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

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#1 of 18 Matt Hough

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Posted June 05 2008 - 03:43 PM


Hawaii Five-O: The Fourth Season
Directed by Charles Dubin et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1971-1972
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 1215 minutes
Rating: NR
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 Series

4/5

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


Video Quality

3.5/5

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.


Audio Quality

3.5/5

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.

Special Features

½ /5

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.

In Conclusion

4/5 (not an average)

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.


Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 18 Michael Rogers

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Posted June 05 2008 - 04:40 PM

I've loved rediscovering Hawaii Five O on DVD and actually did a custom figure of Steve McGarrett in the style of the 1970's Mego action figure (they did Star Trek, Planet Of The Apes, Superheroes, etc)

Posted Image

#3 of 18 BobSchneider

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Posted June 05 2008 - 05:04 PM

Thanks matt for the review Hawaii Five-0 is a 100% sure buy for me, Yes I'd like to see some extras , hell even a blooper wheel would be cool, but as with Jag s7 (zip extras there too) I'll live as long as the video and audio captures are of high quality (which I prefer were the studios spend there dvd set production buget) I'll live. Honestly although its neat to hear some "profound or atleast fun" comments from the actors, directors, producers, etc.... lately (on dvd sets) it rarely happens, the usual thought that comes to mind how can I get those 15 mins of my life back Posted Image . I'm glad to hear the high qaulity video and audio have continue like s1-s3 of Five-0. Honestly I think alot of great classics tv shows stand on there own merits and dont need extras for the viewer to make heads or tails of what they just saw (like with alot of art house films and why honest I avoid them). If skipping extras on Hawaii Five-0 sets saves on production costs and keeps the seasons rolling out Im down with thatPosted Image Posted Image Posted Image
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#4 of 18 Corey3rd

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Posted June 06 2008 - 01:47 AM

The Jack Lord doll looks more like Mike Connors.

Season 4 has the best Sci-Fi episode that includes Mudd, the Doctor from Buck Rogers and Blofeld.
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#5 of 18 RickER

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Posted June 06 2008 - 02:56 AM

Video gets a 3.5 out of 5. Did they not restore this season like the first 3? Or is it just not as good a restoration? Cause the first 3 seasons sure had better video quality than 3.5. Just sayin, cause i am sure it will look better than ever.

#6 of 18 Jeff*H

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Posted June 06 2008 - 02:57 AM

Hawaii Five-0 is timeless, as this latest season demonstrates. As the reviewer noted, the show was effortlessly able to shift between different types of stories (light and breezy, mystery, global espionage, cops and robbers, even borderline sci-fi), and the cast and lineup of guest stars couldn't be topped by '70s TV show standards. It was only in the last few seasons where the show finally collapsed under the weight of its own heritage with cast defections, repeating plots and tired acting.

Can't wait to get Season 4 on Tuesday! Paramount has done a fantastic job with the transfers ever since they were remastered for the Family Channel 11 years ago. There's a rumor that Season 5 is being prepped for November/early December, so hopefully that's true, as it features the classic 'V for Vashon' 3-parter.

BTW Michael, love that custom-made McGarrett action figure, how cool is that? Did you make the other 3 also? Package is cool too.
Facebook members, be sure to visit my Hawaii Five-0 Celebration page:  http://www.facebook....113331868678710

#7 of 18 Bob Hug

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Posted June 06 2008 - 03:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff*H
There's a rumor that Season 5 is being prepped for November/early December, so hopefully that's true, as it features the classic 'V for Vashon' 3-parter.

I just checked the "Paramount Syndication Bible" for "Hawaii Five-0". The last update indicated was 12/14/06 so this information may be out of date, but according to the "bible," only the first four seasons have been given the HD treatment to date . . . .

"This series has been partially transferred into HD beginning with Season 1 and has the following masters:

Network 4x3 HD (currently the seasons 1 through 4 only)"

Apparently, 209 episodes have been digitally remastered, while another 74 are not. I'm assuming what we are seeing on the DVDs represent the HD masters.


