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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Magnum P.I. is a reboot of the 1980s series about a detective with the unlikely name of Magnum (Jay Hernandez). The overall tone of the show is light, but the violence is a notch more intense than you might expect, with lots of guns and heavy artillery, as well as bloody dead bodies. Magnum himself wields a gun, and frequently shoots before he asks questions. Male and female bodies are on display, with lots of scenes set on beaches or boats; Magnum himself never misses an opportunity to whip his shirt off. There are references to consequence-free casual sex, and romantic complications; there are also strong female characters with agency. Language is on the mild side: "hell," "suck," "ass," "son of a bitch," "pissed."
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What's the story?
Retooling the 1980s series of the same name, MAGNUM P.I. centers on Thomas Magnum, a former Navy SEAL who's currently using his investigatory and combat skills as a private investigator in Hawaii. From his home base, Robin's Nest, a luxurious compound owned by a multimillionaire comrade in arms, Magnum investigates crimes with the help of his former fellow POWs: Theodore "TC" Calvin (Stephen Hill) and Orville "Rick" Wright (Zachary Knighton), as well as the grudging assistance of Robin's Nest's persnickety majordomo, Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks).
Is it any good?
Cheerful, corny, and knowingly ridiculous, this revival rivals the charms of the original, right down to an insouciant Magnum who breezily greets mayhem with a cocked eyebrow and a quip. Even when Magnum's wearing dress whites for a dear friend's funeral, he accessorizes with a devil-may-care grin and drives a low-slung sports car to the cemetery. Every investigation in Magnum P.I. begins with a cruise through Hawaiian landscapes, a clue-finding dive into crystal-clear water, or a trip to a white-sand beach heavily stocked with women in bikinis. And every crazy stunt winds up working out -- for Magnum, not for the bad guys he's chasing.
Some updates have been made to the retread: Magnum earned his tough-guy chops in Iraq during the War on Terror instead of Vietnam; the character of Higgins has been gender-flipped (but is still played as a supercilious Brit); and Magnum is played by a Latino man, whose ethnicity is woven subtly, skillfully into the show. Lots of fun moments and characters make a pretty good case for giving this reboot a shot -- if murder, pretty scenery, and wisecracking detectives are your chosen amusements.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about any stereotypes they see while watching Magnum P.I. Does the behavior of male and female characters reinforce or combat stereotypes? What's the difference between male and female sexuality on the show?
A lead character shaped by war is a staple of adventure shows. Why? What war did Magnum fight in? What about the original character on the 1980s show? Why did the war change, yet the effect on the character remain the same?
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