Conversation with the Writer ……

I had a bit of a chuckle reading this conversation………

“Private Eyes”

Neely Swanson, posted an interview with former Moonlight executive producer Chip Johannessen.

Chip wrote a pilot, “Private Eyes”, that was not picked up.

No Meaner Place

16 June 2010

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 Life Lessons for Writers: 

Can’t women be buddies? Apparently not, as far as television is concerned.

Neely: I really hate to be one of those women, but this is the second really excellent female buddy pilot  I’ve written about that didn’t get picked up. Somehow “They” don’t seem to be afraid to try any one of a number of lame male buddy series – and it continues in that vein with the pickups of “Franklin and Bash,” “The Defenders,” Hawaii 5-0” (yes, it’s a buddy show), and “The Good Guys.” 

I guess it’s just female buddy shows. One has a much greater chance of a pick up if a woman is teamed with a man, as in “Castle.” Could there be an estrogen (rather than “glass”) ceiling? There certainly is no limit to the amount of testosterone on the tube. You’ll never know if a female buddy series will succeed if you don’t try.

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Chip: In defense of “Hawaii 5-0,” anything with Alex O’Loughlin is worth trying. I worked with him on “Moonlight” and he’s pretty great.

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Neely: I guess CBS is hoping this will fall into the category of “the third time is a charm.” I must say, though, and I did say it in an article I wrote for Baseline Studio System, I liked the pilot script of “Hawaii 5-0” and I’m actually looking forward to seeing that pilot. It’s a very expensive, but really good action piece. On paper it works and if CBS doesn’t spare the expense it will work on screen.

My impression of Alex O’Loughlin is that he’s a heart throb and may be too soft to play Steve McGarrett. It might have been better (and they would never have considered this for any one of a number of reasons) to cast Scott Caan as Steve and Alex as Danny. I could very well be wrong.

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Chip: Yeah, they wouldn’t do that. But honestly, I love Alex O’Loughlin. He might be a little soft, but I have to say that in “Moonlight” he had this impossible task and he really delivered amazingly well.

He had to show a lot of colors when he transformed into this aggressive vampire. He was great. He’s a real actor, that guy.

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Neely: He is very watchable but CBS has to find the right show and “Three Rivers” certainly wasn’t it. Alex did not sell well as an organ transplant surgeon.  But getting back on track, one thing that I have to say to network execs is that you’re never going to know whether female buddy shows will work if you’re not going to try. Keep in mind that the female buddy shows we mentioned earlier are 10 to 30 years old and still have resonance.

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My thoughts

  • I wonder how Neely feels now, after we have seen Alex as Steve for the past 5 season of Hawaii Five-0? If you are a regular reader of our blog, you will know my feelings about it, but ……
  • How do you feel? Is Alex a bit too “soft” to play McGarrett?
  • Do you also think he did not sell as a surgeon in Three Rivers?


Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, Hawaii Five-0

24 responses to “Conversation with the Writer ……

  1. brendaattheranch

    “It might have been better (and they would never have considered this for any one of a number of reasons) to cast Scott Caan as Steve and Alex as Danny. I could very well be wrong.”

    If they had done that, Five-0 would have been cancelled after the first few episodes. Way off base. I never even heard of AOL before Hawaii Five-0 so I don’t know about previous series, but he brings the perfect balance to Steve McGarrett, something SC could never have done. I’m sure every actor brings a little of himself into his role, but I get the feeling SC brings more than most. As a result, I just don’t think he could’ve pulled it off.

    As to the issue of female buddies, that’s an interesting thought. I love buddy shows and books more than anything, but I lean toward guy buddies because, generally, they don’t have all the ensuing drama queen crap of women characters. If I watch female buddies I’m going to have to listen to their romantic woes and their shoes and their shopping on top of handling a case. Just not interested. Besides, with women buddy shows, I don’t get eye candy. 😎


  2. Manu

    I think Alex is just about perfect as steve Mcgarrett, as Scott is great as Danno.
    I might be slightly biased but i can’t think about anybody else playing those two charaters, considering that I have never seen the original series.
    Just because Alex is great in portraying emotions on screen I wouldn’t describe him as soft.
    He can deliver “badass” very convincingly as much as sensitive and caring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Colleen

      You could not have said that better! Alex is a badass but he can be sweet and caring two minutes later. I absolutely agree with u. 🙂


  3. brendaattheranch

    “He can deliver “badass” very convincingly as much as sensitive and caring.”

    You nailed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gracenotpark

    I think Alex has long since proved his cred with McG. He has given McG way more depth and personality than Jack Lord ever did, and more than Peter Lenkov ever wrote for the character. Alex gives him layers that are not written into the scripts. And apparently Neely never saw Alex as Michael in Feed. He can play ANYTHING. Alex could definitely play Danno, but no, CBS indeed would never cast Scott as McGarrett.

