Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hawaii 5-O vs. Hawaii 5-0

In 1968, Jack Lord starred in a made for TV police drama set in Hawaii, and his catchphrase, "Book 'em, Danno" became a household term, and the iconic theme song was born. Forty-two years later, the catchphrase and the theme song are still the same, but the role of Steve McGarrett has been resurrected by Alex O'Loughlin.  How does the new series compare with the old? Let's find out.

The new series isn't really a continuation of the old, as some people think.  The new Steve McGarrett is not the son of the old character. Rather, the updated series is a re-imagining of the original.  If a viewer followed the original, it would be easy for them to understand this, because there are too many similarities between the two series to be a continuation.  All of the main characters share the names of those in the original, even though the gender is different for one of the characters.  See for yourself:

Now, take a look a the same main characters in the new series:
L to R: Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett, Grace Park as Kono, Daniel Day Kim as Chin Ho, and Scott Caan as Danny Williams

As you can see, there are some pretty obvious differences in the cast. Jack Lord was 48 when he played the role; Alex O'Loughlin was only 34.  The differences in cast reflect the changing attitudes of our society toward a younger, more reckless hero.

In both series, the chase car plays a huge role; the original sported a 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham, while the new series races through Hawaii in a 2011 Chevy Camaro.  Not a bad upgrade, if you ask me.

But what about the story line? Is it the same?  Basically, yes.  The show centers around a special task force called 5-0, so named for Hawaii's distinction of being the 50th state. (Side note: in the original, the letter O was used in the title; in the update, the numeral 0 is appropriately placed in the title.) 5-0 is a task force which reports directly to the governor, bypassing typical police protocol.  The mafia play a large part in both episodes; Woo Fat is the head of the Hawaiian branch of mafia in the original, Wo Fat in the remake.  While Lord's McGarrett spent most of his time combating this group, O'Loughlin's character is usually dealing with murders and unsolved crimes, but the mafia is primarily portrayed as being behind his father's murder.

Ask a diehard original fan, and they will tell you no one can beat Jack Lord as McGarrett. But the new series has been a success, signing on for a second season this past fall, and has resonated with a new generation.


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