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Thread: Did Classic H50 ever jump the shark?

  1. #1
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    Mar 2019
    Vancouver, B.C.
    I was looking for something else and found this page. I don't know if it is linked from some currently active page on my site. There is a link to this page in Google, which suggests that it is, but there is or was a "Jump the Shark" site and there are numerous references to this phrase via Google if you search it. (See if you don't know what it means.)

    Be warned, some of the opinions on this page are highly objectionable.

  2. #2
    That's a tough question. All the options in the table are valid too.

    I would say somewhere between Season 10 and 11. That would put us into Chin Ho's death. Those last 2 seasons were hard to take. Not that there weren't a few good episodes in there, but they were sparse to say the least.

    I also believe William Smith got the short end of the stick in more ways than one. If they had some forethought and brought him in during Season 11, he might have been a bit more accepted by the fans. Just my 2 cents.

  3. #3
    Mr. Mike
    It's a very good question. I believe some of the episodes were weaker starting in Season 10. When Does A War End? and A Short Walk On The Longshore springs to mind. Season 9 was a very strong season. 200 episodes into the Series...Double Exposure. I believe Double Exposure is 1 of the best later episodes in the Series. Some people have astutely brought up the networks limiting too many violent scenes in an episode on TV. This was in the late 1970's. It would hurt a crime show like HFO 🌊. I believe The Skyline Killer Season 11 is a good example. The Serial Killer was very elusive and intelligent leaving a trail of victims. They could have showed up close and different damage and wounds to the bodies. More graphic but they didn't. Earlier HFO episodes showed more violence like in All The King's Horses and Samurai. No doubt, Chin Ho murdered and thrown out of a vehicle like garbage outside HFO 🌊 Headquarters...It's very shocking and horrible. They easily could have ended Classic HFO 🌊 after A Death In The Family Season 10 Episode 238. McGarrett and the HFO 🌊 team investigating Chin's death and capturing the perpetrator. Honoring a great detective.

    Bobbi makes a good point about William Smith. It would have been interesting if they brought him on say late Season 9. His style of crime fighting clashed with McGarrett's. They could have had some good back and forth heated conversations but ultimately solved cases and respected one another. That might have given some new adrenaline and energy to the later seasons. Losing Chin Ho at the end of Season 10 and Danno after Season 11...That's difficult for most series to endure. I think Season 11 and Season 12 have a few good episodes and Duke earned some more screen time. DUKE was underrated and definitely a solid detective. He had many years of experience as an HPD officer.

    I don't believe there was 1 exact moment where HFO 🌊 jumped the shark. JC

  4. #4
    The phrase comes from the Happy Days episode when Fonzie jumps a shark on water skis. So I think of the phrase as meaning a more specific point in time, whether that's accurate or not.
    For me, if there is a single moment where I kind of am set aback, it would be the final episode - season 12, episode 19 - Woe to Wo Fat. Why? For me - it's McGarrett's disguise, plain and simple. I just felt that was beneath our beloved McGarrett character and was just too much - I thought the disguise was kind of foolish and was just sort of a desperate reach.

  5. #5
    I was thinking Season 12 Good Help Is Hard To Find. Tony Alika and associates made the newer HFO team look embarrassing and ineffective. That's the lowest point for the HFO team. There were times when intelligent criminals had the upper hand on the HFO 🌊 team. Cameron in Rest In Peace, Somebody had the HFO team on the run most of the episode. However, HFO team with Chin Ho, Danno, McG...You knew they would figure it out eventually. JC

  6. #6
    John C, yes Alika made the Five-O team look like boobs or Keystone Cops as he called them. Which was the whole point. So I don’t really see an issue with that. That’s not what jumping the shark means. It refers to something idiotic that happens on the show that makes it go downhill. Making Five-O look bad was something that happened quite a few times long before this episode. So I don’t see how this time that would make any difference.

  7. #7
    It definitely jumped in Season 10, following what I consider to be a strong, resurgent Season 9. Season 10 did manage to have a few good episodes (in particular, I really enjoyed A Death in the Family and Descent of the Torches), but overall, it had several awful episodes and many other weak or mediocre ones, enough to merit a very low-scoring season in my season ratings averages. Far below the preceding 9 seasons.

    Miraculously, we do see Season 10 end on a strong note with A Death in the Family. Despite his self-admitted bad decision to send Chin undercover and to wrongfully accuse Pahoa of being responsible for Chin’s death, we see McGarrett mark a welcome return to his fiery, confrontational Season 1 attitude and away from the zen, Yoda-like persona he had slowly developed during the season. The episode also effectively sets the stage for the continuation of the Kumu story arc, which were some of the better Season 11 and 12 shows. Story arcs were almost unheard of during that era of television. This strong end to the season is cut short by the arrival of new producers and leisure suits in Season 11.

    I am extremely surprised to see Chin’s death as the top “jump-the-shark” moment, considering it had some of the strongest acting and character moments of the season. If I had to pick a moment in Season 10 where it really lost its way, I would say it’s a toss-up between the awful “Tread the King’s Shadow”, “When Does a War End?” and “Invitation to Murder” (where McGarrett seems to forget how to be a real detective).
    Last edited by JeffH; 11-30-2023 at 06:50 PM.

  8. #8
    JeffH - you hit it on the head about where the show went down.

