Five-0 Redux: Feeling the love
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
CBS appeased eager fans this week with a marathon of three great episodes of “Hawaii Five-0,” just in time for Valentine’s Day.
So, what better way celebrate than to let fans from around the world express their love for the show? I’ve asked fans to weigh-in before, when they helped choose the best episodes from season three.
This time, I wanted to know what made them fall in love with the Five-0 team. What caused them to devote one hour a week and countless hours online — and for some to even fly to Hawaiʻi for a glimpse of filming or to watch their beloved show on Waikīkī Beach?
While the results didn’t surprise me, they did remind me of how incredibly special “Hawaii Five-0” is to fans and the state of Hawaiʻi. I have met so many people from different U.S. states and other countries who love the show enough to spend their vacations on Oahu. I know for some of them, it is a trip of a lifetime. Many visit with the hope of seeing their favorite actors, and some even do their own self-guided tours to see all the featured locations from the show in real life.
I asked fans to take a quick survey of seven questions, all having to do with why they love the show. Based on the responses I received, fans really love EVERYTHING about “Hawaii Five-0.” I gave the option of choosing the characters, the writing, scenes of Hawaiʻi, action and drama, Alex O’Loughlin or Scott Caan as favorites, yet 57 percent chose “all of the above.” I knew the two male leads would be a major draw, but I was pleased to see it was the show people love, not just one actor over another.
Many fans commented it was the spirit of ʻohana shared within the team that caused their love to blossom. While many tuned in originally to see Alex O’Loughlin or Scott Caan, their love grew as the cast jelled into a tight-knit on-screen crime fighting family.
“I am a fan of cop shows, but this one incorporates great writing, humour, humanity, complex yet endearing characters, and a great balance between drama and exploding action,” said Australian fan Wendy Hansen. “Not to mention, Alex is an Aussie (we support our own) and Scott Caan steals the show with his incredible acting. The casting is brilliant all around!”
Vivienne Blaher, another Aussie fan, said “Five-0” is the “epitome of a classic drama with action and great comedic timing set in the most idyllic surroundings.”
Hawaiʻi fan Julie Mercer said the show celebrates “all the best things about my home — the stunning scenery and landmarks, the sense of ʻohana, and the aloha spirit. It’s the entire package!”
Fans mainly focused on relationships within the team, and of course, between McG (O’Loughlin) and Danno (Caan). The “bromance” shared between McG and Danno appears to be one of the main reasons fans tune in every week.
Montana fan Lynnette Janssen said, “First and foremost is my love of the Steve/Danny bromance. The characters are totally different in their upbringing and careers, and yet they have a complete understanding of what makes the other tick. They can be completely at odds with each other, but they can communicate with just a look. That’s a friendship forged from shared experiences and an undeniable trust in the other’s ability to “have your back, always!” For me, the bromance between Steve and Danny drew me in from the Pilot onwards.”
70% of the responses named the “bromance” shared between McG and Danno as one of their top three reasons for loving the show. 55% loved the ʻohana feeling shared between the team; 35% named both the bond between Danno and Gracie; 34% enjoy the stunts and action provided by the stunt crew and coordinator, Jeff Cadiente; and 30% love the scripts and storylines created by the terrific writing staff led by executive producer Peter Lenkov.
Their choice for overall favorite character, should not be a complete surprise. Steve McGarrett topped the list with 56% of the vote, with Danny “Danno” Williams next in line with 36% of the vote. While other characters were well respected and loved, fan love for Chin Ho, Kono, and Catherine did not come close to the McG and Danno numbers.
German fan Bianca Bost summed up Steve McGarrett rather well.
“He has it all. He’s a Navy SEAL, a tough guy, incredibly capable when it comes to weapons, fighting, and being a sailor, but he can also be loving and caring (especially around Grace, Cath or Mary),” she said. “He’s overcome heartache and pain and suffered a lot through the years, but he still fights for what he thinks is right. And of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s incredibly hot.”
Fans used the words “strong,” “charismatic,” “loyal” and “committed” to describe O’Loughlin’s McGarrett. Ernest Sanada of Gardena, Calif. said, “He’s the rock that holds his ʻohana together.”
The fan love for McGarrett was matched by the love for Danno, with quite a bit of emphasis on Danno’s relationship with his daughter, Gracie (Teilor Grubbs), as well as with his partner.
“He comes off very loyal and protective of his loved ones, but the main thing we learn about him is how much he adores his little girl,” said Bradley Martens of Bonney Lake, Wash. “Danno comes off as human, not afraid to show emotion. He loves Steve and Chin Ho as brothers, he loves Cath and Kono as sisters. He also thinks about repercussions of his actions, and of others — he’s got a big heart.”
Reading more than 100 very positive responses was wonderful for me, as it confirmed many of the conversations I’ve had over the years with fans. There’s a reason why “Hawaii Five-0” has had four successful seasons, and these were just a handful of folks who voiced their thoughts.
Terri Ferrara of Florida said, “I love the background stories of each character and the continuing personal stories keep evolving.”
Many fans mentioned watching the original “Hawaii Five-O” and how they wanted to watch the reboot to connect with parents and grandparents. Now they watch to connect with their friends, and in some cases, their children.
Ohio resident Candy Abrams attended all three “Sunset on the Beach” season premieres.
“For me, watching ‘Hawaii Five-0’ is like taking a mini-vacation to Hawaii every week,” she said. “During the winter months, watching takes me back to the beaches of Waikīkī.
“Not only do I love the show, I love the people I’ve met because of the show.”
“I’ve been able to connect with so many people who I now consider friends, which has brought so much happiness into my life,” said Australian fan Lydia Bresolin.
Valentine’s Day or not, fans still love “Hawaii Five-0” — and hopefully enough to keep the ratings high and see the show into a fifth season.
REDUX SIDE NOTE:
CBS will air another fan favorite episode on Wednesday when “Hookman,” guest starring Peter Weller, repeats.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.