Show and Tell Hawai'i

Lucky you live Hawaii: Good advice for 'Five-0' crew

July 11th, 2013’ “Hawaii Five-0” has landed at the Hawaii  Film Studios, on the slopes of Diamond Head, where it will occupy studio space for the next season. Or longer, if the pick-up gods are in favor.

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.

18 Responses to “Lucky you live Hawaii: Good advice for 'Five-0' crew”

  1. Steve P:

    I agree with everything single line of what you have laid out. And I don't think its a good program, most of the time. Kim being the really most believable character.

  2. 988Lei:

    I have heard from several actor friends that Hawaii Five-0 doesnʻt hire local talent. Even small speaking parts are given to mainland actors flown in for an episode. Why spend the time and money when thereʻs plenty of talent here?

  3. Ed Oshiro:

    I believe Mr. O'Loughlin owns a home on the slopes of Diamond Head.

  4. migloto:

    couldn't agree with you more. the show has grown unwatchable, I don't even DVR it anymore. caan's lack of fondness for the islands certainly didn't help. kono's social life and its conflict of interest with her involvement with 5-0 are unbelievable and facetious. if they start by getting rid of mama mcg and his younger trouble-magnet sister, it would be a great start to restoring credibility to the show.

  5. Laurel B:

    Aren't there any Hawai'i resident actors or writers who know and love the islands who could bring some real local experiences to influence the development of the story lines? How about some Hawaiian characters, not caricatures? I love to see the scenes, but the stories are often not well written. Maybe Danno could be written out and Steve could grow up and act like a representative of the law with a side kick who is not an overgrown adolescent.

  6. fans are too defensive:

    Wayne, you know I agree with most of what you say. But Alex bought a home in Diamond Head the first year he was on the show and has been fixing it up. He just said all that in his Ellen Degeneres interview in May and that he built a new deck on it and showed the pic of it.

    Peter can afford a home. He just happens to have a beautiful huge ranch with horses in Malibu and it is obvious that he and his family CHOOSE to live there.

    Now here is where I play devil's advocate with you. I really think Scott Caan is right not to buy in Hawaii. And before everyone throws stones at me, these people are in the entertainment business. Living in Hawaii, unless you have made it like someone like Oprah for example, is not where you normally put down roots.

    H50 is just really the only game in town and when/if this show gets canceled, the actors have to go to LA to look for more work. Most of the Lost actors had to after 7 years on the show.

    Daniel Dae Kim had to ask Peter if he could be on the show and was fortunate enough to be accepted, but he said he was all set to go to LA to find work if he had been turned down by H50.

    H50 is trying to up its game this next season and maybe it will be successful and maybe not. It would have been canceled if it weren't for TNT.

    Then all the actors and directors and producers would have to move back to LA and sell their homes in Hawaii. Alex would have to sell his home.

    Peter is many things but he isn't an idiot. He knows that the jobs in his business aren't found in Hawaii. He just produced a movie while doing H50. He had to be in LA where everyone is to accomplish that. DDK is always away from Hawaii during hiatus promoting the show and he just did a game show premiere in LA which aired on Thursday. It was on NBC so DDK is connecting with other networks.

    Sorry but the connections in the entertainment business are in LA, not Hawaii, and if these people don't keep connected to the powers that be they will find themselves without work when H50 gets canceled.

    I think Alex is foolish to have bought a home in Hawaii because he is not rubbing shoulders with future employers and movie people and TV people that he may need when this show ends.

    You mentioned Tom Selleck. Well, now he has to be in NY for Blue Bloods, so if he still owns a home in Hawaii, it is not where he is living most of the year.

    My point is; it isn't fair to expect entertainers to set down roots in Hawaii just because they are currently doing a show there. The nature of their jobs makes that a very iffy move.

    And why shouldn't they leave the island on their breaks when their friends of many years and their families live in other states/countries?

    Having said that, I think it is totally unfair of the show's creators to view you as a foe. They have just been so pampered by the behind licking press over there that they think they are above any criticism.

    Their real foes are the press who pretend H50 is a huge hit when the facts say otherwise. They act like the show is perfect in every way and they flatten you (and the rest of us who see the show's faults) just because you speak the truth.

    Instead of taking advice they ignore anyone who gives it. However, I don't think CBS does. Hence goodbye to 3 writers and hello to 2 new ones.

