Show and Tell Hawai'i

With that non-vote 'Five-0' airing here, it feels like kaput

January 15th, 2013

That voting experiment on Monday’s “Hawaii Five-0” (Jan. 14) episode themed “Kapu” — Hawaiian for forbidden — was a decent idea that went nowhere, particularly since the homegrown audience, us locals, could not have a say in which one of three potential finales would be chosen in what supposedly was an online election of sorts.
Its intention was to generate interest, promote audience participation, boost the profile if you will, of the stagnant “Five-0” ratings.
So: A for effort, F for execution.
If you’re gonna do a vote, especially since this episode was hyped like it was the second coming of the show, let everyone everywhere have a say. We wuz robbed (or not -- would you really have voted?)
If Hawaii was going to get snubbed, the network should have simply omitted those pleas to vote for the ending here, the network should have just proceeded that this was a routine episode. Business as usual. By not allowing the Pacific vote, this was clearly a maligning act upon the hometowners.
What the ultimate ending was — to see whodunit — was immaterial. The whole operation was like the tail wagging the dog. A better plot — the episode was supposed to determine with audience kokua who murdered a university professor from a field of three suspects — might have generated a better, sensible challenge with a more satisfying result.
The proof is in the ratings, however, and the island-based CBS procedural did all right. Not spectacularly, but not poorly. Perhaps the operative word here is ... underwhelming.
In the preliminary overnight Nieslen ratings, “Five-0” pulled in 9.37 million viewers with a 2.4 rating in the key 18 to 49 adults demographics, besting ABC’s “Castle” (9.10 million viewers, 1.9 in the demos) and NBC’s “Deception” (4.16 million viewers, 1.6 rating in the demos).
So hurl out the orchid lei — the show won its time slot (9 p.m. here, 10 p.m. Mainland). But was this victory one to be proud of?
It’s wasn’t an out-of-the-park homer, but you take your wins where you can get it.
This was the episode that featured Janel Parrish, the local girl who was Young Cosette in “Les Miserables” on stage, who currently co-stars as Mona Vanderwall- on “Pretty Little Liars,” and it’s always great to see a homegrown actor in a guest on any show. So bravo, for showcasing one of our own.
For those who pause here each week to reflect, applaud, agree, disagree or shout foul, let me declare that I don't dislike the show. With due respect to the creators, I watch religiously. I hope for a more productive play-out. I think, in the midst of a third season, that there is a dire lack of creative juices, producing a fragile and limp procedural without the kind of canny plotlines that make you stand up and applaud. Some the work has been juvenile, like "Kapu;" a few have been downright embarassing. And the ratings slump is as good as a barometer of the ranking of the show. It ain't showing the kind of progress we'd hope for.
Even diehard “Five-0” fans were dubious if the network would poll all viewers in the brief window of voting time — as demonstrated in blogs and commentary online. The underlying suspicion was that CBS would have the say what conclusion would go in which market, and we’d likely get the West Coast version, as it turned out.
Many viewers remain loyal cheerleaders, but face it, unless the weekly content and conflict and conspiracy theories jump up a notch or two, the show will begin to sink into the sunset well before it rises like the phoenix in syndication next year on TNT.
It helped that CBS unveiled four new comedies in the two hours before “Five-0” — “How I Met Your Mother,” “The Big Band Theory,” “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike and Molly” — each of which led the competish, providing a solid lead-in for “Five-0.”
It showed some faith in "Five-0." Now if only the network will light the fire and begin challenging the show to do better.
When "Kapu" played out, it felt like "Kaput" for the show -- broken, ineffective.
Maybe the vote should instead have been a “like” or “dislike.”
If you watched and have a reaction, share, please...

9 Responses to “With that non-vote 'Five-0' airing here, it feels like kaput”

  1. wop ur jaws:

    Not sure what trip you are on... Mr. Harada, being critical is not becoming. Sure you can critique the show however I feel as if you are very passive agressive in your blog. You state H 5-0 won its time slot, then you drama on about how it was underwhelming victory.
    The last time I checked, it's always a good thing for any network TV program to win its spot. Instead of fully believing in the show you come across by me at least to be secretly trying to end its run. Maybe not so secretly actually. It's like having a self fulfilled prophecy about how H 5-0 will go the way of many short runned Hawai'i themed tv shows.
    I take it for what its worth...silly fun and for us locals who live on the mainland, a chance to identify landmarks to our loved ones as we laughed at each crazy scene.

  2. fans are too defensive:

    Wayne, I agree 100% with your take. The episode was boring. They couldn't be too detailed because anyone the audience "picked" (supposedly) had to make sense. So all they laid out was motivation for all 3. The 3 endings were exactly the same, whichever one you chose. This is only making the ratings look decent because Revolution is gone and Deception is a bust on NBC. If Revolution were still here, the ratings would have matched with the fall ratings. When Revolution returns, H50 can say goodbye to higher ratings again.

    Next up, the show following the AFC championship game on Sunday, which is complete with 8 "new" Hendrix songs. All of that smells of desperation by CBS, who really wants that TNT deal to go through.

