The Good

Few TV shows are deserving of a 7 disc set but this one is and more.

The Bad

Sparse extra features.

Hawaii Five-O: The Complete First Season is a 7 disc set containing all 24 episodes from the first season of this great show. Jack Lord led the charge as the tough, smart and honest police officer Steve McGarrett. Aiding him in his meticulous work were such agents as Danny "Danno" Williams (James MacArthur) and Detectives Chin (Kam Fong), Lukela (Herman Wademeyer) and Kono (Zulu). No matter what the case was, no matter where the events had gone down, once McGarrett and his team showed up, they would start asking questions, examining the scene, and eventually enough leads were derived that they could solve the case.

This release is packed with gems but some of the standouts were "Strangers In Our Own Land" which sees McGarrett and Co. on the case when a car bombing turns out to be politically motivated. "King of the Hill" seems to be an early look at the effects of the Vietnam war on American soldiers. In this episode, Danno helps an injured Marine only to have that Marine turn on him. Once again, McGarrett and Co. are called to save the day. Lastly, the two parter "Once Upon A Time" sees a case hit close to home when McGarrett finds out that a fake doctor is bilking his sister of thousands of dollars to help her sick son.

If you want to see great television with great writing, acting, and music you need look no further than Hawaii Five-O: The Complete First Season. There are many pretenders to the throne, some of them quite good, but none are as well done as this one.

Features

Cocoon - Pilot Episode

From what I understand, Cocoon was a movie first and then it was recut into a two part episode that actually closed out this first season. Introducing us to Wo Fat for the first time, we see how McGarrett goes outside the law when he doesn't believe that his friend died in a swimming accident. Lord and Co. always seemed to have it as there doesn't appear to be any growing pains between the cast on this maiden show. This is must viewing for lovers of Hawaii Five-O.

Emme's Island Moments - Memories of Hawaii Five-O

Made in 1996, this older featurette originally played in Hawaii. Emme Tomimbang and co-host James MacArthur take us down memory lane with many of the cast members, as they discuss making this show, shooting it on location in Hawaii, the subject matter, and what the late Jack Lord was like to work with. While I thought at times Emme sort of held the viewers hand too much as we are watching this (or she spoke too much during the interviews she was conducting), I was glad to watch this featurette as I learned things about this show that I never knew before.

Video

Full Frame - These shows look a tad grainy when they air during the week on KDOC, but they have been compressed really well on DVD. I didn't notice any of the ghost images that sometimes happen, or the "70s smear" that can accompany some older shows. Hawaii Five-O employed a lot of cool camera moves and editing. For it's time it may look a tad dated now, but when you examine the shows it is amazing how much the camera moved. Some might say this was a precursor to later police shows like Hill Street Blues.

Audio

Dolby Digital: English Mono - Spanish Mono. Subtitled in Spanish, Brazilian and Portuguese. These shows sound really solid but the standout for every show is the music. Yes, the Hawaii Five-O theme is quite catchy, but I am talking about the organ/synthesizer-type scores. They add an almost chilling element to what we are seeing on screen, and they allow us to get into the heads of all the characters.

Package

Jack Lord, with that perfect McGarrett hair takes up a lot of this cover, with some shots of his team alongside him. In the background is that iconic shot of the wave that opened each show. The back contains more pictures of the officers on the job, a description of what this show is about, a Special Feature listing, and on the bottom of this box are technical specs. The seven discs are neatly stored in four cases, that all have the same front cover as the slipcase that houses them. The back cover lists out each episode, it's airdate, and they also show off more pictures. Once again, Paramount has taken what could have been a bulky, cumbersome release and made it easy to manage.

Final Word

I was so excited when I found out that this show was coming to DVD. It started in 1968 and ran until 1980. I have been watching this show on KDOC for years, and it's easy to see what people liked about it. This show was able to put so much information into one hour. This might have had something to do with the nature of the cases, the fact that there were multiple storylines, but I am always beside myself at how much they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time. All the acting is top notch and the people who play McGarrett's foils all seem unbeatable. This show had no qualms about presenting them that way even until the final few minutes of a show. Yes, McGarrett always seemed to get his man or be able to say "Book 'em, Danno," but I never felt that Hawaii Five-O manufactured it's ending or manipulated it's audience.

This show also had a coldness about itself that really worked for it. Oftentimes we see Steve McGarrett do things he doesn't want to do, say things he doesn't want to say, yet in his actions we are able to see the humanity of justice. The fact that actually seeing this is so rare is what I think kept this show on through 3 decades.

Hawaii Five-O was released .