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Could it be that with Hawaii Five-O’s fourth season, a third of the way into its remarkable '60s-'70s run, the show has gotten... well, cool? Actually, there are signs throughout this six-disc set of 24 digitally-remastered episodes that point to yes. Let’s not get carried away here; Five-O is still basically as square as Tiananmen and Trafalgar, and as long as Steve McGarrett (portrayed, as ever, by Jack Lord) is in charge, its groove factor will never rival that of, say, CSI: Miami, or any other glossy new millennium cop drama. Indeed, the show’s corniness and utter lack of irony remain integral to its charm. But there are a few interesting developments in this ’71-’72 season. There’s a good complement of snappy dialogue (one particularly large perp is "so big he could go bear-hunting with chopsticks"). And although the pacing can be pretty stodgy, the editing is a bit more deft; many scenes flow more naturally, and in at least one instance ("I Want Some Candy, and a Gun that Shoots," wherein a sniper is picking off cops on a coastal highway), the entire episode is more exciting than the Five-0 norm. The direction and lighting are also more stylish, while the music (not just Morton Stevens' classic theme song but the incidental sounds as well) and location scenery, two elements that have always been among the series’ strong suits, are as good as ever; in fact, the islands look so lush and inviting that one wonders why the bad guys can even get motivated to commit their dirty deeds. But they do, of course, and McGarrett and his faithful team (James MacArthur as Danno, Kam Fong as Chin Ho, and, in what remains one of the great TV credits ever, "Zulu as Kono") are there to stop 'em. This time around they’re dealing with everything from a big money travelers check scam ("3,000 Crooked Miles to Honolulu," with Jed Clampett... er, Buddy Ebsen as a guest villain), eco-terrorism ("Is This Any Way to Run a Paradise"), political assassination ("Rest in Peace, Somebody"), and racism-rape ("Skinhead"), along with the usual murders and encounters with Red Chinese nemesis Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh). McGarrett is for the most part still as stiff as his hair, but Lord occasionally displays considerable passion, as when he breaks down in tears upon being informed that a nasty car accident did not leave him paralyzed (in "The 90-Second War," a two-parter). As always, bonus material is limited to brief, previous-week promos for each episode.

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PA892074 Hawaii Five-0 4th Season DVD (1971/Jack Lord) $29.99 $26.99