Tag: john davis

Magnum, PI (CBS) pilot preview: By the people who already brought back Hawaii 5-0 & MacGyver

I saw the sun rise” written and executive produced by Peter Lenkov (MacGyver, Hawaii 5-0, Salvation, 24) & Eric Guggenheim (Hawaii 5-0, Parenthood). Based on the series by Donald P. Bellisario & Glen A. Larson. Also produced by John Davis (The Blacklist, Shaft, Predator, Waterworld, Paycheck) & John Fox (Timeless, The Blacklist, Joy). Directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Beyond, SWAT, Scorpion). For CBSUniversal TelevisionCBS Television Studios & Davis Entertainment. 60 pages. Revised Network Draft. 12/12/2017.

Description: Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator in Hawaii. With help from fellow vets Theodore “TC” Calvin and Orville “Rick” Wright, as well as that of disavowed former MI:6 agent Juliet Higgins, Magnum takes on the cases no one else will, helping those who have no one else to turn to…

With Jay Hernandez (Bright, Suicide Squad, Bad Moms, Scandal, Hang Time), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful, The Tudors), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings, FlashForward, Parenthood), Stephen Hill


You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Letting you guess.

Likely Timeslot: Monday at 10, wednesday at 9 or friday somewhere.


Haven’t we suffered enough? Was rebooting Hawaii 5-0 and more recently MacGyver enough already? Since both worked, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Lazy CBS is ready for another try and this time it’s the classic 1980s Tom Selleck series set in Hawaii that’s getting the remake treatment. And once again, it’s CBS Television Studios’ go-to writer for rebooting iconic procedurals Peter Lenkov who’s behind the wheel. Per Deadline, it is said to be CBS’ most expensive pilot this season. I’m not surprised after reading the script. It looks expensive. But first, let me tell you Magnum could have come back earlier, last season, when ABC developed a new version, which was supposed to follow Magnum’s daughter, Lily “Tommy” Magnum, who returns to Hawaii to take up the mantle of her father’s PI firm. She and her tribe of friends would have mixed tropical beaches with the seedy underbelly of international crime and modern espionage. It fell through. And you know what? It sounded way better and more modern than what CBS is cooking up. More respectful to the original also, not that this one is not respectful.

In case you were wondering, there were discussions about Tom Selleck getting involved in the reboot but he opted not to get formally on board but gave the project his blessing. He’s still the star of Blue Bloods on CBS and unless there’s a surprise cancellation this may, it will be on the air at least one more year, meaning he won’t be able to say hello to the new Magnum. But after that, everything’s possible. And there’s a role for him actually. Like in the original show, Magnum is “sponsored” by the pulp novelist Robin Masters, and lives in the beautiful oceanfront Hawaiian estate owned by the millionaire called “Robin’s Nest”. Only his voice was heard in the show, he never appeared. Though there’s a theory his majordomo Higgins was in fact Masters. Anyway, if he were to appear in the new version, it would be fun if he were played by Tom Selleck himself! Unlikely, but who knows? So, the big difference between the old Magnum and the new one -and probably the only one in terms of story- is Higgins. She’s a female now. Jonathan is now Juliet. She is commanding, confident, tough, uses sarcasm to deflect emotion and hard to get to know. She’s also strict and often in conflict with Magnum and his more easy-going methods. Very much like out old pair! But there’s something else going on there. Yeah, we’re having yet another “will they?won’t they? situation” as they clearly about to become more than just friends who act like they hate each other. Can’t blame CBS for this but I’m not sure this trope can still win the audience, unless there’s something special about it.

Our other principal characters are kinda non-existent in the pilot. It includes Rick, a former door gunner with the Marines who now runs Oahu’s coolest nightclub, he’s well-connected – if you want something on the island, Rick is the man to see; Theodore “TC” Calvin, an ex-Marine chopper pilot who’s still a chopper pilot.; and well Sebastian Nuzo, ex-Seal, who’s now… dead! He’s kidnapped, tortured and killed in the pilot, which gives a good reason for Magnum to investigate. There’s also another woman, Hannah Boyle, a former CIA Intel Analyst and Magnum’s ex-girlfriend. She was supposed to be dead, until we learn she’s not. She’s connected to the somber story of a sunken ship full of gold. Yeah, you read right. But it leads to what will probably a very good-looking and impressive scene that takes place underwater, with Magnum catching bad guys on scuba gear. We’ll also find our hero on his surf ski, wearing bord-shorts, paddling. Because he’s cool. And the opening scene includes a next-generation space capsule, a space-suit, a parachute and a water Buffalo. Just sayin’! Magnum wants to be cooler than Hawaii 5-0, Macgyver & Scorpion reunited so they’re going over the top and only a good director can make this look good and not too ridiculous. Fast & Furious‘ Justin Lin is probably the right guy for the job. He also gets the chance to film him in a Ferrari, and other cars I’ve never heard of. That’s the spirit! Landscape views are described as impossibly stunning and since they’re really shooting in Hawaii, they will be for sure.

They kept Magnum’s voice-over as part of the storytelling, which is not a good idea if you ask me. It makes it sound old-fashioned. It was not needed but one can argue it’s part of the charm of the original show and it would have been a pity not to use it again. Let’s just hope Jay Hernandez will do it right. Not sure what else I can tell you about this pilot. I didn’t describe Magnum but he’s exactly like you think he is. Exactly like other CBS’s leading men. Nothing new. Well, he’s a latino guy, so there’s that. And about the investigation, it works exactly as in any other CBS procedural. If you like that and if you’re not tired of it, then you should have a ball! Happy you! Something really bugged me: the patriotic message that’s all over the script and in the least subtle form. The end of the episode is a military funeral and OMG the speech of Magnum is just too much, full of clichés about brotherhood, soldiers for life… “As corny as it sounds” he says. Well at least they’re conscious about what they’re doing. And when I think about it, it’s really the perfect show for Republicans. And it’s way way more dangerous than Roseanne, believe me… But that’s what most of the CBS audience wants, right?

Compared to new Macgyver‘s pilot, Magnum P.I. ‘s is way more effective and less ridiculous, though Magnum sometimes acts like he’s MacGyver and there’s not much difference between him and Hawaii 5-O‘s McGarrett either. It’s the same show over and over again and there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work at least a little for CBS. It’s fun to watch if it’s your kind of fun, and if you’re into very patriotic shows, it’s like heaven for you! The great thing for the eye network is that they can put it anywhere. It’ll do the trick!

“The Player” (NBC) pilot preview: Game over or game on? All bets are off!

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Previously entitled “Endgame“. Pilot “Place Your Bets” written & produced by John Rogers (The Librarians, Leverage, Catwoman, Transformers). Co-produced by John Fox (The Blacklist) & John Davis (The Blacklist, Predator, Paycheck).  For NBC, Sony Pictures Television & Davis Entertainment. 64 pages.

Description: In the high stakes world of Las Vegas, Alex King, a former sniper turned security expert who just lost his wife, is drawn into a mysterious conspiracy that forces him to complete a series of heroic challenges in order to save innocent lives. It’s called The Game. There are the House, the Pitt Boss, the Dealer and he is the Player. 

With Philip Winchester (Strike Back, Fringe, 24, Crusoe), Wesley Snipes (Blade, Demolition Man, The Fan, Murder at 1600), Damon Gupton (Empire, The Divide), Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall), Cara Buono (Mad Men, Person of Interest)…

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Because at NBC they can’t find their own voice (pun intended) regarding their scripted slate, they have no choice but to order more and more tideous dramas from Dick Wolf (Chicago Med is next) and copy what the others do better (like mixing Scandal & Homeland to offer disastrous State of Affairs). But sooner or later, it won’t be enough anymore to stay revelant, to stay in the game. They have already lost the comedy battle, with only failed attempts for more than three years. And The Voice can’t be broadcast 5 days a week. And the Sunday Night Football can’t become the Every Night Football. They recently made a good move though: this past development season, they asked for a new TV show from the producers of The Blacklist, their most recent hit, and that’s how Endgame came to life. And that’s how they might finally have a winner! But I’m being precautious with this one: it sounds like a mid-season entry. They won’t be able to sign Wesley Snipes for 22 episodes per season. And Wesley Snipes -playing the very mysterious but not so serious Mr Jonhson- while not being the central character, is one of the main reasons why Endgame is good.

Like red-hot Blindspot, another high octane thriller in consideration for next season (Read the preview here), Endgame begins with an almost naked character -this time, it’s a man- in the streets of a big city -Fabulous Las Vegas instead of Big Apple- for a chase including very bad guys, gunshots and lovely people dying. It starts like the climax of an action movie and then the pilot takes its time to delve into the very complex story of our dark hero and the conspiracy he is drawn into, and not without multiple twists and turns and other action-fueled scenes. Honestly, I’m not sure I am capable to explain it you. I’m not even sure I understood everything correctly. And I don’t think it would be fair to tell you too much. Let’s just say in the world of Endgame, there is no such thing as chance or coincidence, of any sort. There are people over there who know everything about eveybody and you can never escape from them. They are part of “The Game”.

They described themselves and their organization as almighty. They are more powerful than the FBI, the CIA or even the NSA. They are the wealthiest. They gamble -litteraly- over people’s lives and they are not afraid to lose because, even when they lose, they’re still winners. To be more precise and I won’t say anything more after that, they created a technology that helps predicting crimes (hello Person Of Interest, hiiii Minority Report) and they bet on the issue: will the crime be committed or will it be prevented? They could stop murders, wars and famines if they wanted to, they have the resources, but they don’t care. All they are interested in is to play and win. You and me, we are their checkers. And our hero is their player. He is the one that takes all the risks to save us from our death. And he can’t always succeed even if he looks like a superhero most of the time, but with a bad temper and some sadness in his eyes because, of course, he lost his wife. If you look at it closely, it shares a lot with The Blacklist. They have the “preventing crimes” thing in common. But it works very differently.

So, I don’t know if I helped you get a better idea of what Endgame is about, but what you have to remember for now is : it’s fast-paced, it’s dark, it’s twisted, it’s smart and it’s kind of fun. There is a mythology behind, a lot questions to be answered, a lot of characters whose motivations need to be explained and the promise of a thrilling ride. It could very well end up as a disappointment after a few episodes like The Blacklist, but not if NBC plays it smart. I bet on it. Game on!