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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Hawaii Five-O: The Third Season



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#1 of 60 Matt Hough

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Posted January 18 2008 - 01:51 AM


Hawaii Five-O: The Third Season
Directed by Danny Arnold et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1970-1971
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 1215 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
MSRP: $ 54.99

Release Date: January 22, 2008
Review Date: January 18, 2008


The Series

3.5/5

They say that the third time is the charm, and in the case of CBS’ Hawaii Five-O, its third season certainly was its breakthrough year. For the first time since it began, the show found itself among the top ten shows on network television. And one of its directors received an Emmy nomination for his work during this season. Admittedly, looking back on the series almost forty years after the fact, it’s a bit slower paced and more simply plotted than crime dramas of today. In its day, however, the location color photography gave the show an identity unique to network TV, and viewers continued to respond in great numbers during the next several years.

Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) heads the Hawaii Five-O crime unit branch of the Hawaii state patrol network. Since they work for the state rather than the local police department, the unit reports directly to the governor of Hawaii (Richard Denning). Second in command is Danny “Danno” Williams (James MacArthur), and also part of the team are the immense Kono Kalakaua (Zulu) and Chin Ho Kelly (Kam Fong). Reigning Red Chinese gangster Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh) makes very infrequent appearances as the thorn in McGarrett’s paw, a shame since the actor’s quiet menace adds terrifically to any episode that he’s a part of.

Most of the cases are the usual crime dramas involving kidnapping, theft, blackmail, or extortion, and viewers are usually clued in early as to the identity of the perpetrators. However, occasionally, the writers throw in a real mystery that allows the audience to play detectives themselves in attempting to discover whodunit. The mysteries aren’t especially clever or thickly plotted, but the change of pace from the routine crook or gangster chase is nice. I wish more episodes were traditional mysteries.

Naturally compared to the quick paced, flashy crime drama procedurals of today (the three CSIs, Bones, and Medium being among the most unique), Hawaii Five-O might seem rather plodding and unimaginative. Stars Jack Lord and James MacArthur do bring charisma and sincerity to their roles that maintain interest even in cases that on the surface don’t seem very challenging (the two other detective working with them are rather poor actors). We also got to see just a little bit of the two lead characters’ emotional lives with women this season. And, as the episodes are all self-contained (or at most two-part episodes), there’s no worry about following long range story arcs through multiple episodes as so many shows do today. Give the producers fifty minutes of your time, and you’ll see a case from beginning to end.

One of the real joys in watching a show of this age is to see the amazing line-up of very worthy character actors who parade through the episodes. Some are in the prime years of their careers while others will have shows of their own at some point in the future. Among the famous performers I noticed during this season are Gerald O’Laughlin, Ed Flannery, Nancy Wilson (as a heroin addict!), Harry Guardino, John Vernon, Anne Archer, Eric Braeden, Vera Miles, Martin Sheen, Dewey Martin, Madlyn Rhue, Simon Oakland, Andrew Duggen, Lloyd Bochner, Paul Burke, Don Stroud, Hume Cronyn, Joan Van Ark, Patrick Duffy, Albert Salmi, John Marley, John McMartin, Hope Summers, Tim O’Connor, Monte Markham, Jock Mahoney, Don Chastain, and Pernell Roberts.

Here’s the rundown for the third season’s twenty-four episodes with an occasional comment about an unusual outing:

1 - And Time to Die
2 - Trouble in Mind
3 - The Second Shot
4 - Time and Memories
5 - The Guarnerius Caper
6 - The Ransom
7 - Force of Waves
8 - Reunion
9 - The Late John Louisiana
10 - The Last Eden
11 - Over Fifty? Steal (a rare comedic episode for the show)
12 - Beautiful Screamer (a worthy showcase for co-star James MacArthur)
13 - The Payoff
14 - The Double Wall
15 - Paniolo
16 - Ten Thousand Diamonds and a Heart (a caper episode, my favorite of the season)
17 - To Kill or Be Killed
18 - F.O.B. Honolulu - Part I
19 - F.O.B. Honolulu - Part II
20 - The Gunrunner
21 - Dear Enemy
22 - The Bomber and Mrs. Moroney (another standout showcase for James MacArthur)
23 - The Grandstand Play - Part I
24 - The Grandstand Play - Part II

Video Quality

3.5/5

The original 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the TV broadcasts is reproduced faithfully in these transfers. Visual quality varies from episode to episode, but most of them feature good sharpness and accurate color reproduction in any scenes filmed on soundstages. Location work can vary from adequate sharpness to soft and sometimes dirty. There are occasional black and white scratches that aren’t badly intrusive, but without anamorphic enhancement, moiré patterns and line twitters in cloth patterns and car grille work are very noticeable. Edge enhancement also shows up from time to time. Each episode has been divided into 8 chapters (9 chapters if you play the promos).

