It’s the question that comes up often in small circles of die-hard TV junkies: which Hawaii-based detective show is better — CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” or the classic “Magnum, P.I.”
Both are set in Hawaii. Both boast an ensemble cast. Both are CBS shows. Both have a generally accepted attractive single male lead who shows a lot of chest and solves crimes with a gun and a smirk.
But there are striking differences. “Hawaii Five-0” features an elite group of cops; “Magnum, P.I.” centers around a private investigator. Tom Selleck, who plays Thomas Magnum, leads a fairly luxurious lifestyle that includes Rolex watches the fictional Coops beer; Alex O’Loughlin, who plays Det. Steve McGarrett, seems a bit more, well, minimalistic. Magnum drove a Ferrari 308 GTS; McGarrett barrelled down Oahu roadways in a 1974 Mercury Marquis Brougham. And I don’t think there were any frozen corpses or dead cops in imus on “Magnum.”
So which is it: “Hawaii Five-0,” either starring O’Loughlin or Jack Lord? Or do you prefer Selleck’s “Magnum, P.I.”?
From tonight’s show:
• Scott Caan, a la Danny Danno Williams, sticking up for Jersey. Nothing wrong with the Shore!
• Death by trolley. That had to be the biggest surprise of the show.
• Kelly Hu. Always nice to see her. But I do think the women need larger roles.
• Too many missing characters. What happened to McGarrett’s sister? Or Masi Oka? Or the woman McGarrett was rolling around on the beach with? Where did all these folks go?
• Another confusing plot with the obvious bad guy. But I’m guessing the plot isn’t important. It’s all about how entertaining the show is.
• Too much bromance. I liked it at first. But now the constant bickering between McGarrett and Williams is getting a little tiring. I want them to kiss and make up already!
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The show is going downhill… no bird, no shave ice, no ‘book em danno’… lol 😉
Not fair comparing the older series with the newer. With the H50 remade series makes it more relevant to the times. Magnum catered to those with a bit more “cerebral” comedy.
Both are both for the time and audience. I still match the old reruns. I just saw an old H5O where Danno got shot by a rifle. I forgot that episode or maybe too young at the time to remember.
Jury is still out on the new Hawaii 5-0. It’s only a few episodes in, so we can’t fairly compare it to shows that aired for years like
For classic 5-0 vs. Magnum, it’s Magnum for me. Much better writing, and there is a great warmth among the characters. They seemed to be great friends. in 5-0, it’s a bunch of guys who work together. But classic 5-0 has two great advantages over Magnum. 1) nostalgia. It’s a blast seeing how neighborhoods looked in the late 60s to mid-70s. 2) an iconic bad guy in Wo Fat.
The writing on classic Magnum was not better than on the classic 5-O. Magnum’s episodes were often sitcom-like and lacked the intricate storytelling of a crime show that 5-O had. 5-O wasn’t meant to be a buddy cop show. The characters on Magnum all served together in Vietnam, so there was a camaraderie among them. The 5-O characters were all detectives who were hired at different times. That doesn’t mean they did mean there was no warmth among them. If one was injured or in danger, the others stopped everything to help them. Steve McGarrett even told Chin Ho in one episode, “I love you like a brother, and the same goes for all my men.” I never saw any character on a TV crime show from that time say such a thing, or even on modern crime shows.
It’s not so much which stands out, as it was an evoluntionary process. First the original Hawaii 5-0, which laid the ground work for everything to come and in showcasing Hawaii. It was set in the mode of the cop shows of the day, such as Dragnet or Adam 12. As Patrick mentions, now it has nostalgia going for it (yep, I love to look at how things were back in small kid days) and it played on the Cold War times with the master villian Wo Fat. Eventually we outgrew that and it evolved to Magnum, again playing to the times of post Vietnam agnst (with former SEAL Magnum scarred by his Vietnam service) and the comaraderie built up among his military buddies, and this even extended to his give and take with Higgins. But Hawaii 5-0 is not forgotten, as it is referenced in Magnum.
Finally, we have the new Hawaii 5-0. Reflective of our times, no central enemy (yet) but a shadowy one, always lurking. More hip, faster paced and flashier for the internet generation. It doesn’t draw from the past like Magnum or the original Hawaii 5-0 did (though it does wink at it’s origins) but builds upon and draws strength from the foundation the previous two shows made. So which is better? Who can say? They reflect the times and their audiences; just enjoy the ride!
Don’t take away my McDanno bromance, I can’t live through this series without it. Seriously.
Magnum wins it on the ‘stache.
Definitely need better roles for the ladies. They weren’t throwing us a bone with the femme fatale.
Well, I think we need to have a definite “older H5-O vs. Magnum” or “newer H5-0 vs. Magnum” to make the call. You absolutely cannot interchange the two. So, I’ll rank it in this order:
1) Orginal Hawaii Five-O
2) Magnum P.I.
