Isles have much more than '5-0' to offer TV
By Wayne Harada
May is the month that the TV networks reveal the shows that will be part of the fall viewing landscape. Over the decades, Hawaii has had an ongoing tradition of hosting an Island-shot series.
So any day now, the lone prospect for us — CBS' reboot of "Hawaii Five-0," with Alex McLoughlin taking over the Detective Steve McGarrett role originated by the late Jack Lord — might get the green light. Industry buzz on the pilot has been positive, if online blogs are an indication. Book 'em, Danno.
Locals are somewhat discouraged by the lack of aloha and Hawaii personalities in the overall landscape; the network is seeking and skewing toward a younger, hip audience and players.
Sure, Daniel Dae Kim, a transplanted local now via his residency during ABC's "Lost," is a local-looking dude as Chin Ho.
But folks who live here surely had hoped for the neighborly charm of having the likes of Kam Fong Chun, Al Harrington, Zulu, Harry Endo, Glenn Cannon, Doug Mossman and others in recurring roles, since they lived down the block or in your condo, shopped at your supermarket, dined at your favorite chow palace, and sat in the row in front of you at a stage production.
Beyond "Five-0," Hawaii should pitch for shows with stars that will live and work here, move about and blend into the community, like the rest of us.
And while we're at it, how about these 12 imagined prospects?
• "Law and Order: Honolulu," a Pacific spinoff of the NBC franchise. We have oceans of crime, as fascinating as New York's, and a police and judicial system with United Nations faces.
• "NCIS: Honolulu," a Pacific version of the CBS goldmine. Focused on Pearl Harbor, the arc of naval probes of wrongdoing tapping both the civilian and military populations here could have conflicted collisions with Army and Air Force elements.
•"Funrise," a comedy anchored at a TV station, about the on- and off-the-air trysts and tribulations of delivering the news, traffic and weather on a morning show laden with guest celebs, cooking demos gone wrong, tracking down and racing for stories and, yes, anchor horn-tooting. Think "Anchorman in Alohaland," with ham, Spam and craziness.
• "Waikíkí," a comedy of candor and challenges of working in the tourist belt — drug busts at the International Market Place, romance on Kuhio Beach, animal poaching at Honolulu Zoo and homelessness on and around the Ala Wai Canal.
•"808: So You Think You Can Skate," a reality show of skateboarding wizards competing in a new rink configured in the space that now is the Waikíkí Natatorium.
• "Salon Pilots," a comedy set in a beauty parlor, where a gay hairdresser hires a former airline pilot with cutting skills. When you let your hair down, only your hairdresser knows for sure.
• "Hawaiian Nation," a drama rooted in history, where factions from Nanakuli and Waimanalo clash to remake Hawaii as a monarchial nation.
• "Halau," an exploration of 25 dancers — some skilled, some not — with a cross section of daytime jobs who find emotional nourishment and personal expression when they learn and dance hula from a temperamental kumu. Their big goal is to make it to the Merrie Monarch Festival, but sometimes life gets in the way of dance.
• "Blue Hawaii," about a rocker who looks like Elvis, sings like Elvis, and thinks he's Elvis — but works as a stevedore on the waterfront. Blue-collar blues, with interludes where he sings The King's anthems each week for his wife, Priscilla — "Love Me Tender," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Rock-a-Hula."
• "Found," about dazed and confused survivors of a plane crash at Kalaupapa, Molokai, with a plot with more twists and turns than the Hana Highway on Maui, with both flashbacks and flash-forwards (yes, and sideways, too) that defy logic and juxtapose time. Unlike "Lost," they don't want to be found.
•"CSI: Honolulu," another spinoff extolling crime scene investigations with a tropical flavor with shark attacks, cockfights, rail debate, and tough-to-resolve Hawaiian sovereignty and furlough Fridays issues.
• "Pili Kia," a comedy about a fame-hungry mom who gets elected governor (she can see Niihau), whose pastime is flashing "shaka" signs. Her husband, Ainokea Kia, doesn't give a rip.