Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Magnum P.I., Season 8 (1987)

As I noted in my review, season seven was originally intended to be Magnum's last hurrah.  This eighth season was in fact only confirmed right as production of season seven was wrapping up, and then suffered scheduling issues - Tom Selleck having taken on other jobs when he thought the show was ending - that reduced the number of episodes to only 13 instead of the usual 22.

These factors may be why this season feels a little unfocused, especially compared to the last.  The writing staff wove consistent themes of maturity and responsibility throughout season seven, giving it a coherent 'feel' that this series rather lacks.  Instead, season eight returns to the much more scattershot tone of earlier seasons, with the deeply grim ("Unfinished Business") and the deeply goofy ("Legend of the Lost Art", which plays with the fact that Selleck was the original casting choice for Indiana Jones) interspersed with each other seemingly at random.

Despite feeling a bit weaker than the season immediately before it, however, this is still a fun set of shows when the episodes are looked at individually.  The show reportedly had an excellent sense of camaraderie amongst cast and crew (much as the seemingly immortal Supernatural does today) and you certainly get the sense that they had fun making the program, which helps buoy things along.

I'm glad I watched Magnum P.I. again as an adult.  It was a more complex, varied and ambitious show than we tend to remember it being, and if not every episode was a winner, it was still pretty dependably entertaining television over its eight year run.

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