    Ringfire - from what I've seen and read about "jumping the shark" is that a series does this really bang-up episode or two, which is arguably the best in the series. It becomes a watershed mark in that everything else behind it is either sub-par or downright awful compared to anything before that point.

    A Death In The Family does see a return to McGarrett's old persona. The one who doesn't take prisoners (metaphorically) and zero crap from anyone, whether they're criminals or other cops.

    Season 11 and 12 were completely different. I'm sure television censors also played a part along with the change in staff. The part that makes me really crazy in those 2 seasons is that suddenly McGarrett is the only competent one of the bunch. Viewing earlier seasons, this is obviously not the case. In order to be part of the Five-O team, an officer had to be top-notch and they were. It's as if they suddenly lost their brains in the last 2 years. The best episodes, generally speaking, were those where the team worked together and McGarrett wasn't the only one with good/great ideas.

  9. #9
    One of the lowest points of the team acting like complete idiots has to be in Season 12’s “Though the Heavens Fall”, where Chemo and Lori sit in the car acting like total morons stuffing their faces while crimes are committed mere yards away in the house they’re “surveilling”.
    Actually, that episode is so bad that it ends up being quite laughably entertaining, albeit in all the wrong ways.

    For me, the worst episodes are the ones that are horribly plotted, scripted, acted, the characters act stupid because the plot requires it, and they AREN’T laughably entertaining!

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by JeffH View Post
    For me, the worst episodes are the ones that are horribly plotted, scripted, acted, the characters act stupid because the plot requires it, and they ARENíT laughably entertaining!
    I agree wholeheartedly!!

    That is the absolute worst - it's a matter of poor writing if you're requiring the characters to act/be stupid just because your plot calls for it. That's not a plot, that's character assassination!

  11. #11
    That’s why I have a huge problem with “Invitation to Murder”, Season 10, particularly at the end. Instead of considering the daughter as the prime suspect (she was the only other one who knew the contents of the will), McGarrett decides that she’s innocent because she says she never visited the home and her own car was sabotaged, and he instead deduces that a ghost did it from beyond the grave as the episode ends. Perfect case in point. Quite possibly one of the worst Steve McGarrett moments prior to Season 12.

    Fortunately the awesome Steve McGarrett moments in the series outweigh the cringey ones by about 1000:1, but in this particular moment, Steve leapt right over the shark and back again several times!

  12. #12
    To me, the Shark jumps after one of the best episodes "Nine Dragons" because once you pulled all the stops of having Wo Fat go that far in his schemes, you could *never* use the character again like in the past. Not unless you topped the stakes of "Nine Dragons" which would have been impossible. So to me, there is something of a sense that an era is over after that episode because you know he's not going to pop up again with the same once a year regularity (the last episode of course failed to do justice to what the real final confrontation between him and McGarrett would have been). And then by Season 10 with no more Che, Doc and Jenny to lend more of that great ensemble quality the episodes lose something even more. I can find enjoyable episodes here and there, but I seldom feel like binge watching Season 10-11-12.

  13. #13
    It's interesting Season 12 starts out solidly with A Lion 🦁 In The Streets & Who Says Cops Don't Cry. It mostly goes downhill from there. I'm probably a bigger fan of A Bird 🐦 In Hand than most. I also liked A Shallow Grave and Flight Of The Jewels. The Classic HFO 🌊 Forum regulars have brought up some solid answers on the Jumping The Shark question.There's no doubt it begins in Season 10 with a few below average episodes. They were over 220 episodes at that point. I guess it's difficult finding new creative material. Especially before the 1980's video game explosion and computers and Internet. JC

  14. #14
    There was no "Jump the Shark" moment on Five-O, but I understand why Chin's death ("A Death in the Family") was picked. It wasn't because that was a bad episode, but because it was the last episode where Five-O was recognizable as the quality show it had always been.

    Season 11 as substantially worse, and now only had McGarrett and Danno left from the original team.

    Season 12 was even worse than that, and now only McGarrett was left from the originals, and Duke was the only other character we recognized from other seasons.

    So my answer would be, "Right after season 10 finished!"

  15. #15
    Just rewatched S11’s “Deadly Courier” and, boy, did Danno have a shark jump in that one (Mcgarrett’s still jumping from “Invitation to Murder” at this point). McGarrett specifically tells Danno to “use a cover” and investigate the import company about the briefcase before his big date.

    Danno promptly walks in and gives his real name while carrying his badge and gun, and gets made by the bad guys in about 3 minutes (right before he could give them his social security number). Not too bright, especially considering how years earlier, he was twice indicted for murdering kids and his mug was all over the news. And even worse? McGarrett just lost Chin Ho recently to a botched undercover operation because he was too well-known. Poor Chin’s corpse was still warm by the time Danno went undercover.

    Why would the producers allow such stupidity? Because the plot required it once again.

    Sadly, all they had to do to preserve Danno’s intelligence would be to have him wear Steve’s “Short Walk on the Longshore” hairpiece, a fake moustache, change his name to Stan Gilliams, and leave his gun and badge at home. The bad guys still would’ve discovered he was a cop thanks to all their cool evil gadgets (fingerprint chair, x-ray clock, etc.) and the plot could’ve proceeded as normal while making him appear sane, all while still joking at the end about him not getting laid.

    Naturally, since Danno managed to survive this case despite Steve’s best efforts to get him killed, what does Steve do shortly after? He sends Danno undercover with Nazis.
    Last edited by JeffH; 12-05-2023 at 03:45 PM.

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