The syndication bible can be found at this link:

CBS Television Distribution Syndication Bible

#8 of 18 Steve...O

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Posted June 06 2008 - 03:31 AM

Michael - great job on the action figure...I didn't realize these existed. You are very talented.

Matt - thanks for the well written and informative review. I'm also curious how the video compares to the other seasons. I agree with Rick that S1 - S3 look outstanding; does the 3.5 rating reflect a dropoff from the prior seasons or do you see S4 as being comparable.
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#9 of 18 Jeff*H

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Posted June 06 2008 - 03:59 AM

209 of the series' total 284 hours were digitally remastered by Paramount and the Family Channel back in 1997 for the new syndication package.

I don't know if the digital remasters are what we see on the DVD's (they look very similiar to the quality of the 1997 Family Channel broadcasts), or if we are seeing the more recent HD masters that were done.

The un-remastered 74 episodes look very average and washed out and are primarily from the later seasons of the series. None of them are from the first 6 seasons or so according to the website except for 1 season 5 show.
Facebook members, be sure to visit my Hawaii Five-0 Celebration page:  http://www.facebook....113331868678710

#10 of 18 Matt Hough

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Posted June 06 2008 - 08:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve...O
Michael - great job on the action figure...I didn't realize these existed. You are very talented.

Matt - thanks for the well written and informative review. I'm also curious how the video compares to the other seasons. I agree with Rick that S1 - S3 look outstanding; does the 3.5 rating reflect a dropoff from the prior seasons or do you see S4 as being comparable.

I checked my review of the season three set this morning, and I also gave it a 3.5. That's well above average (if 2.5 is average). There are dirt specks, occasional scratches and debris, and those problematic soft stock shots and inconsistent color timing in individual scenes during both of the seasons that I've reviewed. But most of it looks very nice, and I think 3.5 is fair comparing it to other vintage shows I've reviewed recently.

#11 of 18 BobSchneider

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Posted June 11 2008 - 06:13 PM

I picked up s4 at target yesterday and have watch the first three episodes and they were alot of fun to watch . I do agree thought the video captures are not as good as S1 thru S3, there still very watchable, good color and clarity scenes with actors , quality slides a bit on long distance wide angle outdoor connect shot (ie steveo driving to a suspect bussiness helicopter shot. But otherwise I can live with it, because the storys are fun and the shows are a look in near pasted, a different world. Posted Image
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#12 of 18 jdee28

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Posted June 12 2008 - 03:11 AM

Sad to hear about a dip in picture quality for season four. Perhaps those extra transfer dollars went to Mannix instead.

#13 of 18 Jeff*H

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Posted June 12 2008 - 07:10 AM

Even a dip in picture quality for Five-0 season 4 still makes it much better than virtually any other 40-year-old show on the market in my estimate. The colors don't seem quite as bright and vivid this season.

I haven't noticed any cuts or odd run times so far. This season is one of the best in terms of great guest stars. I am disappointed slightly that they switched from picture art on the discs to the standard silver disc with logo this season. Must be a way to save costs going forward since sales probably aren't as high as the first couple of seasons. As long as they don't switch to the slim case like they did with Melrose Place, I will still be happy.
Facebook members, be sure to visit my Hawaii Five-0 Celebration page:  http://www.facebook....113331868678710

#14 of 18 Brian GT

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Posted June 12 2008 - 12:18 PM

I picked up my set on Tuesday - got the last copy at my local Future Shop.
Don't know when I'll get to watch it, I'm working my way through a lot of other stuff at the moment.
If the picture quality is even close to the first three seasons I'll be more than satisfied. I watch everything on a 52" Sony CRT RPTV and the show looks amazing. Considering that when the shows were filmed they only had to look good on a 20" screen at best.
I don't think anyone was concerned with how they'd look 40 years later on massive HD televisions.
Keep 'em coming - looking forward to season five.

