Filmed entirely on location in Hawaii, the show followed Jack Lord as he played Steve McGarrett, head of an elite state police unit investigating "organized crime, murder, assassination attempts, foreign agents, felonies o... more »f every type." James MacArthur played his second-in-command Danny ("Danno") Williams, with local actors Kam Fong, Zulu, Al Harrington, and Herman Wedemeyer, among others, playing members of the Five-O team.« less
Rachel M. (Angelsgirl) from WILLOW SPRING, NC Reviewed on 7/27/2017...
I love this first season. Jack Lord is fabulous and they hit emotional buttons in this season that most series won't do until fourth or fifth seasons. Great writing and acting.
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Welcome to the Aloha State
James Ferguson | Vilnius, Lithuania | 01/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With one of the most recognizable theme songs in television history, Hawaii Five-O literally burst onto the television screen with its rapid fire montage of opening credits and a brisk pace to its action that was unusual at the time. It served as a counter punch to the lazy images of Hawaiians basking in the sun, by revealing a complex world of crime that swirled around Honolulu like a cyclone. It was up to Steve McGarrett and his boys to rid the island of these unwanted elements, with Wo Fat being his most memorable nemesis. The show may not have been the first to showcase local talent, but it had a strong cast made up of Americans and Asians that presaged the multi-ethnic crime dramas of the late 70s and 80s. It goes without saying that it was the inspiration for Miami Vice, but this was no pastel color version of Honolulu. You can forget Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles. McGarret looked more like a hardnosed FBI agent than he did the chief detective, running his crew like drill sergeant. James MacArthur may have seemed a little soft but he provided the necessary relief to Lord's hardboiled command. Kam Fong played the memorable Chin Ho through most of the series, which lasted 12 years. An incredible run!"
Book This on Your Spring-Cleaning List
Rick | Hong Kong, China | 12/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1st Season is set to be released just about spring cleaning time. What a great break from putting back the screens and sorting the attic. But this DVD version promises to be more than a diversion, as was the original TV series. For those of you who are too young to have watched it, Hawaii Five-0 remains the longest running cop show (1968-80)--and for good reason. It combined crisp script-writing that followed "The Formula" with some of the first on-locale shooting, superb production elements from Leonard Freeman and his seasoned crew, and the consistent professionalism of its star, Jack Lord. As noted elsewhere here, the opening sequence (a montage of Polynesian enticement intermingled with modern Honolulu, to the tune of The Ventura's big instrumental hit) itself is a stirring sequence and indeed won an Emmy for its editing.
To be sure, the acting is at times wooden, stiff to the point of making caricatures of the actors, but as the series developed, so too did the characters, endearing themselves to loyal viewers. Much has been made of the scenery, or rather the local setting, and how it enhanced the plot line. (The DVD format will no doubt bring a richer texture and sharper definition to the setting which the VHS format could never do). And it is worth noting that Freeman insisted on filming this on-location in Hawaii, an initially costly calculation that introduced the Aloha State to countless millions of viewers, and literally loaded the state coffers with tourist dollars.
Still uncertain as to whether to buy? Then consider the fact that Hawaii Five-0 has been in syndication for decades and shows no signs of waning interest. The number of fan websites devoted to the series is testament enough. In Germany and elsewhere, it has an almost cult following rivaling the Bond films and in Paradise itself it is almost a rite of passage for many locals. Sure, much has been made of how the locals were used in this TV series but considering when it ran it was far ahead of its time. The series also gave a start to many local acting careers and its cast frequently sponsored or otherwise underwrote many local dramatic productions. A genuine man of principles like the character he portrayed--he was quietly active in local philanthropy--Jack Lord himself loved the islands and its people, which actually reveals itself with poignancy in some of scenes.
The show was not afraid to confront issues of the day head-on. Of course many of those concerns might seem trite from today's vantage point but others remain pressing: a soldier returning from war (in this case Vietnam), another soldier unable to shake the bitterness of another war (with Japan), environmental protectionism, the usurpation of Hawaiian culture and the destructive power of youth drug culture, and crime in general.
I look forward to reliving a portion of my adolescence when viewing this DVD. It will also be refreshing to hear dialogue that in unabashedly candid if at times a little corny and stilted, and written without the need to circumvent the censor. For despite being a cop show, it is unrated and therefore appropriate for older children to watch. It has little in the way of gratuitious or graphic violence and the language isn't a torrent of expletives. Sure, there was never a special state police force, but it bears mentioning that HPD headquarters actually includes a small museum as a lasting tribute to the show.