3) New Hawaii Five-0
The show now is getting harder and harder to even pay attention to. I find myself constantly rewinding the cable box because my wind wanders while watching. It doesn’t seem to hold my interest anymore.
Danno and McGarrett should just kiss already, hahahaha! I was just cringing at their “you’re my friend” banter tonight, LOL!
On another note, was watching Scott Caan on Letterman tonight, and he has just published a book of his photographs. All black and whites taken with a film camera that his dad Jimmy gave him that he himself received from Francis Ford Coppola. It was an interesting interview.
I like the new Five-O. Heck, tonight’s episode was filmed in Waimanalo — looks like it was at the old Magnum PI’s estate.
Still I miss the elements of the classic show. It was crime solving — most of the time it was some small time bad guy and not international intrigue at stake. Once in a while, it was a big thing, such as a plague that would wipe out the entire island of Oahu. And yes, there’s no “No on my rock!”, “Book’em Danno”, “You’ll have a long time to think about it” or classic punch lines that the new McGarrett delivers.
I miss Steve reaching for the mike on his Motorola police radio and asking dispatch to tie into HPD. This week, how does Steve get through? He calls 911. Notice his car doesn’t have a radio to do the instant radio patch. Where’s the car chase scenes? And the bad guy getting boxed in?
Still, we go through the same scene spotting as before. It wouldn’t be Five-O without it.
The one thing I really miss. Steve talking and interviewing the local guys as he’s digging up information and leads to solve the case. In the Classic Five-O, Steve would always connect the dots and fit the pieces together, including the motive and method. The new series goes about it another way. A part of it is his “office” is his car.
What I like about the new series is they have the tie-ins between the episodes. Things connect and build each week. I wonder where Mary went, and what about the Champ tool box….but give it time, more will be revealed.
And, that was some “mechanic” they had on this week! I don’t recall that on the original series.
I think the new series should have less product placement, and it should feature more island cuisine. Chicken Katsu, Kim Chee, Lau-lau, Poke, Lemon-grass Chicken. They should feature Cat in the background ordering and sampling the dishes at a restaurant, after she goes surfing with Kono..
@ron I think Cat should have been Kono
That’s way the besstet answer so far!
@matti2d Maybe they’ll take Cat as a walk-on to share the load with Kono. Cat can definitely do pidgin and blend in. Plus, Cat does really mean surf. Definitely, when she deck’s the bad guy — it was definitely a Cat fight!
Can you imagine a break in the action when Cat and Kono talk about the latest sales going on at Ala Moana — then get back to crime solving? Next week, they can talk about the new restaurants that open up. And, the new surf spots the week afterwards. And Cat being as well read as she is can talk story with Kono about the latest criminal trends and the newpaper beats she used to cover. Now, wouldn’t that make the show more interesting, innovative with a lot more plot opportunities?
@Ron @matti2d Ron, you’re starting to scare me… ;^D
Magnum, because he epitomizes Hawai’i in that he was a laid back happy go lucky guy who enjoyed wearing shorts and aloha shirts, knew a lot of locals and sort of bummed off them in a good hearted way, and pretty took on small jobs here and there and lived from paycheck to paycheck. I’m sure we all know people like that here in Hawai’i.
Easy one. Gotta be Magnum. Never saw an episode of the old Five-O, never seen an episode of the new one. The 80s short shorts on Thomas M don’t hold up so well, but everything else does.
I’m voting for old Hawaii Five O and new Hawaii Five O. Reason : each episdoe is 50% of exterior shots, showing Hawaii’s beautiful scenery, and 40% is shot in actual local businessess, or homes, and only 10% soundstage
to keep costs down, each episode of Magnum was the opposite, 85% at Diamond Head soundstage, and the for exteriors 14% mostly at Higgin’s Waimanalo estates, and 1% Roger Mosley flying his helicopter.
@CodyZamboni What? Sure there was soundstage stuff but Magnum shot at plenty of locations on Oahu. I just saw one episode where they had at least four or five locations. At actual businesses and homes.
I’m mixed. I like the new HI5-0 primarily because of the sweeping scenic spots, the fly overs, the panning of the shoreline, and especially the incorporation of “technology” comprable to what we have today. But I’m tired of the bromance between McGarrett and Danno. It’s too bad Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park don’t have that much air time yet Maybe they’ll get more time as their character grows.
The original HI5-0 was great in it’s period of time but it’s so funny when view the dvd’s that they’d make a trip around the island just to end up on the opposite side of the park/set from where they started. It’s the original that set the standard for the Hawaii based series. Twelve years for a show out of Hawaii is really a long period.
There’s still no permanent antagonist on the new HI5-0. Still waiting for mark_dacascos to premier on the series. At least on the original HI5-0 Wo Fat was introduced early in the series.