    As to Andy, he is actually my favorite Alex character because he played that guy so real! I had been horribly injured a couple years before 3Rivers and Andy was exactly like my surgeon. Exactly. Except my surgeon was a not-gorgeous middle-aged man, dammit! But personality, bedside manner, commitment, tone of voice…it’s like he was playing my actual guy, and I LOVED my surgeon, who saved my life. 3Rivers had its problems, which I think it was successfully correcting with the later episodes, but CBS pulled the plug pretty quickly and got Alex signed onto 5-0.

    And I like women buddy shows. My own best buddies in life are women. Women make great buddies, even if one has to stomach a little shoe talk. 😉 H50 irks me to no end with its sparse female cast and the horribly written after-thought plot-device-only way they write the few women who ever appear on Show. Grrrrrrr!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dcjank

    Reversing the roles of McG & Danno? OMG! I can’t imagine that at all! And anyone even contemplating that for a second is almost absurd!! In what universe is Alex ‘soft’? Did this thought come from watching ML? I am still scratching my head at this comment. As to 3 Rivers, which I think was an excellent show that was just getting to the point where they were fixing some mistakes, I think Alex sold that character very well, the problems existed elsewhere, not with him and his performance. CBS has to take the blame for 3 Rivers failing, from the time slot to its lack of proper promotion. Personally, I think 3 Rivers was a ‘placeholder’ for keeping Alex in their ‘yard’ while they found a project that CBS wanted for him.

    Alex has given the McGarrett character more depth than Jack Lord ever did. The episodes of the original H5-0 that I have seen (maybe a dozen) have been almost laughable in the lack of depth and character development, even their ‘crime of the week’ haven’t been anything special. The one that was redone for the current H5-5, HOOKMAN, is by far one of the best from the old one! And if you think the current version of H5-0 has a problem with women, then don’t watch the original!


  6. joanie

    I was surprised to see Alex described as ‘soft’. When I think ‘soft’, I think of all those bland, pleasant looking leads in the endless stream of rom-coms and caper movies. None of them stand out to me as individuals; they’re interchangeable parts. I don’t know him personally like Chip and I’m not a professional in the field but I can’t see Alex in that category.

    As to Alex not selling the transplant surgeon role! I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals including a stint in cardiac intensive care. My experiences have been different from Grace’s and I acknowledge that the show rang true to her but despite it’s earnestness, it didn’t for me. I think TR would have benefited from being held back and retooled. I think Alex fleshed out Dr. Andy as best he could. If he seems incomplete, it’s because of the structure of the show and the lack of quality in the writing.


    • gracenotpark

      Oh I only meant Alex sold himself as a surgeon to me by being just like my doctor. I really can’t speak about 3Rivers showing hospitals or the medical profession true to life, cos I’ve only ever been a patient, and I think you are right that it needed some retooling. I think they were working on that, but I guess too little too late… 😥

      And I think Brenda is also right…if any show really showed medical reality it would irk and bore us all to tears… 😆


  7. vanduyn

    As much as I love Alex as Mick, in my opinion Alex was born to play McGarrett! He does BADASS very well 🙂


  8. brendaattheranch

    I have not seen Three Rivers or any other recent medical drama, but if ANY show tried to portray hospitals and healthcare as they really are, NO ONE would watch because they would want to blow a gasket instead.


  9. I’m with vanduyn here.Alex is a real badass, but he can show an incredibly sensitive side and that’s called ACTING and that he does brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alex plays the Navy Seal who is secretive, staid and strong so well. He has the rough ‘go get em’ for the character. Too soft never….And no the reverse in the characters and who plays it would have never worked. I never watched Three Rivers nor Moonlight until recently when I bought the DVD’s. He was good in Moonlight and handled the vampire transformation with style. Alex has the badass style in real life and brings it to the character I think.


  11. Brooklyngirl

    I have to say that this woman sounds like a sore loser! Maybe if she had better ideas ones of her pilots would’ve worked. Rizzoli & Isles is a female buddy show and it works. Quite well.

    As for her thinking that Alex was too soft, she’s was certainly mistaken. He’s a heart-throb badass with a heart of gold. There’s also no way that the roles would have ever been reserved. They are both perfect in their respective roles!

    In deference to Jack Lord’s portrayal of Steve McGarrett, it was a very different time and he acted as he was scripted. There was no character development and all the acting was very stiff and wooden. At least our show has a woman – yay Kono!! in it, the old one, women were incidentals! I look at it now and laugh. TV today is like watching an explosive, action-packed movie, except on a smaller screen. Everything is so much better today. I guess in 20 years we’ll look back at all these shows and laugh at them too.

    I’m very glad that this woman had nothing to do with our 5-0!