Audio Quality

3/5

The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is decoded by Dolby Prologic into the center channel. Representative of television sound recording for its era, the track does its job adequately. There isn’t any hiss, pops, or other audio artifacts, but obviously the track lacks fidelity in comparison to audio tracks on today’s TV crime dramas.

Special Features

1/5

Most of the episodes have introductory promos lasting for a minute giving viewers a taste of the show ahead. (They were originally aired as previews for the next week's episode.) The viewer can choose to watch the show with or without the promos.

In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)

Hawaii Five-O hit its stride in its third season, and while this box set is light on extras, the shows themselves are addictive and despite hipster dialog and wardrobe that date the show sometimes, the performances of the two leads and a great line-up of guest stars make for an entertaining walk back in time.


Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 60 Jeff*H

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Posted January 18 2008 - 03:35 AM

My favorite season of the series. I'm buying one for myself and several for friends! Keep 'em coming CBS Paramount!

I think for a 40-year-old show it holds up fantastically well, the earlier seasons such as this moreso than the late '70s seasons.
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#3 of 60 BobSchneider

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Posted January 18 2008 - 08:11 PM

Yes Im looking forward to picking up season three this weekend , personally I liked the Kono years the best, which I think season three was the last year kono was on. Here In So Cal Hawaii Five -0 is re ran on koce 56 and honestly I cant really watch any season after seven because Five -0 became almost parody of the great show it was.... but the first five or six seasons are fantasic fun to watch tv.Posted Image
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#4 of 60 Matt Hough

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Posted January 19 2008 - 01:20 AM

I think Kono sticks around for one more season. He did four in all, I believe.

#5 of 60 Corey3rd

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Posted January 19 2008 - 01:24 AM

Kono has one more season.
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#6 of 60 RickER

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Posted January 19 2008 - 01:46 AM

Yea, those 4 years are all i am in for. I think the death of the shows creator, and producer in the 5th year must have brought about a change. That and the growing power that Jack Lord had. So it was easy for me to find a stopping point when Kono leaves at the end of season four. Shoot that will be over 100 episodes anyway.

#7 of 60 Gary OS

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Posted January 19 2008 - 02:28 AM

I agree with Rick. I'm in for one more season and then I'm done. Hawaii Five-0 was a neat show that had some great location scenes and decent storylines, but after Kono leaves I am too.

Gary "4 seasons is a good stopping point for me with this series" O.
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#8 of 60 Ockeghem

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Posted January 19 2008 - 02:50 AM

^^^
Gary OS,

Those are some fine choices in your list. I'm looking forward to The Patty Duke Show (I own the complete series on VHS). It would be quite a treat to have that one on DVD one day. You've listed some other gems there as well.

#9 of 60 Gary OS

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Posted January 19 2008 - 03:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ockeghem
^^^
Gary OS,

Those are some fine choices in your list. I'm looking forward to The Patty Duke Show (I own the complete series on VHS). It would be quite a treat to have that one on DVD one day. You've listed some other gems there as well.

Thanks Scott. That list is really only partial, as there are many other shows from the 50's & 60's that I want. But I had to stop somewhere, or my sig would have been way too big. Heck, some think it's too big as it is.

Yea, I'd love to see THE PATTY DUKE SHOW come out too. Great series. It really deserves a release, but if Sony owns it we had better hope a company like Shout! Factory rents it out. We cannot depend on Sony to release it. That will NOT happen.

Gary "perhaps the show isn't under Sony's control - I can't remember for sure" O.
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#10 of 60 Jeff*H

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Posted January 19 2008 - 03:39 AM

I would recommend that those of you wishing to stop after 4 seasons give it at least one more, through Season 5 (presuming it too gets released). Season 5 still had creator Leonard Freeman's involvement (he passed away before Season 6), and features what most die-hard Five-0 fans such as myself consider to be one of the all-time great episodes: "V For Vashon". It's a 3-parter focusing on a deadly Hawaiian crime dynasty that spans 3 generations, who butt heads with McGarrett in ways in which both sides encounter great danger.
The V for Vashon episodes were so popular that they did a sequel to it in season 8.
Plus, Season 5 had other great episodes featuring Andy Griffith, Patty Duke, Ricardo Montalban, William Shatner and many more. It's definitely considered one of the very best seasons, despite the fact Kono is no longer around.

