walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

miscellaneous video commentary

I sent the stash of Netflix DVDs that had been sitting around since before the move back, mostly unwatched, and shuffled the queue. This was great; I actually watched them. I made a slight mistake in getting X3, because I'd seen it on TV at some point, probably when we had premium channels in NH. The latest Star Trek movie was as good as everyone kept claiming it was, and an amazing homage to TOS, which for some reason I had not been expecting.

I also got the first disc of season 1 of Hawaii Five-O. I have been racking my brains trying to remember if my friend I. got me this as a set and I misplaced it, or if she had mentioned she thought about doing this and decided against it. I also remember B. mentioning to me that it was out on DVD quite a while ago. In any event, I made sure that came in the current batch so I could decide whether I wanted to seriously track this down (either in the house or to purchase/request as a gift).

The first disk has the two-hour pilot, which was really strange to watch. I'm still trying to figure out whether I've ever seen this before; I remember chunks of it, but parts seemed brand new. I'm wondering if it got recut into a one hour episode later? I haven't had time to track that down. In any event, watching it now forcefully reminded me how much this series owed its launch to Dr. No, and Jack Lord's role in it as CIA agent Felix Leiter. The show in general owed a lot more to the cop show genre, but its launch has a lot of elements that scream Spy!

Also, the pilot is just weak.

At least one of the other episodes on the disk was one I hadn't seen very often, if ever ("Strangers in our own land").

I watched the disk with some trepidation. I was seriously crushed out on Jack Lord when I was in college, and was very concerned that, like a much-loved book from adolescence, he and/or the show would not live up to a return at 40. I also knew that my perception of actors has changed a lot over time as well. Harrison Ford in Star Wars has gone from not young enough to be interesting to omghot! to god you're young, at least when I watch it. Bogey has gone from rough-and-tumble-old-guy to god-you're-going-to-die-young-you-smoke-so-much (without any noticeable impact on how sexy he seems, regardless of what age I am). Some shows I liked as a teenager (_V_ and _Scarecrow and Mrs. King_) now seems so overwhelmingly conservative that I find thinking about them upsetting. There was a real risk to going back to Honolulu in 1968.

But it was not only okay; it was so good I'm tempted to continue on through the whole series. Lord is still hot hot hot -- and, weirdly, I perceive him exactly the same way I used to -- and I still love the idea of the beat-poet, hippie-loving (if occasionally hippie-patronizing) peace officer whose hands are on everyone, all the time. He hugs and kisses his secretary (which ought to piss me off more than it does), and when he shakes someone's hand, it's because he doesn't feel particularly close to them. The amount of back slapping and so on is stunning.

The diverse cast has problems: there's some real stereotyping going on (some of the lines they give Chin Ho, in particular, are cringe inducing). But it's awesome to see Pacific Islanders and a Chinese guy getting as much or more screen time than the secondary white guy. A woman cop shows up in an early episode (one I remembered), and while Danny is overprotective and not inclined to let her be the cop she is on an undercover job, MacGarrett is very clear that he respects her skills and expects her to do the job and do it well. He's protective too -- but he's protective of a lot of people, male and female.

I know part of the attraction here was the vast power that Lord's character wields: people who don't officially answer to him tend to go along with anything he cares a lot about, knowing that anything else is going to buy them a lot more trouble than it might ever be worth, and that he's probably right about whatever he's gotten into a twist about anyway. I doubt I would have been as conscious ten years ago, however, to how amazingly polite he is about bending everyone to his will.

Now, of course, someone will pop up and say, but R., you harped on that endlessly at the time.

In any event, an extremely pleasant few hours. Don't trust that it would be for you; clearly, this is a show that's got my number.
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