    • Just to clear up some facts. This interview was in 2010 just before ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ was picked up.
      The writer is actually a very accomplished writer & producer (of ML as well) and is the man Chip Johannessen who kind of saved ML after its first showrunner quit. And he had mostly good things to say about Alex. ( )
      The lady doing the interview with him, did not like it that the pilot of two woman that he wrote was not picked up – and they talked about some male buddy shows that got picked up at that time – including Hawaii Five-0.
      She has been for many years working for a very successful production house (David E Kelly Productions)
      In her defense, I think she was just not well informed about Alex’s abilities and was maybe not well acquainted with all his work, when she made the comment. And she was maybe thinking that Scott was more of a badass than Alex. And I am kind of sure she see the folly of her perceptions by now. 🙂
      And you are so right, TV changes with the times and also the technology.


  12. ROFL – I’m sorry, but the roles reversed? That is just laughable. Never in a million years would I buy SC as a Navy SEAL, or the leader that Alex portrays in such a perfect way. That idea still makes me giggle.

    I don’t think I ever read something so far off on so many things as in this ‘interview’. Geez.

    As for the female buddy shows? Sorry, but I have no, absolute NO interest in such a thing. There is a reason that women very seldom work on TV, and even less two in one show.
    First, they are normally not well written, and second, more importantly, most viewers are simply not interested in it.
    I find such shows boring. And I know many people who feel the same. Nothing against well written female characters, as long as they are not the lead character. Sorry, but I want a man as my lead character. That might be wrong in this time and day, but it’s how I feel. And I’m pretty sure most people feel that way. At least most people I know.

    About TR, or Alex not delivering as the doctor. Can’t agree with that. He did a really good job, and the show had a lot of potential. It had an interesting angle and was just getting interesting when they pulled the plug.
    Was it a realistic show? No, of course not. It was a TV show trying to do their best. If they were realistic, no one would watch more than one episode. Either because they would be grossed out, or bored to tears. Take your pick, neither would be wrong. 😉

    I don’t think there is a character Alex can’t play, but his portrayal of McG is perfect. He’s brilliant as Steve. He makes the character his own, he gives him life and depth. A brilliant performance with often, let’s say, not the best material.


  13. I totally forgot. I LOVE the pictures that go with this post. Brilliant. Love them. Thank you so much for such great art work.


    • Thank you Sam, for noticing Paula’s fabulous work with the pictures. She always makes our posts worth looking at – even if it is just to enjoy her work of love with Alex on every pictures she makes. 🙂


  14. It wasn’t that Alex did not sell as a surgeon, it just took 13 eppies to lay the foundation. Organ Donation was new to me even though I’ve been listed as donor since I was 18. Watching the show taught me TONS…BUT once Uncle Mike showed up regarding Dr. Andy’s past, boy was I on the edge of my seat. Then it was canceled just when it was going to go to the next level.

    So again, to me, nothing with Alex….he played a surgeon awesomely because he actually has a real deep heart. Perfect fit.

    As Alex too soft to play McG….I confess, I only saw The Back-Up Plan before I saw H50…and when I found out he was McG (in December of 2014..yeah I’m a newbie still), I couldn’t picture him fighting. But when I saw Alex’ first roundhouse, I was like WOWOWOWOWOW!!!!!! So it was my bad perception and nothing with his ability to play a tough guy.


  15. lindae5o

    I think Alex can do anything, role-wise. I think he had a bit of
    difficulty ‘finding McGarrett’ in the first season though, but I can’t think of anyone else playing that part. Alex is such a natural leader, and he brings this to his acting.
    The notion that Scott Caan should have been McGarrett, is just laughable. He wouldn’t have made the cut in SEAL school. He just doesn’t have the physical presence that Alex has, and I’m not referring only to his height.


  16. brendaattheranch

    RE: Comparing old Five-0 to new—it just can’t be done. I watched and enjoyed the original Five-0 (during the years I was growing up, 70’s and 80’s television was what I teethed on). In fact, when I heard Five-0 was going to be a re-make, I cringed. But boy, with the exception of Season 5, I’ve been very impressed with how they took an old show and put their own stamp on it.

    Jack Lord, James MacArthur and all of those actors during those years were playing it the way shows were done in those days. Although Five-0 is the only modern show I watch, if it is any indication of the various dramas currently on TV, the one thing shows are allowed now that they were NOT allowed back then was real depth. I have a harder time watching 70’s TV now only because shows were also filmed at a slower pace. We’ve all been foisted into an ADD world nowadays that can’t handle that slow pace any more (it’s kind of creepy so I try not to think about it too much. LOL!)


  17. karen

    Love the comments. I am amazed how many people liked TR. To me, that was some of the worst script writing in TV history. I would cringe sometimes while watching. I have been trying to think of other female buddy shows besides Cagney and Lacy and Rizzoli and Isles, but I’m stumped. There has to be others out there somewhere. Alex soft? Too funny.


  18. Barbara Lebkuecher

    Well I’m in the circle that Alex is a great actor who can play any role he is handed. And as for TR…one episode that really stood out with the writing and acting was the one with Mandy Patinkin. Should have won an emmy.That show was very educational for those who shied away from Organ Donation. IMHO.


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