Magnum P.I. has a way to go before it is good, but it isn't bad either
Magnum P.I. without Tom Selleck and Donald P. Bellisario sounds like an interesting thought, but something really tough to pull off. But this new CBS show may have what it takes, at least to stay for the rest of the season.
Something to note, the original Magnum P.I. was a staple in my childhood home and the principal of my Catholic school, Sister Kathleen had a Tom Selleck calendar on the wall of her office. I'm not kidding. So, the reboot reeked of heresy, but it surprised me because it didn't suck.
Now the reboot has the same basic premise as the original. Former Navy SEAL turned Private Investigator (don't call Thomas Magnum a Private Eye a running joke that was stale before the second mention) who lives in the guest house of a palatial Hawaiian estate owned by a mysterious writer whom we haven't met, but is managed by a somewhat helpful property manager who has a couple of fierce Doberman pincers who seem to like every other decent person except for Magnum. He is surrounded by his former military colleagues who are all successful in their own businesses but are reliable resources and beloved friends.
He is shown to like kids, care about truth, justice, the American way, Ferraris and the Detroit Tigers. The show doesn't take itself too seriously, even though there are some decent dramatic moments. I'm guessing Magnum will be a ladies.' man, but that didn't really come to fruition in the pilot.
The diverse cast has chemistry. Jay Hernandez is Thomas Magnum, Perdita Weeks is Juliet Higgins, Zachary Knighton is Orville “Rick” Wright, Stephen Hill is Theodore “TC” Calvin is Tim Kang is Det. Gordon Katsumoto and James Remar stared in the pilot playing the Colonel. As Remar isn't mentioned too much in the press, I'm not sure if he is there to stay, but it would be a pity to lose him.
So, if you are looking for spoilers, you aren't going to get many regarding the pilot.
We get a basic roadmap of how the characters know each other. In fact, it is told directly in voiceover during the first few minutes. We don't know much about them beyond the rudimentary character development. A friend of Magnum and the other guys is killed and they all work together to solve the crime. In the meantime, Magnum is sweet to a kid, gets chased by the dogs and destroys a Ferrari or two before solving the crime.
What could have been too campy and too filled with explosives and action sequences used restraint. A couple of the actors are a bit stiff, but they may find their voice within an episode or two, so I will give them a break, for now.
I will say that Jay Hernandez has some swagger as Thomas Magnum and Perdita Weeks' Higgins not only kicks ass, but they also have some serious chemistry as friends and maybe something else. That didn't happen in the Tom Selleck version and it might make for an interesting change.
I look forward to seeing where this series will go, at least for the next few weeks.
Magnum P.I. is on CBS on Monday nights.