L-R: Stephen Hill as Theodore "TC" Calvin
Zachary Knighton as Orville "Rick" Wright and
Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum (Photo: Karen Neal/CBS)
Total disclosure: of the eight seasons that it was on, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single episode of the original Magnum P.I. What I do know of the show is that it was filmed in Hawaii, the Red Ferrari, Higgins, Tom Selleck’s moustache and the iconic theme song. With the new version that airs tonight, all of the above are there – except for the stache. And Higgins is now a woman. And the theme song is now a ten second sound byte. Anyway…
So since I don’t know much about the original series, this review won’t be comparing the two and instead focus on tonight’s pilot episode. Jay Hernandez plays the new Thomas Magnum who is a decorated former Navy SEAL who once served in Afghanistan with Theodore “TC” Calvin (Stephen Hill) who was a marine chopper pilot but now runs the Island Hoppers tour business and Orville “Rick” Wright (Zachary Knighton) the former “Marine door-gunner-turned-impresario of Oahu’s coolest nightclub” as CBS likes to put it. It goes without saying that today, Magnum serves as a private eye. He lives in the guest house on Robin’s Nest, the beautiful estate of a famous writer. Here he serves as a security consultant. The property’s manager is the disavowed MI:6 Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks) who tries to keep Magnum in line with the help of two Dobermans Zeus and Apollo.
Much like Selleck’s take on the character, Hernandez’ Magnum and super likable. Even so, it appears that he annoys a lot of people including Higgins. Perhaps it’s his sweet talk and big smile that helps him get away with things, but honestly, this guy is so nice, you have to wonder why he has so many enemies. Even so, before the episode is halfway over, Higgin’s cold heart begins to melt.
Like CBS’ Instinct, The new Magnum P.I. is a throwback to when TV had heroes who were good through and through you could believe in them. Magnum’s had a hard life up until this point, but he’s not a tortured soul living in paradise. Despite the fact that the show is on at 9:00 p.m., this show even appears to be family-friendly, but don’t hold me to it. The pilot’s episode of Magnum is entertaining enough (complete with car chases and crashes) but my only real complaint (and it’s a minor one) is that so much of it plays out super cheery. I actually prefer it to super dark and tragic, but some things just don’t ring true. Still, it’s great to see CBS going away from gruesome murder series like Criminal Minds and embracing more upbeat fare like this.
Magnum P.I. airs on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on CBS.