Magnum P.I. improved somewhat over the original HI5-0 by actually filming on location and using the local flora/fauna as backdrops every now and then. I don’t remember too many scenes where the original HI5-0 were filmed in a forest or in the back country (Jack Lord and a criminal lost in the woods after a plane gets tossed in turbulent weather comes to mind). Most of the filming was in the city or on a set.
If I had to rank them:
Original HI5-0 (which set the standard!)
Magnum P.I. (for realness and scenery)
New HI5-0 (for technology and scenery but no character development/no team)
gotta be Magnum. I never actually watched it during its first run, but when I was away at college, those reruns with shots of home got me through long winters away.
plus, TM seemed like the kind of guy you’d want to hang out with. sure, he had some training that made him a badass, but underneath it all he seemed like a fun, goodhearted guy who was always had his friends’ interests at heart (sometimes waaaay underneath it all).
plus, i had a thing for Maggie.
agree with Hikino, it’s an evolution of sorts… I also agree that the Bromance is getting a little old… it would be neat to see the two of them just duke it out. I also want to see more of a role for Kono (and NO, not just because I think she’s one of the most attractive women on TV) I also think that Chin Ho needs to take on more responsibility. As to say which one is better? I’m diggin’ the new show, wasn’t around for the old show, and couldn’t get past the Mag-stache… So for me, the new Hawaii 5-O wins. Come on, it’s got something for everyone. Hot women (see Kono Kalakaua, that Katherine (intel) chick, the smokin’ hot Russian chick from last night’s episode, etc) Good looking guys (or so I’m told) minorities in major parts (Grace Park AND DDK, both Koreans) a McDanno bromance (worth perhaps a McRib) cool technology (did you see them using the multitouch panel to THROW the picture from the tabletop to the vertical displays?!?!) oh… but what’s missing? A plot… oh well, that’s just minor stuff right?!
@NeilYamamoto my Eveyln Wood speed reading skills have diminished somewhat, but my eye did pick up ‘smokin’ hot Russian chick’ from your post muy pronto.
The new H50 is getting old real quick! Magnum had a bit of everything, action, interesting story lines, comdedy and goofiness. The original H50 lacked humor altogether, and the new one is trying, but the characters don’t show any human aspects. How many more times are we gonna see Mcgarrett popping his chest out and uttering lame lines?
Jack was the heart throb of middle aged women. Tom was the heart throb of middle aged men. TS modeled his character on James Garner’s lone wolf, ‘Maverick’, a guy who was self deprecating and not all that competent- until the chips were down and the dame had to be rescued. McGarrett was a leader who never doubted his judgement. McGarrett and Magum were opposites sides of a coin. both had absolute integrity and moral compasses that never deviated. i call it a draw.
As much as I like the new 5-0, my interest is waning. The writing is weak and the plots are too contrived and over-the-top. That said, I do love the cast, especially DDK and Alex. Both seem genuine to me (not that the others don’t!). Magnum was a show I enjoyed for its humor, the scenery, and its refusal to take itself too seriously. The original 5-0 was almost comical in its “just the facts” seriousness but you had to love the show if only for the abundance of local talent. So for me, it’s Magnum, followed by the new 5-0, closely followed by the original.
It’s not a fair question but for now Magnum PI wins easy
Love the new Hawaii 5-0! No its not deep, but a 10pm Monday show shouldn’t be. Magnum was good, but quite predictable, as was the old H 5-0. But to compare shows from the 70’s and 80’s is not quite fair – would anyone watch a show today if it was as sloooow moving as the old shows? No way a show today could survive with that pacing – viewers would turn the channel before the (awesome) opening credits.
I don’t understand the hate for the new show – NO its not Magnum or the old H 5-0, but its a good entertaining action series that doesn’t have CSI or NCIS in the title. And THAT alone should be recognized.
I’m not sure about “the hate” for the new show. But for me, all I can say is that I like a show to challenge me intellectually, to make me think, or allow me to attempt to solve the mystery set in the plot. The new H50 however sacrifices intellectual stimulation for something that would appeal to the video-game crowd of today. It’s not all bad though. The scenery, like-ability of (some) of the characters, and the location-spotting is why I still watch it. But, if you watch other cleverly written shows like any of the Law and Orders spinoffs, CSI, Medium, etc., it pails considerably in the writing dept.
…and in addition to its good attributes, add cinematography. It just needs less explosions, less machismo, and less product placement.
So here’s Part 2 of the question: if “Magnum” did make a return to CBS, who would play the lead? I vote for @turkfontaine! 🙂
@cat @turkfontaine And I say @harrycovair for Higgins!
@cat thanks for your vote CAT, (i do look good in hot pants), but the lead in the new Magnum show will go to @AlohaBruce, CBS has informed me. it will be called: ‘MAGNUM P. OYE’
@hikino @cat @turkfontaine “What in bloody blazes… mag NUUUUMMMMM!”
Somehow I don’t think I’d pass for a Brit. “Eh Kane, Lono – go Patrol”