    Hence, the move to Friday an hour earlier in the hopes of raising ratings. They have tried all kinds of tricks (like placing H50 after the AFC football championship game) which raised the viewership that day but, and this is very telling, it dropped back down to where it was the very next week, meaning new people saw it and didn't decide to watch it again.

    They did the "choose your own ending" trick which accomplished nothing. They bring in famous guest actors which has accomplished nothing. i could go on.

    Now at least they are finally working on the writing. And isn't that what we all have been saying needs to improve all season and before? The show creators aren't listening to you but apparently THEIR BOSSES are and agree. LOL

  7. TOMMY D:


  8. Wayne Harada:

    Mea culpa, and thanks to Fans Are Too Defensive and Ed Oshiro on updates on Alex O'Loughlin's home acquisition here. And FATD is spot-on about LAX being a crossroads for entertainment deals, like NYC is the East Coast hub of show biz.
    Still, residency where you're working demonstrates affinity with the marketplace, at least while you're employed. Yes, Daniel Dae Kim has evolved as the heart and soul and good-PR rep for Hawaii and network TV production here; he adjusted and adapted, early on, and he's made good, smart moves.
    Tom Selleck relocated to LAX after "Magnum" ran its course, but he commutes to NYC to do "Blood Brothers;" and CBS aligns his shooting sked so his scenes are done over several days, vs. a full week.
    Point is, if you love where you work, you show it in ways where you become part of the community fabric. A few do, most don't, in the case of "Hawaii Five-0."
    And if Alex is pau hana here, he'll collect a decent sum for the sale of his home. Celebrity pads are sought by those who can afford it. Ask Richard Chamberlain, whose Round Top Drive home was hot property.

  9. sarah lynn:

    Fans are Defensive is correct that Alex does live here and bought a home. I've seen him with his growing family around on several occasions. It appears his intent may be to continue living here as he seems to see himself as a local now. Fans are Defensive is also correct that the jobs are in L.A. and NY not here. Alex will have enough money to never work again if he so chooses, but if he wants future work, it probably won't be here. I'm just not offended at all that folks take a job here but consider somewhere else home. It's all good.

    I do think some of the actors and crew see the writing on the wall with this show. Without big changes, the show won't last. It's just absurd the producers blame Wayne for the implosion of the show. People have stopped watching for a number of reasons, not because of what they have read on this blog. We all know what those reasons are and they've been discussed ad nauseum on many different sites, in addition to this one. Nothing has been said here in this newspaper that hasn't been said everywhere else. Interesting note, has anyone noticed now much better the ratings are for Under the Dome? It's a summer show, but is drawing several million viewers more per week than H50, and believe me, UTD isn't such a great show either.

  10. theDman:

    This business is a game of egos, I think we all know that. fansR2D points out something that other local writers have tried to avoid: the arrival of 2 new writers was something forced upon the show by the network. For the money they have paid out to fund the show, CBS is not amused with the return on investment they have received in terms of the sinking ratings, and as we have talked about before, this is not a low-budget show.

    As far as the stars getting involved here in the islands, yeah, it really would be nice to see, but I think the attitude has changed over the years. The old H50 and Magnum were from a different era.

    Looking back on Lost, you could see that there were a few of the stars that could mix with the locals. Hey, Josh Holloway would talk to people that stopped him in the store, I saw that, DDK and Terry O'Quinn were in the same boat, and there were a few others. I think they understood that they were normal people that had jobs that put them in the limelight. I don't think they thought they were special. It was nice to see them be a part of the island culture.

    That was not the case with some of the others though. There were some that built a reputation for themselves fairly quickly and you knew it was best to avoid them. These actors thought they WERE special. Yeah, fame is not something that all people can handle. Hey! We don't need people like that living here. Better for them to take the Friday night flight back to LA and come back Monday morning...and some did.

    Alex and DDK have homes here and they have adjusted to life in Hawaii. That's good. Michelle Borth apparently has settled here too for now, and she is not afraid of local life. And then there is Scotty and Grace. Whew! I mean, if they don't like it here, there is no law that says they have to set down roots here, no law at all.

  11. fans are too defensive:

    I agree, Sarah, with all you said.

    As to UTD though, I would say that it doesn't have any competition, like Castle. In fact, I would say that the H50 fans and the Castle fans are watching it when they wouldn't be if their shows were on. So that might explain why the ratings are doing so well and the show isn't that great.

