Magnum PI: Season 2

Magnum PI: Season 2

Magnum PI: Season 2 was one of those
series that had just about the perfect cast

Magnum PI: Season 2

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The eighties would prove to be a tumultuous decade. Financial markets where collapsing, the great city of New York was bankrupt and people had to sit in line to get a few gallons of gas.

When you got back from work after a long day of worrying about job security the last thing you wanted was to watch some heavy drama on television. What was needed was a show that featured a handsome leading man, beautiful female guest stars set in a topical paradise with plenty of action. Enter the second season of Magnum, PI, was a show that fit the bill perfectly. Thomas Sullivan Magnum (Tom Selleck) formerly of the navy now lived in Hawaii working ostensibly as a private investigator. With the help of his navy buddies Rick Wright (Larry Manetti) and TC Calvin (Roger E. Mosley) life was never boring. Magnum managed to life in an extensive estate owned by the mysterious Robin Masters. In return for security services Magnum was able to live in the guest house and drive Master’s Ferrari. A constant thorn in Magnum’s side was the estate’s major domo, Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman). The two were constantly at each other, always trying to trick or show up the other.

The sophomore season of a television series is extremely important. After the much sought after renewal the writers and producers are caught in a dilemma, how do you keep the series fresh and interesting while maintaining the qualities that made it a hit in season one. For the production team of Magnum the answer came in what was then a fairly novel way, focus on the background of the main character. Starting with season two and increasing concentration was made on the back story of Thomas Magnum. The audience got to know this fictional character making him very real to the increasing legion of fans. It was revealed that Magnum was a former Navy Seal. This was one of the first times that this extraordinary group of men where featured on either television or film. Since the second season of Magnum the ex-Seal has become a standard for military dramas. We also discover that Magnum was once married while in Southeast Asia; a woman that Magnum thought was killed shortly after they wed. This was great for fans, there was now more known about Magnum increasing his human qualities and making it easy for the audience to emotionally bond with him.

Magnum PI: Season 2 also saw a major departure for television action shows some of the episodes where devoid of bad guys. Usually a show like Magnum PI: Season 2 has to have a villain to battle. In one episode Magnum PI is hired to keep a rowdy writer out of trouble. The episode is a series of scenes of Magnum PI just trying to keep up with his charge. It was this kind of thinking out of the box that made Magnum PI: Season 2 such a delightful one to watch. Some episodes would start out in the typical formula we all know so well and give us a little twist. Of course there are times when the writers fell back on tried and true ploys for the stories. In one episode John Hillerman has double duty playing not only Higgins but a long lost half-brother the almost vulgar Elmo Ziller. This is right out of the play book of every soap opera and most major series, the twin with characteristics completely opposite the of those seen in the main character. The writers also had a little fun with some well placed homage to Hawaii Five-O. Even the name of McGarrett comes up in an episode. The second season also had an episode where the supernatural was called in. One mystery revolved around the existence of a ghost, something that would be used in subsequent seasons and extremely important to the last season of the series.

Magnum PI: Season 2 was one of those series that had just about the perfect cast. The chemistry between the four lead characters just let you believe in them as realistically portrayed people. Tom Selleck is the kind of actor that appeals to both genders. Men find him likeable, the guy you can share a beer with and watch a baseball game. Women are mesmerized by his charm, his almost boyish attitude and that one eyebrow he can move at will. Selleck gets to flesh out his role in Magnum PI: Season 2. One thing that certainly would be attractive to an actor about a television series is the ability to have the character grow and to create a full history for him. John Hillerman is a fantastic counterpoint to Selleck’s Magnum PI. His Higgins goes beyond the typical stuff shirt; he gives Higgins a sense of wry irony, willing to play a practical joke of Magnum PI. Larry Manetti got to show off more of his character as well. Rick fashioned himself s Bogart in Casablanca but there was more to him. He was also a Vietnam veteran, a man dedicated to helping a comrade in need. Roger E. Mosley also makes what could have been a mere comic relief side kick into a fully developed character. His TC made complain a lot but like Magnum PI and Rick he was a combat hardened vet that was capable of strong loyalty. He also enjoys a good ballet now and again. Together these four actors created a world for us to sit back and enjoy.

Magnum PI: Season 2 was created by two of the greatest television producers ever, Glenn Larson and Donald Bellisario. Between these two men most of the television that you remember from the seventies and eighties was created. Besides Magnum PI: Season 2 they brought the world Kojack, Battlestar Galatica, Knight Rider and Quantum Leap. They knew how to bring family entertainment to television in a way that the whole family could enjoy. Between the real-life military experience of Bellisario, an ex-marine, and the flair for music and presentation of Larson Magnum was destined to be the hit it was. Magnum PI: Season 2 was where this series truly began to mature.

Universal has been making a nice reputation for presenting classic series such as Magnum PI: Season 2. In each box set they provide the complete season in the best possible way. While there is a bit of flecks noticeable now and again the video is generally very good. The Dolby mono was a little tinny at times but overall was very good. Magnum PI: Season 2 is a series that most fans will want to collect. If you are tied of some of the bleeding edge shows and so called reality series get Magnum PI: Season 2 and enjoy it with the whole family.

Movie Review of Magnum PI: Season 2 by Doug MacLean of

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