    I believe the ratings will go high like they did when they did the same thing in season one, and I also predict they will gain no new viewers for the subsequent episodes. I think they will remain around 9 million or so and then when Revolution returns, back down to 7-8 million.

    There is only one long term solution to raising the ratings here and you stated it beautifully: "unless the weekly content and conflict and conspiracy theories jump up a notch or two,the show will begin to sink into the sunset well before it rises like the phoenix in syndication."

    The following article from the NY times really says how I felt about the episode and they seem to agree with you also:

  3. izulu:

    Disappointing episode, anticlimactic ending. The idea of voting for the ending was an interesting way to capture more viewer interest, and to that end it seems to have succeeded. Unfortunately, I don't think the episode itself was strong enough to convince new or undecided viewers to keep coming back.

    A two-part story might work better, allowing ALL viewers to watch an entire part I before voting on the ending for part II. That way, loyal Hawaii viewers wouldn't have been "dissed" the way they were last night. I wonder how many votes were actually cast for each of the different endings?

    As far as the episode itself is concerned, it was choppy and had too much going on during one 40-minute show: the murdered professor, plus introduction of Scott Caan's nephew, plus the return of the convict. The second two stories seem to be setting up future episodes, but it would be nice to sometimes get ONE solid, fully-developed story without tangents taking up so much valuable airtime.

    Then there were scenes with glaring “holes” (not believable). For example, your nephew comes to town, and so of course you take him to work with you and involve him in solving a murder. Then there is the hardened criminal/convict who turns into an introspective softie that Grace Park will “pull strings” for. Uh, a rookie with less than three years on the force has the clout to move prisoners around at will?

    On the positive side, I enjoyed Kamekona’s bit part, and appreciated DDK's Hawaiian dialogue. I was also delighted that Michelle Borth was, for once, NOT in an episode at all, cluttering up the main team.

  4. Kazu:

    Haven't watched Hawaii 5-O since it started cause at 9:00 i'm already in bed.
    I watch the original reruns at 7:00 on ch 11 with the original cast. More better.

  5. twilight:

    To the first commenter, everyone went into this 3 years ago excited about this show. We were in the midst of a bad recession; remember falling tourism then that is just now starting to turn around? It was going to bring money, etc., to the islands, as well as pride. It has to earn its place on the TV schedule, though, and it just isn't doing that. You can't blame the people with constructive criticism, especially Monday night's show. Terrible plot and writing. Kaput is right!

    Also, winning the timeslot is good for a network's publicity, but money is all it's about. There have been shows in the past that have consistently won their timeslot that got cancelled. H50 has to make money, now or in the future, for CBS to keep it on the air. The money part is largely out of our view, but we know this is a very expensive show. Remember Criminal Minds fired two actresses to save money, and I can't imagine that show is anywhere near as expensive to make at H50. C.M. has better ratings, too. All H50's guest stars, some expensive, have to be paid, housed, fed, and flown.

    I'm still wondering if maybe the network people are mulling a permanent move to Friday.

  6. fans are too defensive:

    Izulu; I saw a chart somewhere yesterday and supposedly about 7,000 fans voted across the country. Seems like a low number but then again, they had like 10 minutes to vote. (If the vote really was counted or not).

    Twilight; Friday is usually where the networks put shows they don't expect high ratings from and are close to cancellation. I am thinking they are going to watch closely the spring ratings and if after all the gimmicks it still ends on the low side, they are thinking of placing it there for next year. It is quite obvious that CBS is worried about the ratings for the TNT deal and are pulling out all the stops.

  7. fans are too defensive:

    Here are the twitter voting stats. They say 7,500 on the east coast and 1,000 on the west coast. They also say that the vote count didn't match at all with the west coast ending used. They say maybe the voting would explain the discrepancy. Hmmmm.
    It also says:So in the end, the episode garnered average-ish Nielsen ratings and above average Social TV ratings. Now the unanswered question becomes to what degree did this stunt maintain ratings? Would they have been materially lower had it not been for the buzz leading up to (and during) this episode?

  8. theDman:

    I thought the episode was Ok. I am unclear about Sang Min's character. I don't really care for him, but that dislike is rooted in trying to figure out what is his purpose? Comedy? Drama? Filler?

    The episode still followed their formula, even with the voting gimmick. As far as that gimmick goes, the numbers do not look real good. The involvement of the fans did not play out the way the network wanted. Still, they held their own in terms of viewer numbers so it did not HURT them.

    Gimmicks don't replace good writing though...and (whew!) neither does a move to Friday night.

  9. fans are too defensive:

    D-man, I agree about Sang Min. I actually like the character but like everything else on 5-0; they have no long term plan for that character. They find out people like him, so they stick him in. Most businesses have a "mission statement."; a long term goal. Then they have short term goals to reach the long term one. My feeling is H50 just floats with the wind. Peter listens to twitter fans and tries to match what they want. Problem is, twitter fans are avid fans anyway and they will like anything. He has to start looking at the bigger picture; which is apparently most people don't watch H50. IMO it is time for him to come up with a detailed plan and follow it and stop trying to match the fans he already has and their every desire.

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