BY EDDIE KIM - So what should fans of popular TV remake “Hawaii Five-0” expect as the series begins production for the second season?
Well, more of the same, to begin with.
Producers and series writers Peter Lenkov and Paul Zbyszewski spoke with KHVH News Radio’s Mike Buck and emphasized that the foundations of the show would not change, including the mostly stand-alone format of the episodes (which begins and concludes a central plotline within the hour).
But while the general premise and style of “Hawaii Five-0” will remain, Lenkov and Zbyszewski noted that the show will explore newer avenues and address viewers’ concerns from the first season, particularly about realism surrounding the Five-0 squad’s choice of actions in criminal investigations.
“There’s going to be more accountability for the Five-0 team, especially because of the new governor,” Lenkov said.
Lenkov and Zbyszewski also mentioned newcomer Tom Sizemore, who will play the role of the new head of the law enforcement Internal Affairs division, and stated that the character will be “actively investigating” Steve McGarrett (portrayed by Alex O’ Loughlin) and his tactical decisions.
Even smaller roles, such as “Heroes” veteran Masi Oka’s character Dr. Max Bergman, will make a return to the series, this time as part of larger, more developed story arcs.
“We want to ‘grow the ohana’, and develop these smaller characters,” said Zbyszewski.
Other new features? Emmy Award-winning “Lost” star Terry O’ Quinn will join the cast as a Navy Seal Lt. commander who mentored McGarrett in the past, and the producers also promise that the second season will branch out into the neighbor islands, with Lenkoff stating that “the idea is really to explore the full landscape around here, not just Oahu”.
Both Zbyszewski admitted that “90 percent of the show is it’s setting in Hawaii,” and without a doubt, “Hawaii Five-0” has always played the landscape-eye-candy card with vigor. Lusty, quick-cut shots of turquoise coastlines, deep green mountain ranges and the sparkling downtown skyline, along with lingering frames of stunning island sunsets, have always been featured prominently in the show’s visual compositions.
“There are plenty of other shows that shoot in Hollywood and say it’s somewhere else,” said Zbyszewski. “We want to show viewers that you’re not going to get this picture of Hawaii anywhere else.”
Lenkov chimed in, agreeing. “We challenge ourselves to shoot scenes that look unlike anything else on TV,” he said. “We want the show to make you feel like you’re taking a vacation.”
Vicious explosions, high-speed pursuits and assassinations aside, the series’ picturesque portrayal of Hawaii has seemingly paid off. Georja Skinner, from the Creative Industries Division of the Hawaii Film Office, wrote in an email that “[‘Hawaii Five-0’] has contributed greatly to Hawaii’s tourism marketing efforts, creating increased global interest in the destination, through prime time television and online exposure”.
To encourage this activity, Hawaii Film Office offers incentives for productions such as “Hawaii Five-0” and others in the form of a 15-20 percent Motion Picture, Digital Media & Film Production income tax credit for companies that choose to work on the islands. According to Skinner, the shooting of a big TV production in Hawaii can bring large economic boosts to the state.
“On average a television series of 22 episodes brings in an estimated $60 million in economic activity per year. This doesn’t include the value of on air promotion, brand awareness and the ancillary marketing benefits, which in ‘Hawaii’s Five-0’s case are significant,” Skinner said, continuing on to mention that the series creates around 400 full time jobs for local residents.
With all that in mind, one can only hope that the second season will be a hit. Thankfully, the show’s formula looks to continue to be an effective one.
High-octane law enforcement action, featuring a memorable main cast, set in an irresistibly beautiful locale? Car chases, criminal intrigue, and a firearm-strapped Grace Park stalking bad guys in heels and a short dress?
Check, check and triple check. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine viewers tuning in for another season.
“Hawaii Five-0” premieres its second season on Monday, Sept. 19.