September 23, 2019  (Web Review)

Magnum P.I.: Season One

Paramount, 5 discs, 840 min., not rated, DVD: $49.99

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

Having struck gold—or at least bronze—with a reboot of its long-running 1970s cop show Hawaii Five-0, CBS has tried the same trick with its ‘80s hit set on the islands, and the result is another unexceptional action potboiler. In the earlier incarnation, private investigator Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) was a former naval intelligence officer who had a cushy life providing security on a lush estate presided over by stuffy butler Higgins (John Hillerman), and taking on extra work that would not interfere overmuch with his dating beautiful women. The updated Magnum is a former Navy SEAL played by Jay Hernandez, who lacks Selleck’s gruff charisma but is blandly engaging and handles the role’s physical demands well enough. The master of the estate is now Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks), an erstwhile MI6 operative who can get involved in the action while also serving as a potential romantic interest. And the typical stock company of friends and rivals are on hand. The season starts out with a bang with a pilot directed energetically by Justin Lin, although the remainder settles into a fairly predictable case-a-week rut (a couple episodes involve Magnum’s ex-girlfriend, a former CIA analyst played by Jordana Brewster). The plots are often rudimentary and the dialogue clunky, but the scenery provides ample compensation. Overall the new Magnum P.I. is serviceable but cannot compete with nostalgic memories of its namesake. Presenting all 20 episodes from the 2018-19 debut season, extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes, extended scenes, and a gag reel. A strong optional purchase. (F. Swietek)