By Wayne Harada
Daniel Dae Kim, center, owns property in Hawaii; Scott Caan, left, and Alex O'Loughlin, right, don't.
The site once was home of the original Jack Lord “Five-0” filming headquarters.
And that’s good news.
That prime location had been occupied by ABC since the early and prolonged success of “Lost.” Subsequent ABC shows have not fared as well, so the studio and sound stages were vacated and became available for “Five-0” executive producer Peter Lenkov and his stable of actors, led by Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett).
Now, hopefully, some of the magic dust that blessed the prototype production will fall upon the team of actors, writers, directors, producers and techies involved in the reboot.
For “Five-0,” it’s season four — and a new night, Friday, for the viewership.
The new show has stuck to tradition, offering Hawaii fans the first peek of each season’s opener, so this year’s preview will be on Sept. 26 at a “Sunset on the Beach” launch, a night before the official season lift-off, Sept. 27.
It’s been a challenging and tough three years to get to No. 4. Prime achievement: Landing that TNT syndication deal, which finally begins in 2014. Major goal now: Rebuild the viewership, reexamine the story arcs, restore the faith that greeted the show in season one.
In media accounts welcoming back the show this year, some valid and pertinent questions have not been asked. Maybe they were, but the queries were dodged. Coverage mostly has been about welcoming ’em back.
So let me pose some. I’ve been told by knowledgeable sources that show creators view me as a foe, not a friend. For the record, I long have favored and applauded the efforts of TV and film projects that land on our shores, from the first “Five-0” produced entirely in Hawaii to everything that followed, including “Lost,” CBS’ “Magnum P.I.” and “Jake and the Fatman,” and nearly everything else that has come down the pike, from “Baywatch” to “Island Sons.”
But I have been particularly critical in this blog, offering friendly (not fiendly) observations, on how to make our local favorite more local and welcoming. In case you hadn’t noticed, season three, in particular, has been dangerous and perilous, with the quality and vision of the detective-in-paradise storytelling becoming limp and lacking.
The media cheerleaders avoid the inevitable in their coverage — the sagging ratings, the inferior scripts, the questionable story arcs, the confusing back stories — elements that have saddled “Five-0.”
While one interviewer (Billy V., on KINE and Hawaii News Now ) this week asked producer Lenkov why he doesn’t live here (the answer was it’s too expensive), most others don’t ask what inquiring minds want to know: why don’t more actors become one of us, by investing in property, spending spare time amid the populace, showing they care about and love the islands, spend their leisure time at places we do.
For the record: Billy V. is hired by CBS to emcee the season’s beachfront launch, and has been an on-camera actor, so he may be a skosh leary of asking the obvious which might be deemed offensive.
Immersion, however, enhances credibility and boosts sincerity. It’s part of the unwritten acceptance policy. Live and love where you work and the rest follows.
It’s laudable that a few actors like Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly) and his “Lost” cohort, Josh Holloway, bought property here. In recent times, most of the cast(s) live in rentals or hotels and disappear and head home (Australia, Canada, Los Angeles) during brief hiatus. There’s not a lot of bonding in our island lifestyle.
In comparison, during the original “Five-0” era, which ran from 1968 to 1980, all the major cast members — Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong and Zulu called Hawaii home, with Zulu and Fong (Kam Fong Chun was his full name) bona fide residents hurled into national stardom.
Ditto, Tom Selleck and Larry Manetti of “Magnum,” Richard Chamberlain of “Island Sons,” and so on. These are credentials of loyalty you can’t buy; you earn a reputation by your action and behavior. These actors all frequented restaurants and supermarkets we did; you’d see them at local visiting shows and occasional movies, and they were, in many instances, a part of the fabric of the community.
We know what happened when Scott Caan (Danny Williams) denounced Hawaii living this past season. So we know (despite the apology) his heart and soul aren’t here. Why hate the hand that feeds you?
With three seasons down and a fourth in production, wouldn’t you think that more of the “Five-0” crew might take the cue from the likes of Kim to settle down here and hope for four more seasons of filming? That would be the start of restoring some of the chasm that seems to exist? The way you glide from malihini to kamaaina begins with actually living here.