By Ray Starmann
“Oh my God Magnum!”
Another reboot is coming to CBS this fall and my first reaction was Sergeant Major Jonathan Quayle Higgins’ famous expletive, “Oh, my God Magnum!”
CBS is attempting to resurrect one of the greatest character driven TV shows of all time, Magnum P.I., and thrust it into the dystopian, PC-driven, diversity obsessed world called 2018 America.
CBS’ first look trailer is like a constantly re-buffering Kafakesque nightmare that seeks to remind us that one; Hollywood has no one left who can write, Hollywood has no one left with any original ideas and Hollywood is run by left wing PC obsessed fools.
In the pilot episode, directed by Justin Lin of Fast and Furious fame, Magnum, played by Latino actor Jay Hernandez, is a highly decorated Navy SEAL who leaves the service and begins a career as a private investigator, while living on the Robin Masters estate. Sound familiar? That’s where the familiarity rapidly ends. In the first episode, Magnum’s SEAL buddy, Nuzzo, is murdered and Magnum is determined to find the killers.
In 1980, having a character as an ex-Navy SEAL was unique and frankly, cool. In 2018, every action figure on the screen is now an ex Navy SEAL, an active duty SEAL, or a SEAL wannabe. Apparently, there are no other US special operations units except the SEALs.
Jay Hernandez looks and sounds like a Latino-American. Which is fine if the show were called Lopez P.I. and the setting was Los Angeles. Instead of butchering a character, the CBS producers could have had the ingenuity to create a new series. But, that would have taken imagination.
The last time I checked, Thomas Sullivan Magnum isn’t exactly a name you’d associate with the Latino-American community. Thomas Sullivan Magnum is a name you’d associate with the Chesapeake Bay area, which is where Magnum grew up.
But, it’s 2018, and we have to all practice diversity, even if it means destroying our society and its entertainment mediums.
Perhaps they should have gone all the way and made Magnum a transgender Latino.
Worst of all, and something that is not only inexcusable, and what Don Corleone would call an infamita, Magnum is now sans moustache. Yes, that’s right, Magnum no longer has a moustache, but sports a half-assed Fu Man Chu that looks like it came right off the face of a 14 year old.
The new Magnum P.I. maintains the characters T.C. (Stephen Hill) and Rick, (Zachary Knighton) who are also veterans, like Magnum, of our current wars in the Middle East. According to Magnum, ‘Rick is a guy who can get things done.’ Especially, when Rick can get Magnum free valet parking for his Ferrari with Corinthian leather.
Where the show really goes off the rails, if it wasn’t already a total Ferrari wreck (actually 2 in the pilot), is in the casting of Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins. Yes, that’s right, Higgins is no longer a former British Army Sergeant-Major; a veteran of W.W. Deuce, the Suez Campaign, the Brush Wars and the Troubles, a man who knew everyone from the Queen to Rommel. Higgins is no longer a man, but a 95 lb., yoga pants wearing dominatrix who formerly worked for British Intelligence.
We’ve gone from toasting the Regiment and building a matchstick Bridge on the River Kwai, to a character who looks like a vegan chick shopping at Whole Foods with a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker on her Prius.
As with all modern TV shows and movies, Juliet Higgins, a size 2, is capable of dispatching half a dozen armed Spetsnaz commandos and MS-13 gang bangers, three times her weight and height with a mere karate chop.
In 2018, Magnum is not only hounded by the hounds, but hen-pecked 24/7 by a character with essentially none of the character and none of Jonathan Quayle Higgins’ backstory.
The new Magnum P.I. is missing a moustache, Hawaiian shirts, Tigers caps, military unit crest caps, a mobster named Icepick, a ruthless Marine Corps colonel named Decker and most sadly, the portly and always donuts bribable, Navy intel officer extraordinaire, Mac.
But, that’s only part of the reason the new Magnum P.I is a bloody shambles. The real reason the new Magnum P.I. is lousy is that the show completely lacks any realism that the old show emanated. Tom Selleck, looked and acted the part. You believed he was actually a Vietnam vet, who had served in Navy Intelligence and the SEALs, before the SEALs became a household product, tantamount with Jello and Ajax. Selleck’s character was human and that’s why we kept tuning in every week.
Hernandez looks like a Gap model who borrowed his dad’s Ferrari for the night.
Most importantly, Magnum P.I. was the first show that portrayed Vietnam vets as just normal guys who fought an unpopular war with incredible bravery. The camaraderie Magnum, Rick and T.C. experienced in the military transcended time. From the beginning, Vietnam vets flocked to the TV show, for no other reason than they could see a mirror of themselves, something they had never seen before from weirdo Hollywood.
Magnum, the Vietnam vet, represented youth in his appearance, demeanor and views of society and governmental institutions. This was juxtaposed with Higgins’ Greatest Generation formality and absolute trust in government and hierarchies.
Yet, the two, had a bond, the eternal bond all combat veterans share. What bond does Magnum have with Venice Beach Yogini Higgins?
The new Magnum P.I. is littered with car chases, ridiculous stunts, gun fights and obscenely cheesy lines that makes the pilot look like an hour long Fast and Furious Oahu trailer.
The Magnum P.I. reboot comes on the heels of the successful Hawaii 5-0 remake. But, Magnum is different. Hawaii 5-0 was a plot driven show more than anything. Magnum was a show where the plots were designed around the main character.
Time will tell if Generation Buttercup embraces the show. Millennials weren’t even crying in their first safe space, when the original Magnum pilot aired in 1980. But, the show offers a few things they’re used to: terrible acting and writing, politically correct characters and a plot line that is designed for a generation with the attention span of toddlers.
As for Tom Selleck, he’s washed his hands of this cluster. He wished the producers and cast well, but wanted nothing to do with it.
For good reason…