Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Magnum P.I., Season 7 (1986)

A couple of times recently I have seen people refer to the 'Kirk Fallacy'.  This refers to the fact that the conception of James T Kirk in popular culture and the actual character who appears on screen are actually rather different.  We all tend to think of Kirk as some interstellar Lothario who roams the galaxy seducing beautiful women, but he doesn't actually act that way in the original Star Trek TV series.

This is relevant to a review of Magnum P.I. because there's a similar fallacy in popular culture about the nature of this show.  It's remembered as a very light dramedy notable mostly for the weekly parade of beautiful women romanced by the lead, while he wore a very small pair of shorts.

And to be fair, the shorts were short

But Magnum P.I. was actually much more diverse than this popular conception suggests, and nowhere is that more noticeable (at least so far) than in this seventh season.  Initially conceived as the final year for the show, the season has a decidedly more mature tone than is commonly associated with the program, such as the case that starts with the rape and murder of a child, or the episode where a major character's loved one is suffering from Alzheimer's.  And then there's the final episode of the season, which as I said was originally intended to the final episode ever.  While it has its moments of humour, it's most definitely not "light dramedy".

Not every episode of the show is a winner, but Magnum P.I. was a more ambitious and inventive program than people remember.

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