Now, if you happen to know the show well, you don't need my exhortations. And you won't think me odd to admit that on occasion when I stroll past Iolani Palace or the Ilikai Hotel, I make an upward glance, to see if McGarrett is looking through the blinds or leaning over the balcony rail with that trademark grin of his."
Superb Rendition of a Great Series
D. Darienzo | Louisville, KY United States | 03/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have long been waiting for H5O to come out on dvd. (I mean, come on we have 6 seasons of Magnum P.I. now...) After watching my almost 20 year old VHS tapes made from tv I can say these dvd's blow me away with the clean crisp prints and excellent sound. This show was groundbreaking in that it was shot comepletely on location in Hawaii, something that was very expensive to do, and who can ever forget that theme music.
Season 1 has several great episodes and the pilot episode a 96 minute one called "Cocoon" is very chilling. Some of the standout episodes from this season are the pilot one, And They Painted Daisies On His Coffin, By The Numbers, Yesterday Died and Tomorrow Won't Be Born, King Of The Hill, and The Box. Two of these have Gavin McLeod playing the role of drug kingpin "Big Chicken" and he does it very well.
The only extra is a nice one. It is a special from 1996 filmed in Hawaii with James MacArthur as co-host. Sadly most of the stars of H5O have passed on since this was taped but it is a very interesting and informative special with a nice tribute to Jack Lord. My biggest wish is that James MacArthur had done some commentary for a few episodes, mostly King Of The Hill and And They Painted Daisies On His Coffin, as these were very piviotal episodes based on his character Danno.
If you are a fan of this show (or 1960's cop shows in general) be sure to pick it up you will not be dissapointed. Hopefully we won't have to wait twelve years to have all twelve seasons on dvd. Last note, all the epidoes apprear unedited and run approximately 51 minutes and all music seems to be intact including sevreal night club numbers sung by various guest stars on the show. Kudos to CBS for clearing the music rights for this show."
A true TV-crime classic enjoys a spectacular debut on DVD!
J. Herman | Denver, CO | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the greatest and longest-running shows of all time, Hawaii Five-0 has been long-ignored by TV-DVD makers for years, forcing fans to wear out their videotape copies of the grainy, washed-out, cut-for-syndication episodes that have aired continuously around the world since the show left network TV in 1980. Fortunately, the folks at CBS-Paramount decided the time had come to make this show available to DVD fans, and they have knocked this one out of the park!
The episodes in this set look fantastic in all their digitally-remastered and uncut glory. These shows have never appeared so clear and vibrant, with nary a speck of dirt or grit appearing on the prints. The only episode that appears to not have gotten the remastering treatment is "Six Kilos", which still looks better than it ever has in syndication (where it was curiously hard to find in rotation). The episodes, with a great range of guest stars including Leslie Nielsen, Gavin MacLeod (as a vicious drug dealer), Yaphet Kotto and Ricardo Montalban, appear every bit as modern and relevant as any current network television show airing today, despite the fact that it is almost 40 years old. The packaging and menus also get high marks, some of the best I've ever seen among older shows on DVD. This set was clearly put together by a group of people at Paramount who have genuine love for the show.
In the meantime, I just finished viewing the Emme's Island Memories documentary on disc 7, and it was wonderful that they were able to get so many of the cast and crew on camera recounting their memories of the show. It's especially touching knowing that so many of them have passed away since, and that their thoughts on the show will be preserved for all to enjoy for many years to come. I defy any true fan of the show not to get a lump in their throat when they get to the Jack Lord tribute in the show.
This is a set that deserves a place in anyone's home who is a fan of great TV cop shows, or just quality programs in general. Based on the Amazon rankings and sell-out status in stores, here's hoping Season 2 is not far away!"
Classic series finally surfaces on DVD.
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jack Lord's classic series finally arrives on DVD. It looks great! Colors are bright and vibrant and we actually get a solid extra. "Hawaii Five-O" ran from 1968 to 1980 and was a fixture on CBS' schedule pulling in solid ratings throughout that time. Lord played former Navy officer Steve McGarrett who dealt with all manner of scum in the 50th State. As someone else pointed out, this is the granddaddy of the modern procedural show (along with some of Jack Webb's series)and, no doubt, inspired such shows as the "CSI" franchise.
This set has the original uncut 90+ minute pilot (which was cut into two episodes during syndication)as well as the entire uncut first season of the series. We also get "Emme's Island Moments: Memories of "Hawaii Five-O" a locally but professionally produced behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the show which features interviews with cast and crew members.
Paramount has done a terrific job with this set. I say "Buy 'em Danno!""