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The lush scenery of Hawaii is even more beautiful in the new Hawaii Five-O than its predecessor, thanks to improvements in video recording. But the new show also features Hawaii’s lifestyle in a way that the original did not.
From the opening title sequence on, the pilot that airs Monday night features Hawaii landmarks. The iconic wave of surf survives, as does the King Kamehameha statue in downtown Honolulu. Other familiar scenes are an aerial shot of Waikiki Beach, people surfing and a rainbow. Throughout the local advance premier, people cheered and applauded when location shots were shown. As with the original, it’s fun to try to identify locations. The pace of editing is fast in the new show, so you have to look quickly.
However, this version of Hawaii Five-O includes much more information about the show’s main characters. Because we see them outside the office, we also see a little more about what it’s like to live in Hawaii. Much has been made of the fact that in the pilot, Kona Kalakaua is first seen surfing in a bikini. In a future episode, Steve McGarrett is seen bare-chested emerging from a morning swim. Not everyone in Hawaii looks like Alex O’Loughlin or Grace Park but many people do swim, surf or run on the beach before work every morning. In this sense, the Hawaii lifestyle plays a supporting role in the series. The series also addresses frankly Hawaii’s ethnic variety. A brief exchange between McGarrett and a Hawaiian establishes that he’s still a “haole” even though he was born and raised in Hawaii.
And yet, the show remains a work of fiction. When the new series was first announced, Jim Winpenny wrote here that in the original, “A car might take a left from Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki and suddenly be driving along the North Shore Oahu coastline.” Some similar liberties are taken in the 2010 version, which connects the Honolulu waterfront and Ford Island.