Thursday, September 27, 2018

Pilot Review: Magnum, P.I.

Magnum, P.I. (CBS)
Premiered September 24 at 9pm

Television today is almost drowning in a sea of remakes, reboots, and continuations. This is the first to premiere this fall that counts as a standard remake, taking a very popular show that finished airing three full decades ago and trying it again for a new audience. I never watched the original series, mainly because I was less than two months old when it went off the air, and my mom has never been a fan of Tom Selleck. I think I first encountered Jay Hernandez on the very short-lived show “Six Degrees,” and since then, he starred on other brief series like “Gang Related” and “Last Resort.” He was also on “Nashville” and is probably most famous for his breakout film, “Hostel,” which I have absolutely no interest in ever seeing. He’s considerably more charismatic than I remember him being in the past as the fearless lead here, doing the impossible without even breaking a sweat. He’s joined by Zachary Knighton, whose last dramatic effort was “Flash Forward” and who has appeared on many comedies, including “Happy Endings,” since then. I also recognized Domenick Lombardozzi, from “Entourage” and other fare, as Nuzo, who didn’t survive this episode, and James Remar of “Dexter” as Captain Green, who really doesn’t like him. Almost everything about this show is incredibly over-the-top, and I think half of the production budget must go to destroying fancy cars, a bad habit that Magnum indulges all too often. It could be fun, but it’s all a bit hard to take seriously.

How will it work as a series? The framework is pretty clear – Magnum is going to get hired by someone in every episode to work on a case and somehow manage to outsmart local law enforcement and the criminals who dare to challenge him. There should be at least two cars destroyed in the course of every hour and a whole lot of action in the process. It’s formulaic but, again, could be enjoyable.
How long will it last? Reviews and audience reactions seem to be less than enthusiastic, but with CBS, it’s all about the ratings. The network has hoping for a bigger splash reliant in part on positive regard for the original series, and while its numbers aren’t entirely damning, I don’t think that this expensive series is ultimately going to be worth a second season.

Pilot grade: C+

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