Created by Leonard Freeman - Macleans.ca

Created by Leonard Freeman

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I’ve only seen the pilot of the new Hawaii 5-0 (or CSI Hawaii as everyone has been calling it for some time now) so I can’t presume to guess how strong or weak the show will wind up being. But I can say two good things about the main title. One, they actually listened to complaints about the arrangement of the theme song in the first version of the title, and created a new, brass-heavy arrangement that is appropriate for the music. And the other thing that’s nice is that the creator of the original series, the late Leonard Freeman, is prominently credited in the opening, just as prominently as the developers of the new version. That might be done out of respect, and it might be done out of contractual requirements, but it’s still a good thing either way.

The show might still wind up being hard to watch after the theme song ends, but that’s true of many episodes of the original, too. It’s at least good that they got the theme song right.

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I do feel like this is one of those themes that really needs more than 30 seconds to make its full effect. Some don’t need more than that, but the original theme gets a lot of its impact from its structure: A-B-A-C followed by the coda. To get it down to 30 seconds, you have to chop out the A and C sections and go directly to the coda, which lessens the power of the famous tune because we never get to hear it come back (with a different arrangement). But that’s just the way things are.

By the way, that complaint isn’t limited to today’s shows: Bonanza‘s theme song is justly famous but I thought the main title version on the show was way too short — again, usually only about 30 seconds — to really sell the tune the way it deserved to be sold, and had to monkey around with the song’s structure to fit it into that space.

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