the bad omen?

November 16th, 2012
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It’s tough being a rookie TV show — and the Hawaii-filmed “Last Resort” is a good example.
The ABC series was canceled Friday, an action not totally surprising. The 13 episodes ordered will air in the usual time slot.
“Last Resort” collected some of the season’s best reviews, perhaps for the quirky plot about a renegade nuclear submarine crew which defies government orders to find independence and refuge at a remote island (Hawaii playing remote again).
But viewership, or lack of it, was the bottom-line issue. In its 7 p.m. (8 p.m. Mainland) Thursday slot, it faced tough competition on CBS and a reality show on Fox. Thursday’s episode was the lowest viewed since the drama was launched, though the pilot didn’t post the best figures anyway, but the glide has been consistent since the kick-off. So if you think figures don’t matter, they do — but it’s roughest on the newbie shows.
The shrinking audience for “Hawaii Five-0” on a Monday night might have been a factor in cancellation, too, were it not for the fact that the CBS remake is in season three now, so it’s saved by its junior ranking, not a freshman like “Last Resort.” If it were a freshman show, its fate might have been in jeopardy, too, but “H50” also has a TNT syndication deal sealed — for numbers are important still, but not the prevailing factor.
“Last Resort” had pedigree — its creator is the highly regarded Shawn Ryan (who partnered with Karl Gajdusek), who was best known for the taut and gritty “The Shield.” The cast is darn good, too, headed by Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, and the scripts have been tight, with both savory and suspect characters vital for the genre.
So what went wrong?
Was it the 13-episode jinx?
Was it the 1.3 demo rating (superstitious yet?) in the most recent outing, witnessed by only 5.8 million viewers before DVR figures were added? (Um, add the two digits, and they amount to 13, gulp).
Can’t blame a lead-in, or lack of one. The slot is the start of primetime viewing, with news and syndicated features preceding it.
It’s a spot the alphabet network has yet to figure out, since “Ugly Betty” completed its run. Subsequent failures include “Charlie’s Angels” and “My Generation.”
Was it bad karma for the prolific Ryan, who had hopes for a decent run, but a wild card in play with a new CBS series — a sequel to “Beverly Hills Cop” — along with a another drama about a U.S. marshal also in development at TNT — that insiders say annoyed ABC execs.
Still, you have to hand it to ABC. It had immense success with “Lost,” which ran six seasons with the Island backdrop — and no doubt wanted to keep the shows coming. A recent series, Shonda Rhimes’ “Off the Map,” also had a dismal and brief four-month run, due to bad ratings. ABC more recently filmed “The River” here, with Hawaii again putting on its remote dress, that pulled stakes after eight episodes earlier this year. This was an oddity — horror, drama, paranormal — which simply played out poorly.
When ABC gave “Last Resort” the hook, it also decided to pull the plug on Sunday’s “666 Park Avenue,” also a freshman show this year, though offering to air the committed 13 episodes.
13 again. 666. Bad omens.
Did you watch “Last Resort”? Will you miss it? Do you care?

'H50' ekes out second place as Monday struggles linger

November 13th, 2012
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“Hawaii Five-0” (CBS) managed to eke out a second place finish Monday (Nov. 12), behind time slot leader “Castle” (ABC). But upstart “Revolution” (NBC), though third, was the 18-to-49 demographics leader (2.6).
So the off-camera drama still is a major concern for the “H50” viewership.
Preliminary Nielsen figures show that “Castle” had 10.7 million viewers, trailed by “H50” with 7.7 million viewers and “Revolution” with 7.1 million.
Ratings are uncomfortably see-sawing as producers and writers grapple with the problem of scripts. Too many character backstories? Too many new regular characters? Too few plot developments encircling the main four?
Well, Monday’s episode — entitled “I Ka Wa Mamua,” meaning formerly, or in a time past — was clearly Danno-centric, tracking his New Jersey policing days that, presumably, shaped his personality to the present time.
In the process, there were glimpses of Danno (Scott Caan) interacting with daughter Grace (Teillor Gibbs), foot chases in downtown Honolulu with Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), reflections about his former partner in crimefighting Grace (Sidneyh Tamiia Poitier,), the inspiration for naming his own daughter Grace, reminiscences of the 9/11 tragedy, encounters with hoods played by Terrence Howard and real-life rapper T.I.
From the perspective of a former Advertiser reporter, it was nice to see the ol’ News Building press building, grubby with ink and puke-green hollow tile walls, again receiving screen time as a gloomy site where interrogation of suspects is held. Or in the case of Danno, the room where he is queried and beaten.
The ratings struggle — with viewership below the 10 million turnstyle — surely is a nagging issue among the show execs. The last time “H50” had numbers to cheer about, it was during the season two finale, when 11.42 million tuned in. Talk about the titular "in times past" — book ‘em, Danno.
This year, the show has been underperforming, with the first show pulling in 8.06 million, the second 7.95 million, the third 8.39 million, the fourth 8.70, the fifth 7.53 million — the lowest ever. The show posting the largest viewership, 14.20 million, was the pilot episode in September, 2010.
Monday’s “Dancing With the Stars” (ABC) was the evening’s most watched show, with “The Voice” (NBC) dropping a bit but leading among adults 18-to-49. CBS has a slate of sit-coms in the earlier primetime.
It’s somewhat of an indication that reality shows as lead-ins are better than comedies, at least for the 9 p.m. (10 p.m.) slot on Mondays.