Jay Hernandez is NOT Tom Selleck (and he never said he was).
He’s likable, sure, but he doesn’t have Selleck’s 80s era charm, delivery, and smooth ability to break the fourth wall. That has stopped the series from relaunching late last year and coming home on DVD today.
I had always made the argument that if you were going to reboot or continue Magnum, you do it with his daughter. The characters already exist, it allows you to gender flip the lead, and leaves the door open for guest appearances from the original cast, while developing a new series around new characters.
They didn’t listen to me, and went with this, rebooted the universe, and instead gender flipped Higgins (Perdita Weeks) to add some sexual tension to the Magnum-Higgins relationship.
Weeks shines as Higgins (gender flipping this role stirred up the fans, and yet she proves herself over the course of the first season), and the series is very much its own thing, but it steps in some very familiar places and encountering some names fans will recall from the original show.
This time around Thomas is a retired SEAL who did some time in Afghanistan along with Rick (Zachary Knighton) and T.C. (Stephen Hill). He is in Hawaii, working as a security consultant much to Higgins’ chagrin, for novelist Robin Masters’ estate. But of course he also works as a private investigator, which, much like the original series, lets us see the beauty of Hawaii and dig into a plethora of cases, mysteries and trouble, just like Selleck’s Magnum.
With his friends at his side, and Robin’s brand new Ferrari that he borrows on occasion, Thomas entertains in a way that nods to the original while trying to find its own place.
Taken as a while, the first season is fun, features a nice appearance by Roger E. Mosley, the original T.C., and over the course of twenty episodes, some of us original fans come round. The series has arcs that run through the episodes as well as a level of continuity that is necessary for television these days.
The five disc set also comes loaded with an hour’s worth of extras, a look at the events of the first season with writers and actors, the series launch promos, a look at the scoring of the series which incorporates the brilliant original theme by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. There is also a look at new characters Kumu (Amy Hill) and Katsumoto (Tim Kang) which fill out the cast nicely, and add to the fun. Kumu works Masters’ estate, and is defined as the essence of Hawaii, while Katsumoto is the cop, not quite in the vein of Kwan Hi Lim’s Tanaka but ends up being a great foil for Magnum as he stands by the law. Finally, there’s a look at Hernandez’s Magnum photo shoot for Watch! magazine, and a very enjoyable gag reel.
Selleck will always be my Magnum, but there is definitely an enjoyable sense of fun to the series, and I’ll be curious to watch it grow into its own thing. And honestly what better way for fans to decide for sure than by binge watching the brand new DVD set from Paramount Pictrures.
It’s available today, and you can settle in and enjoy the new take, on an 80s classic.