TV Review – Magnum P.I. (2018)
Donald P. Bellisario is a very, very successful TV producer. He created a lot of hit TV shows in his time and has particularly been a cash cow for CBS. He gave the network JAG in 1997 and its spin-off series NCIS in 2003. There have since been two successful spin-off series from NCIS. It seems as if Bellisario is the gift that keeps on giving to CBS.
Bellisario, along with Glen A. Larson (Knight Rider and Quincy, M. E.), created the series Magnum P.I. in 1980. It was itself a kind of spin-off of Hawaii Five-O, which ran from 1968 to 1980. It was set in the same locations and referenced certain characters. Magnum P.I. ended in 1988, but as is the trend for all the broadcast networks, that show became fodder for a recycling of ideas rather than coming up with new ones.
It’s nothing if not predictable. CBS rebooted Hawaii Five-O (2010) 30 years after the original ended. Why not have that show’s spin-off also be rebooted 30 years later? This is exactly what CBS did. Developed by Peter M. Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim, both of whom were writers on the 2010 reboot, the characterizations are basically a copy-and-paste job with only minor changes like a gender swap, but otherwise there’s nothing compelling here.
There’s really only a couple of things of interest. Justin Lin is a producer and director on this series. Lin is the Taiwanese filmmaker responsible for directing four of The Fast and the Furious films, as well as the last Star Trek film in 2016, which were all action-packed. CBS obviously shelled out a lot of money to make this series lead with its action, including but not limited to car chases, martial arts, gun fights and huge explosions, as well as tons of bloody corpses, and even a space jump.
CBS hopes that the same people that go see The Fast and the Furious films will tune-in to see Magnum P.I. Its macho, adrenaline-fueled and lavish visuals set up the series to be beautiful but mind-numbing, not so clever and mostly bravado. The reboot of Hawaii Five-O has certainly become something similar. Its notable for its over-the-top action. Yet, along with the excitement, both reboots boast a diverse cast.
Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad and Friday Night Lights) stars as Thomas Magnum. It’s not played up so far, but Hernandez is Mexican-American and given the Hawaii locale, the series makes great use of the Asian population. However, Thomas is the slick, military guy with the cool, sexy swagger who solves crimes. He certainly looks good no matter what he does whether it’s getting out the shower or it’s jumping from a Ferrari and into a helicopter. It’ll be interesting to see if they delve into his history as a soldier more and develop some point-of-view other than rah-rah military. If not, Hernandez will just be a glorified stunt-man or at least the pretty face to a lot of action set-pieces.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBS.