Directed by Charles Dubin et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 1215 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
MSRP: $ 49.99
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Review Date: June 5, 2008
The crooks keep getting wilier and that calls for the best within them for the squad of Hawaii Five-O. The fourth season of the incredibly successful CBS crime drama may not have ranked quite as high in the year-end ratings as the third season did (twelfth down from seventh), but the cases were every bit as interesting and entertaining. True to previous seasons, the writers for the show mixed up the formulas, never settling on the show’s being merely an action series with lots of gunplay. Some of the episodes are real mysteries with the guilty party revealed in the show‘s last few minutes. Some are twist-filled caper plots with the squad playing catch-up as the crooks follow a predetermined path to great riches. Some shows are more standard crime dramas with the perpetrators clearly identified early while still others are cat and mouse chases. I can’t think of another crime show of the same era that mixed up its formula any more than Hawaii Five-O did.
Once again, 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) also shows up again this season with a scheme so elaborate, in fact, that it takes two episodes to contain it with many surprises along the way for the squad.
The array of guest stars for the fourth season is a formidable one featuring not only great character actors of the time but also rising stars in some of their earliest roles. Among the famous faces glimpsed in these episodes are Herbert Lom, Jeff Corey, France Nuyen, Henry Darrow, Monte Markham, Marie Windsor, Buddy Ebsen, David Canary, John Ritter, Vic Morrow, Jeanne Cooper, Annette O’Toole, Marion Ross, Don Chastain, Jack Kruschen, Jackie Cooper, Lou Antonio, Moses Gunn, Hume Cronyn (reprising the role he played so amusingly in season three), Loretta Swit, James Olson, Dana Wynter, Roger C. Carmel, Tim O’Connor, Donald Pleasance, Barry Sullivan, Ed Flanders, Jay Robinson, Ray Danton, Joanna Barnes, Simon Oakland, and David Birney.
Here’s the line-up of the season’s episodes contained on the six discs which make up the set:
1 - Highest Castle, Deepest Grave
2 - No Bottle, No Cans, No People
3 - Wednesday, Ladies Free (great mystery with a surprising twist)
4 - 3,000 Crooked Miles to Honolulu
5 - Two Doves and Mr. Heron
6 - And I Want Some Candy, and a Gun That Shoots
7 - Air Cargo - Dial for Murder
8 - For a Million, Why Not? (an outstanding caper episode)
9 - The Burning Ice
10 - Rest in Peace, Somebody
11 - A Matter of Mutual Concern
12 - Nine, Ten, You’re Dead
13 - Is This Any Way to Run a Paradise?
14 - Odd Man In (a more light-hearted episode sequel to a season three story)
15 - Bait Once, Bait Twice
16 - The 60-Second War (Part 1)
17 - The 60-Second War (Part 2)
18 - Skinhead
19 - While You’re at It, Bring in the Moon
20 - Cloth of Gold (a good Ten Little Indians-style murder spree)
21 - Good Night Baby, Time to Die (cat and mouse caper with a neat final twist)
22 - Didn’t We Meet at a Murder?
23 - Follow the White Brick Road
24 - R & R & R
The original 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the broadcasts is reproduced faithfully in these DVD transfers. Yes, there are some age related dirt specks, a yellow stripe that interrupts the action once, some moiré patterns, and soft, rough-looking stock footage woven into the episodes. However, color saturation levels are surprisingly strong, and sharpness in studio-shot footage is impressive (sharp enough to easily spot the toupee worn by Herbert Lom). Each episode is divided into 8 chapters without the promos or 9 chapters with them.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track represents the television sound design of the era, so although dialog is clear and music and sound effects don’t get in the way of hearing what you need to hear, these are by-the-book mono tracks, decoded by Dolby Prologic into the center channel. Still, no age related artifacts spoil the fun.
Each episode contains a network promo which can be watched or omitted before watching each episode.
The disc offers trailers for Criminal Minds, Jericho, and the CSI franchise.
It’s disappointing not to have commentaries or featurettes featuring members of the cast who are still alive, but at least the quality of this fourth season of Hawaii Five-O is about as good as one could hope for. It’s a set full of pleasures and treasures.