#15 of 18 BobSchneider

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Posted June 12 2008 - 04:48 PM

Honestly the capture quality of S4 isnt that bad Im watching on my new vizio vx32l in standard 4:3 format and s4 of Five-0 looks very good and way better than the re runs shown on my local oldies tv channel 56.Hawaii Five-0 s4 is a Hell of alot more enteraining than the god awful re runs of unfunny sit coms, reality shows or summer replacement show like that pos disco soft porn crap CBS is got running now . Also last week I pick up the S1 of mannix, I had vage memories of watching later seasons of the Mannix as a kid and liking it, boy Im glad I did. Mannix a very cool , well written and acted show and like Five-0 is a great escape from the pos summer re run dreck, I think if you like Hawaii Five-O I think you'll like Mannix too.Posted Image
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#16 of 18 WaveCrest

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Posted June 21 2008 - 03:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hug
I just checked the "Paramount Syndication Bible" for "Hawaii Five-0". The last update indicated was 12/14/06 so this information may be out of date, but according to the "bible," only the first four seasons have been given the HD treatment to date . . . .

"This series has been partially transferred into HD beginning with Season 1 and has the following masters:

Network 4x3 HD (currently the seasons 1 through 4 only)"

Apparently, 209 episodes have been digitally remastered, while another 74 are not. I'm assuming what we are seeing on the DVDs represent the HD masters.

The season 1-4 episodes on DVD are in HD? Seems strange to me.

Are the 209 episodes which have been digitally remastered in the order that they were originally shown on CBS? If yes then that goes up to episode 210 (not including "Bored, She Hung Herself") "Ready ... Aim ..." (episode 15 of season 9). If the sales do well and a season 9 boxset is released then surely the remaining 75 episodes can be digitally remastered? I read elsewhere here that these digitally remastered episodes of Hawaii Five-O could have done back in the mid to late 90's.

#17 of 18 Jeff*H

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Posted June 21 2008 - 09:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaveCrest
The season 1-4 episodes on DVD are in HD? Seems strange to me.

Are the 209 episodes which have been digitally remastered in the order that they were originally shown on CBS? If yes then that goes up to episode 210 (not including "Bored, She Hung Herself") "Ready ... Aim ..." (episode 15 of season 9). If the sales do well and a season 9 boxset is released then surely the remaining 75 episodes can be digitally remastered? I read elsewhere here that these digitally remastered episodes of Hawaii Five-O could have done back in the mid to late 90's.

The 209 episodes were remastered in 1997, co-financed by the Family Channel for their cable run of the show, in standard def. This package then went into syndication, where it is currently still being shown. The 209 shows were primarily all episodes from the first 6 seasons, along with a majority from seasons 7-9. There are also a handful from seasons 10 and 11, and 2 episodes from season 12 (Lion in the Streets and Woe to Wo Fat). I think these prints are being used on the DVD's, albeit in uncut form. Hopefully the remaining 75 episodes will also be remastered for upcoming DVD releases. Currently, there is one season 5 show that has not been remastered.

I think the HD masters of the first 4 seasons are being prepped for the show's syndication run in HD in the near future, or even a possible HD Blu-Ray release . This is pure speculation, but since Paramount is doing this with a lot of their old shows, it makes sense, as this will extend the shelf-life of those shows in syndication as TV moves into the HD era.
Facebook members, be sure to visit my Hawaii Five-0 Celebration page:  http://www.facebook....113331868678710

#18 of 18 WaveCrest

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Posted June 22 2008 - 03:11 AM

"Highest Castle, Deepest Grave" is the season four episode I can remember the best at the moment. My memory of the other episodes is vague. It seemed to have a different feel to it, which included Steve McGarrett. I remember him wearing a dark black suit instead of his trademark blue suit. And the ending was haunting as he looks at the painting on the wall in the house.

I watched Hawaii Five-O proper when it was shown on the sadly-no-longer UK station Granada Plus. I'm sure I saw some of it many years ago when ITV screened it. But I have no clear memories of it.


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