    I am really interested in what happens when H50 is up against Grimm (which is one of only two of all network shows that was growing viewers last season) and Shark Tank, which was the ratings winner in that Friday time slot last season.

  12. fans are too defensive:

    Well said, Dman.

    As far as Grace is concerned,however, I will always defend her. She has never tried to bask in the limelight and has chosen to stay away from announcing her personal business all over the H50 fandom (like some on the show have)and is uncomfortable with the whole FAME thing. But not the way others are. She doesn't think of herself as a STAR like some and is being snooty and self-important. Some of the H50 actors try to get in as many fan pics as possible. Nothing wrong with that but it isn't necessarily what she should do.

    She sees her job as just that; another job and not any more important than your job or mine. I personally find that admirable. That is why she hates going out and about in Hawaii because she said she feels uncomfortable with fans calling her Kono and thinking she IS Kono. It freaks her out. Sounds to me like she is more centered than most actors on shows.

    Also, please remember, she has a husband in Canada who apparently is highly successful in the real estate business and unlikely to give it all up to move to Hawaii for a show that sooner or later will die.

    So she has to be away from her husband for long periods of time. I assume she is flying to Canada and that he flies to Hawaii as often as they can, which might explain why she isn't see around the island very much. And really. Can you blame her for having more loyalty to her husband than to Hawaii?

    Just to make a fair comparison. While Grace has a husband Michelle Borth is single and has no ties. So is it really fair to say Michelle adjusted to Hawaiian life and Grace hasn't? Apples to oranges.

  13. Manoa Kahuna:

    Thank you all for your comments.

    The problem is that last season was not good story telling. In fact, after three seasons -- what is the story?

    If the writers can figure out why we should watch this, it could go on for at least three more seasons.

    The actors are great. The producers and writers have failed.

  14. theDman:

    Well fR2D, I don't see the Grace situation like that. Do you know her? Have you met her?

    Grace is difficult, Scotty can be times. There's lots of people like that in the biz. It's that simple. I'll bet she's not much fun to be around in Vancouver either.

  15. AniMatsuri:

    At least with Grace she hasn't made any stupid remarks on national TV. Should she leave the show to spend more time with her family, I'd still like her to be replaced by either Maggie Q(her ratings challenged show, Nikita is ending this year) or Michelle.

  16. fortheloveof:

    I keep looking for real solid ohana backed themes--ones that are thought provoking and certainly doesn't insult intelligence on the audience--no can find. Get rid of mom mcg, sister, danno and his myriad of problems--they take up time. McG needs to be the man, show leadership and conduct himself that way. danno is too mouthy--get someone else, if you need a sidekick. Sometimes hard to know who is "boss." on the show. I like Grace--she's awesome. I loved the first 5-0 and watched it religiously. This one--take it or leave it.

  17. fans are too defensive:

    I agree, Ani. Grace has not said stupid things and for the most part, stays out of the limelight. I just think actors on a TV show shouldn't feel forced to love Hawaii just because they are doing a show there. I am sure many actors either love or hate LA and NY while working there and no one worries about it. When comments are made about how you have to be a part of the Hawaiian culture or get out of town, that comes across as very arrogant to the rest of the US.

    If you want to encourage folk to visit there then you shouldn't give them the impression that folk over there are that narrow minded.

    Most of Hollywood is made up of foreigners (like Alex (Oz) and Grace (Canada)) from other countries hoping for a break in show biz. Just imagine if people in LA hated on everyone who preferred to be back home more than LA. Just unreasonable and close-minded.

    Like I said. When this show ends, they will leave to go where the next job is. They are not obligated to love where the job sends them to work.

    I personally don't know Grace but I know people who do. Like Scott in LA, Grace is at her best where she is happiest; with her friends and family back home.

    If some actor in Hawaii gets a job in NY, and he says he prefers Hawaii over NY, do you think the people in NY would hate on him for it? NY and LA are filled with people from all over the world. No one would blink. And trust me when I say many of them love NY and LA. Their feelings? Everyone has a right to what they prefer as long as they do their jobs.

    I really don't want to offend anyone with my comments because honestly, I really like all of you on this blog. But I hope you will take my comments for what they are, just my view. And if there is one thing I have appreciated about Wayne and his blog, we are free to say what we feel.


  18. fans are too defensive:

    Well, it's back to big stunts again like usual. Fine. It remains to be seen if the writing will improve. This so far is H50 as usual.

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