Title: Hawaii Five-0: The Complete Series
HTS Overall Score:
“Hawaii Five-0” was one of the most unique cop dramas of its time, incorporating more political and adult situations than most other TV shows of that era. It took the standard fare that we know as a buddy cop show, and expanded it out to talk about political unrest during the late 60s, the hippy wave of the 70s and petering off right as the great 80s rolled out. It also has the distinction of being one of the longest running police dramas in U.S. television history, running in at over 12 seasons long (although the last three seasons are legendary for being completely horrible). It also had the distinction of being shot completely on set in local Hawaii for the duration of the show, luas, hula hoops and gorgeous island girls and all.
The one thing that stands out above all else on the show is that of Jack Lord playing officer Steve McGarrett, a man answerable only to the Governor of Hawaii (Played by veteran actor Richard Denning), and tough as nails. He was basically the David Caruso of the show, and while there were some great side characters, he sucked up all of the spotlight with a devilish sort of glee, and for good reason too. He was loved by fans and the ratings skyrocketed with him on board. The first 7 seasons were absolutely impeccable, with episodic stories that always ended with McGarrett finding his man (and sometimes quite brutal stuff for the 1968-1980 world of television). The 8th and 9th season were still very solid entries, but the show was obviously getting a little long in the tooth, and by the time the 10th season started nobody cared anymore. Jack Lord was the god of the show and he stole the spotlight (quite literally many times) to the point where even his co-stars were famously quoted for wondering why they were even there. Officer Chin-Ho was killed off in season 10 without even a farewell, and most of the audience didn’t even notice due to the fact that the show was basically the Jack Lord show at that point (although he DID come back into a reunion movie during the 90s because the producer forget that he had been killed off and no one realized until after filming that he really wasn’t supposed to be there).
Before that though, “Hawaii Five-0 made great use of the supporting cast and even incorporated Disney child star James McArthur (I’ll always remember his as Fritz in “The Swiss Family Robinson) as Danny, McGarrett’s prodigy. Also in the lineup was Chinese-American detective Chin-Ho Kelly (Kam Fong) and the island native Kono (Zulu), who acted as the eyes and ears of the Five-0 due to being a native to the island. Much of the camaraderie and spirit was built up in the early seasons as the group works together to take down bad guys, but the last three seasons have everyone but McGarrett standing around as yes-men.
As I said earlier, the show tends to get political more often than not. The hints are there and it is subtle, but there is definitely an anti-war tone to the show, even if they don’t come out and criticize what’s happening during the Vietnam era. The same goes for gun control as there are multiple episodes where the crew are overly harsh on civilian gun ownership, with McGarrett making speeches about the dangers of them here and there (something that is really normal for Hawaii as it is one of the least gun friendly states in the nation). The same goes for little jabs about power and discussions about political and activism during the era. There’s nothing every blatantly “in your face”, which makes it much more palatable for those who don’t like a ton of politics ending up feeling like propaganda in their entertainment.
The boxset is pretty much the EXACT same discs that have been out since about 2007-2009 (ish), and have been released in individual season box sets as well as a collector’s edition set back in 2013. The only difference was that the collector’s set has a 73rd disc worth of special features that this one and the original 12 season sets don’t have. There have been a few changes to the show since it aired on TV, mainly some music had to be tweaked here and there due to rights issues and some new opening montages were created. Also, there is an episode on the 2nd season titled “Bored, She Hung Herself” because supposedly someone mimicked the suicide in that episode and either Paramount or CBS pulled the episode from syndication. I would have liked to have seen that missing episode on this set once more, but I’m not sure if it’s, once again, CBS or Paramount not having the rights, or else some other political reason behind the lost episode.
Being that “Hawaii Five-0” was released over the span of a couple years for all 12 seasons back in the early 2000 decade the show has a rather consistent look to them. These are IDENTICAL discs to the ones found in the 12 individual seasons as well as the collector’s edition boxset from a few years back, so if you’ve seen those discs they’re the exact same encode. All 72 discs look quite good, with sharp colors that lean towards the ruddy side, as well as great detailing on the at location Hawaiian sets. There’s a few speckles and a few bits of print damage, but the film stock looks to be in good shaped except for a few scenes here and there that look a little rough. Black levels are more than satisfactory and even the contrast is kept in check. Overall, I’m very impressed with the way these DVDs have held up over the years.
Being the same discs as the last few releases, the same Dolby Digital Mono tracks for the 12 seasons are housed on them as well. Now while the video has held up remarkably well, the cheaply done audio mixing hasn’t. A mono track even in 1968 was pretty rare, and while Paramount’s encoding of the mix is exemplary, there’s only so much you can do with a single channel in a police show like this. Gunshots are a bit flat and light, and dialog is the main focus of the show. Even that has a bit of a flat and sometimes harsh element to it, but there is nothing that makes the voice unintelligible, it’s just that the mono track doesn’t give much vibrancy to the experience.
“Hawaii Five-0” was a powerhouse TV show that spanned an EPIC 12 years of runtime, and is syndicated to this day. It even spawned a successful reboot that’s finishing up its 7th season (with an 8th on the way) to date. Jack Lord pretty much was the David Caruso of the show (just not nearly as annoying), but sadly the last few seasons are commonly known to be dogs. However, buying the entire series is cheaper than picking up the individual seasons, so this is DEFINITELY the way to pick it up. Ironically this is actually the 2nd time the complete series has been released, with a big “book” style collector’s edition coming out back in about 2013. That particular set was known to scratch discs due to the cardboard style sleeves, but this one is basically the same set repacked into the giant “mega cases” that Paramount is using these days, minus the disc of special features unique to the book style collector’s edition. If you already HAVE the series, then it’s redundant, as these are the same discs that have been releases since 2007, but if you haven’t, it is easily the cheapest and most compact way of getting this classic series. Recommended for new buyers.
Starring: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong
Created by: Leonard Freeman
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Mpeg2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital Mono
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 14,207 Minutes
DVD Release Date: April 18th, 2017
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