Then: The original Hawaii Five-O, created by Leonard Freeman, with a fearless and socially astute staff and gifted cast, in association with CBS Television, broadcast from 1968 through 1980.
Now: Hawaii Five-0, re-created by Peter Lenkov, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, with their creative team of writers, talented cast and hardworking crew, with the blessing and assistance of Mrs. Leonard Freeman; also in association with CBS Television, may provide the original a run for that record.
Then: Mr. Freeman’s Hawaii Five-O unapologetically brought out personal, moral, ethical and cultural issues no previous dramatic or crime show touched upon. In that era of television, some aspects were a mystery and characters were not presented in depth.
Now: Mr. Lenkov’s Hawaii Five-0 unabashedly brings the multi-faceted relationship issues to the foreground while providing the same quality, if not a more subtle, social commentary, as the original. Utilizing the mystery arc throughout a number of shows in the season, he and his team more tightly weave into the fabric of the re-creation the influence of family and friends with more emotionally emphasized character dialogue. This creates a newer aspect and atmosphere more conducive to a broader and deeper show annex: character development and study.
Then: The State Police Unit Five-O, a fictional arm of law enforcement, investigated the crime and corruption of that era against the beautiful and panoramic backdrop of the state’s many phenomenal locations.
Now: The new State Task Force Five-O mirrors the same underlying theme, yet with the advent of digital cinema photography, Hawaii is even more a character now than she was then; her beauty more pronounced; or just more richly presented.
Then: The original Hawaii Five-O began in an era of change not only in this country, but the world. The show’s underlying intent was not strictly entertainment, but a statement on the issues of that time.
Now: The re-booted Hawaii Five-0 has done no less the same, respectfully reaching back to the original’s moral and ethical basis. It has re-booted the standard for looking into the changes as we have become more global; leading to another comparison: the multi-cultural team members.
Then: The groundbreaking original was one of the first shows to use as main characters a cast with varied ethnic backgrounds.
Now: The new show stretches even farther to include gender variances. While not a new concept in today’s television genre, rewriting the gender of one of the main characters is an uncommon practice.
The Freeman-Era Hawaii Five-O endeavored to utilize local artisans, actors, businesses and heritage-accurate guests to a higher degree than shows of its time.
The Lenkov-Era Hawaii Five-0 takes great pride in following that example in its employment, casting and hiring closer to the actual demographic and cultural foundation of the islands’ current population.
Then and now, we are presented with strong, multi-faceted, multi-cultural members of a cohesive team merging as an elite law enforcement unit; functioning, not dissimilarly, to a caring family.