LB sees the new ‘Magnum, P.I.’


by Larry Brody

Sorry, kids, but there’s no other way to put it: CBS’s new version of Magnum, P.I. isn’t your father’s Magnum…and it shouldn’t be yours either.


  • Hawaii’s a very good looking place. (At least it was pre the last hurricane to come close to the islands.) Just like in the original.
  • There’s a guy named Thomas Magnum in most of the scenes of the show and he lives on some other guy’s big estate and drives that other guy’s Ferrari. Just like in the original.
  • There’s a character named Higgins running the estate and keeping track of Magnum. Just like in the original.
  • Magnum’s old friends hang out with him and provide the kind of help he needs whenever he needs it. Just like in the original.
  • Lots of repartee. Just like in the original.


  • As good looking as it is, there’s nothing special about this show’s Hawaii because not only have we seen it before on the earlier version of Magnum, we’re also seeing it now if we watch the tattered, tired, and tiring reboot of CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 reboot. In fact, CBS has proudly proclaimed that this Hawaii is in fact the same Hawaii as that one…and that we’ll be seeing  the characters of the shows interact with each other or solve crimes together – or something.
  • This Thomas Magnum isn’t played by Tom Selleck but by Jay Hernandez, who’s a fine, sturdy specimen of manhood who isn’t anywhere near as interesting, charismatic, funny, exciting as Selleck – and that isn’t necessarily his fault. The new dood just plain has nothing to work with because…
  • The writing on the new Magnum sucks. The first few episodes I saw were all about spectacular action done using very unspectacular CGI, and while, yes, they did contain quite a few exchanges of repartee (the hallmark of the original series), said repartee was as tattered, tired, and tiring as that on the no-longer-new but unfortunately still-current version of Hawaii Five-0. And that’s because…
  • This time-waster was “developed” by Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim and is run by Lenkov, whose name you may know because – yes, it’s true – Peter Lenkov also developed and is showrunner of Hawaii Five-0. 
  • The character named Higgins who’s in charge of making Magnum’s life miserable is a woman. In itself, that’s admirable, for sure. But the thing is, she’s a totally unreal, stereotyped, plastically beautiful, nerd’s idea of a cool woman and nowhere near what any women I’ve ever met – and admired – and maybe even loved.
  • Even in the original, Magnum’s old buds were pretty boring. Here they appear to be even more bored than we are.


What we have here is a corporate cog of a series which appears to have been created solely for the purpose of exploiting memories of a beloved series of yore and bringing a sort of Mini-Connected-Universe ala the Marvel Movie Universe to TV in order to – well, I don’t know. Just to have such a TV universe, I think.

Ah, well. They can create as many sad ghosts of past glory as they want, you know? But they can’t make us watch ’em. And in an era with so many fascinating new TV presentations vying for viewer attention, I can promise all and sundry that are so many viable alternatives to the new Magnum, P.I that there is no reason whatsoever to think about casting even a short glance its way.

Tom used to be my neighbor. Hi, Tom!