The new Five-0 and "junk time"

by todd Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:31 am

Here is an unfortunate fact of modern TV: 1970s dramas lasted 48-49 minutes, while 2010s dramas last 41-42 minutes.

There's a hell of a lot more commercials now.

This means we get less time to see the plot fleshed out in each episode.

Despite this, the new Hawaii Five-0 has a problem with time wasting.

In some episodes, where it's either an ongoing story arc from other episodes or a mishmash of several stories, that's not a big deal.

However, episodes dedicated to one main storyline suffer when that storyline is not given time to engage the view.

Take the Season 6 episode about the kidnapper who forced his victims to confess their past crimes on video.

This episode was kind of in the same vein as the original program's "Mother's Deadly Helper" -- a vigilante motivated by a need to do good and serve justice, where some of his victims are the opposite of sympathetic.

This can be a fascinating type of storyline in a crime drama. Do we root for the vigilante who is taking the law into his own hands, yet victimizing "deserving" individuals, or do we hope law enforcement catches him, knowing that we can't have a free society which allows vigilanteism?

"Mother's Deadly Helper" did this well, eventually utilizing a plot point of McGarrett appearing on a left-wing talk show and feigning full agreement with the vigilante, in order to drive him out.

The new Five-0's episode wasn't nearly as interesting. The vigilante only had two victims. The first was totally unsympathetic -- a jerk who scammed elderly people out of their life savings. Unfortunately, this was presented on the episode poorly, and the crime had already been committed by the time we found out about it. It would have been much more compelling to see this wretched scammer in action, followed by his kidnapping, followed by the vigilante forcing him to confess his sins, followed by the scammer's eventual suicide. Instead, we barely cared about that victim (in a good or bad way) by the time he was dead.

The second victim was the sympathetic one -- an otherwise sweet young girl who made one stupid mistake, texting while driving, and then hitting-and-running from an accident she caused while doing so. So of course we were rooting for Five-0 to stop the vigilante before he hurt her, and of course that's exactly what happened.

The problem was that the episode just didn't have time to get us into the story.

We had the pointless (though well executed) horror-movie-like kidnapping scene, taking up several minutes at the beginning.

We had the pointless Kamekona and Max getting stranded at sea sublot.

We had the usual red herring suspect who was actually innocent.

We had the computer hacker character and his pointless attempt to hit on a model in an airplane.

I wish the show wouldn't waste time on stuff like this when they create plots which have the potential to be compelling and memorable.

The old show would find a gimmick crime of the week and focus the entire episode on it. You really felt part of the suspense and action. Think of how you felt while watching tense classic episodes such as "Nightmare in Blue", "Draw Me a Killer", "I'll Kill 'Em Again", and many others.

The new Five-0 doesn't have that element, and I feel that's its biggest flaw.

I don't mind the character development. I actually wished for some of that in the original, and savored the few moments we got to see into the personal lives of McGarrett, Danny, and Chin.

I just wish the new series was more focused and wasted less time.

by Mr. Mike Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:32 am

Even though I reviewed this episode at the usual hideous length, I couldn't recognize it from your very accurate description. I had to go back and read my review to refresh my memory! Talk about "junk food."