Review: Magnum P.I. – The Complete Collection Box Set
When faced with 130 hours of television, across 157 episodes, over 8 seasons of Magnum, P.I. there’s only way to approach it; in an imaginary Hawaiian shirt and a cheeky grin. Fabulous Films have produced a corking set; every episode looks like it was filmed yesterday.
So how do I persuade the uninitiated to purchase this behemoth? Easy. The one movie I always associate with Magnum is Lethal Weapon (Magnum, P.I. came first). For all the sexy/cheekiness of – let’s face it fellas, bloody magnificent male specimen of manhood Tom Selleck, there is still a somewhat serious ‘Nam orientated ‘feel’ to the programme. But let’s not get all gloomy and serious, Magnum, P.I. is a fun programme. You throw the following into the cauldron of peak time television; Tom Selleck (phwoar), Hawaii, 80s stuff (fashion, blue eyeshadow, shoulder pads, unhinged back combed hair, women in pants) and a murder/mystery.
Thomas Magnum (phwoar) lives on the estate of his ‘invisible’ boss Robert Masters and all he has to do is… keep an eye on the mansion and piss off Masters OTHER employee Higgins (John Hillerman). OH and how could I forget Apollo and Zeus: Masters two Dobermans. Magnum’s best mate is Orville ‘Rick’ Wright (Larry Manetti) who is the manager of THE hottest nightclub in Hawaii, and his other bessie T.C. (Roger. E Mosley) owns ….. a helicopter. So you can imagine there are quite a few helicopter/disco scenes. And let’s not forget that these guys are comrades, past soldiers from ‘Nam.
The guys resposible for Magnum have a steller background in popular TV; Donald P. Bellisario (Quantum Leap, Airwolf, JAG) and Glen A. Larson (Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica), the series premiered in 1980 with a two hour film called ‘Don’t Eat the Snow in Hawaii’.
Here we meet Magnum a year after his resignation from Naval Intelligence. He is settling into his new job for Masters (the beginning of the film is a scorcher, Selleck creeping along a beach in the shortiest shorts ever. Boy he looked good wet) when he finds himself having to clear the name of a recently murdered fellow Marine from his Vietnam days. Surprisingly this is, for a first episode, quite a serious start, with a solid story and great acting from the cast, especially Selleck himself.
Central to the series as a whole is the relationship between Higgins and Magnum. They constantly argue and score points off each other. Though there seems to be at the heart of it a relationship of mutual affection as they are both ex-service men. Back to my comparison with Lethal Weapon; ‘Nam is mentioned a LOT in this series, to the point that Martin Riggs may be the 4th friend with TC, Rick and Magnum himself.
Perhaps the one thing that helped Magnum endure for 8 series was the way each episode was a stand-alone story. The common thread was always the characters, but some episodes are solid drama while others you see Selleck break the 4thwall to wink at us before he shags some blonde bimbo.
Big kudos to Fabulous Films for releasing this complete DVD set of Magnum, P.I. It’s glorious and is definitely worth revisiting if you watched it on its original run back in the 80’s, while also holding up well to entertain those of you who may have missed it back then. Soak up some hot Hawaiian sun this winter and buy this Magnum, P.I. box set.
- Commentary on Pleasure Principle with writer Jay Huguely
- Commentary on Legend Of The Lost Art with writer Jay Huguely
- Resolutions: Pt2 Commentary with Co-Executive Producer Chas Floyd Johnson
- Murder, She Wrote crossover episode: Magnum On Ice
- America’s Top Sleuths
- The Great 80’s TV Flashback
- Inside the Ultimate Crime Crossover