In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys Season 3, as I said before it's one of the best!
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#11 of 60 jim_falconer

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Posted January 19 2008 - 04:13 AM

I think people here who will stop buying after season 4 are selling themselves short (and let it be known, I was also in the 'after Kono left, the series went downhill' mentality). Watching the entire series recently, I can say that seasons 5 -10 are just as strong, with just as strong plots and continued excellent acting by the leads.

I'll be picking this up next week for sure, but I'm hoping Paramount keeps bringing out this wonderful series, even after season 4.

#12 of 60 Regulus

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Posted January 19 2008 - 04:41 AM

I plan to buy it all the way to it's end. Posted Image (I know, the last season Tanked!)

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#13 of 60 BobSchneider

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Posted January 19 2008 - 06:48 AM

Yes I like I said personally I like seasons 1-4 (the kono years) the best, but I'm defintely get s5 just for the V for vashon series, so I will buy seasons of Hawaii Five-0 after season 4. But for me around season 8 the turkey to good episode ratio goes way up, and lets not talk about the horrible late night re tread Hawaii Five 0 rip off series that came out in the late 80's I wont buys those at any price. In a way Five-0 is alot like Mission Impossible for me after leonard lemoy left the show, MI became very fomulalic and very body was waltzing though the episodes just to collect another pay check, and it was really hard to find a reason watch because the episodes all felt and look the same. For me with Hawaii Five 0 that hits around season 8, So I'll buy more Hawaii Five O after s4 but how many I dont know just yet.Posted Image
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#14 of 60 Kenneth V

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Posted January 19 2008 - 02:27 PM

I will be buying the entire series, if they release it all! Seasons 11 and 12 are the worst of the series, but there are a few good episodes in there. Posted Image

#15 of 60 Mister-Mike

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Posted January 23 2008 - 05:42 AM

There are plenty of excellent shows after the fourth season, not the least of which are Hookman and Nine Dragons, which opened the sixth and ninth seasons respectively.

The Hawaii Five-O Home Page

#16 of 60 Doug Wallen

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Posted January 23 2008 - 06:48 AM

Just got thru watching Over 50? Steal. Great episode. Picture still looks great. Was upset that I was unable to watch the promo with each episode. Only has a play all episode promo button.

Doug
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#17 of 60 Corey3rd

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Posted January 23 2008 - 07:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Wallen
Just got thru watching Over 50? Steal. Great episode. Picture still looks great. Was upset that I was unable to watch the promo with each episode. Only has a play all episode promo button.

Doug

Seems they couldn't find the promo for Over 50? Steal. It's not part of the Play All
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#18 of 60 Zardon

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Posted January 23 2008 - 01:32 PM

Leonard Freeman died well into production of the 6th season (in January 1974), not the 5th. The show continued on admirably without Freeman or Zulu (who played Kono). The writing didn't fall apart until the final season....after James McArthur had left the show.

I have to disagree with the reviewer on the point of the 1970-71 season. The stories were more suspenseful and clever because there were more episodes than ever before featuring well-plotted heists and colorful characters who attempt to pull them off. The 4th season further expands on that asset, which became a hallmark for the series. That's one of the reasons it got into the Top 10. Posted Image

The 3rd season of Five-O also saw the premiere of some of the incidental musical pieces that the show became famous for in its middle years.

#19 of 60 Zardon

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Posted January 23 2008 - 01:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey3rd
Seems they couldn't find the promo for Over 50? Steal. It's not part of the Play All
Maybe there wasn't one. Or the was but it wasn't saved. Sometimes a network will cut a promo if the show is running long, in which case it's possible that CBS didn't save it.

#20 of 60 Corey3rd

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Posted January 23 2008 - 01:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zardon
Maybe there wasn't one. Or the was but it wasn't saved. Sometimes a network will cut a promo if the show is running long, in which case it's possible that CBS didn't save it.

they don't have the promos for either part of "FOB Honolulu"

But it is funny to realize this is what Keith's referencing at the end of MSNBC's Countdown episodes.
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