As a fan of the TV show CASTLE, I loved that the pilot episode of MAGNUM PI (2018) started with the characters reading the exploits of themselves in a book. It explained how it was we first saw Thomas Magnum in space, skydiving into North Korea.
And served as a teaser for what was a perfectly fine hour of television, especially on a Monday night.
Now, I’m of an age where I remember the original with Tom Selleck. However, I was not an avid watcher of the program. I knew the basics: Magnum was a veteran who lived in Hawaii, had a job as a private investigator, and lived in the home of Robin Masters, a mysterious figure we never saw and the only connection was Higgins, the caretaker of the estate. In the original version, Higgins was played by Texan John Hillerman, doing a great British accent. With Magnum were two pals from his time in Vietnam and they shared in Magnum’s adventures.
Magnum PI 2018 is pretty much the same thing except we get a real British person playing Higgins, Perdita Weeks (sister of Honeysuckle Weeks of Foyle’s War). The gender swap will likely lead to some romantic tension between the two characters. Yes, that will change the dynamic, but that isn’t a bad thing. While I pretty much envision Magnum and Higgins to pair up after a while, they could always go the route of TV’s ELEMENTARY, where Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson respected each other but never hooked up. It can happen.
The pilot episode showed what was updated and what wasn’t. The coolest thing that was kept was the theme song and the typical 80s-era credits sequence. I dug it. Now, Magnum and his three friends are veterans of Afghanistan. It was when one of their number is kidnapped and killed that Magnum–played by Jay Hernandez–Rick (Zachary Knighton) and TC (Stephen Hill) join forces and bring the bad guys to justice. In addition to the gender swap, Higgins is also former MI-6 (disavowed), so she called in favors to help locate a missing truck, and she kicked some bad guy butt along the way. Natch. The action was fun and over-the-top, but what were you expecting?
I expected a fun, light romp to replace the Monday night vacancy voided by ELEMENTARY. Magnum PI might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as someone who doesn’t remember much of the material from the original, I’m good with the show.