About a year ago I wrote a quick review of the rebooted version of Magnum P.I. that’s now in its second season on CBS.
As I wrote in 2018, I like the new Magnum. Jay Hernandez does a fine job in the titular role, and I don’t mind the decision to make Higgins a female character in the 21st century reboot. (Perdita Weeks arguably makes the show. And the chemistry between Hernandez and Weeks is even better than the old banter between Selleck and Hillerman.) Moreover, Tom Selleck is now in his seventies. He’s in good shape for a man that age; but Thomas Magnum is clearly a role for an actor in his prime. Old school though I am, I wasn’t about to make the case for casting Selleck in the rebooted version of this 1980s weekly crime show.
That said, I recently noticed that episodes of the original Magnum P.I., which ran from 1980 to 1988, were playing on the Hallmark Channel. I watched a few of them to see how they would hold up to the test of time.
The good news is: quite well. Yes, some of those 80s fashions are cringeworthy today—even to an 80s relic like me. But the scriptwriting and the action are still engaging.
Magnum P.I. always had a lighthearted aspect. This is, therefore, light entertainment. Magnum P.I. never had any pretensions of being thought-provoking or heavy. That was as true in the vintage series as it is in the reboot.
I watched many episodes of the show back in the 1980s, but not all of them, by any means. For me, the years 1980 through 1988 comprised junior high through the middle of college. This was before video-on-demand and DVRs. Sometimes I tuned in, and sometimes I didn’t.
But it’s been more than 30 years since the last vintage Magnum P.I. episode was broadcast for the first time. I don’t remember any of the storylines, really. I am therefore having a good time watching them again, as if for the first time.