Thomas Sullivan Magnum was my first love. That mustachioed, tan, tall drink of water is the reason that a girl from Florida became a Detroit Tigers fan and developed a lifelong love of men with epic facial hair. Oh, and the fact that he cut one helluva good profile in those UDT shorts and dress white Navy uniform.
So, you may understand my shock and dismay when I saw that Hollywood is bringing us yet another reboot. But this time they messed with the wrong show. Even if I could get over the fact that someone using the name Magnum and running from Dobermanns across a perfectly manicured Hawaiian estate is not Tom Selleck — what I cannot, will not, ever get past is that my beloved Higgins is now a woman! Why? Why would you take one of the best written characters on TV and fundamentally change them? To fit with modern day society? To be more inclusive? Then how about this — try being legitimately creative and coming up with an entirely new storyline?
Hollywood seems to think they can change the gender and ethnicity of characters on old shows and voila – woke modern day success. This is the epitome of laziness. Ghostbusters was a success – let’s make them all women now. “Ocean’s 11”, 12 and 13 did great at the box office — let’s give Danny Ocean a sister with an all-woman crew. Yay girl power! No! It’s lazy. It’s derivative. No matter how much I might like the actresses in these roles.
Fine, if Hollywood of prior years was less open to being inclusive of all races and genders, then I am all for changing that paradigm and focusing on the beautifully diverse landscape that is America today. But please come up with something fresh as your vehicle to celebrate that reality. If you must bring a “Magnum P.I.” back, let the story be about the long-lost daughter he found in the final season of the original. Female Magnum, check!
But let’s get back to Higgy baby for a moment. The emotional arc of the entire Magnum enterprise hinged on who Higgins was and even more precisely the identity of Robin Masters. (The acoustic duo that I performed in for years was called “Who Killed Robin Masters?”) My commitment to this show runs deep. SPOILER ALERT more than 20 years on — there is still a debate about whether or not Higgins was Robin Masters. One popular theory says that Higgins pretended to be Masters, along with the real Masters’ other former unit mates from WWII. Masters was a would-be author and his team wanted to ensure that his manuscript saw the light of day after he was killed in combat. They spent their entire lives dedicated to the charade that kept him alive.
Other fans may tell you another story but it doesn’t matter. Watching Higgins as a female character just doesn’t work for me. I love strong female characters — I am a strong female character. I just need the screenwriters of the world to try a little harder not to take a show that was so beloved and try to update it. There are hundreds of amazing movies and television shows that would be wonderful to see with modern day camera techniques and references but then, would we ever have anything new or would we forever be stuck in a time loop of classics and reboots? I don’t mind the “Solo” origin story for example, but if they ever tried to completely remake Star Wars episodes 4, 5, and 6 with new actors? — Nope!
I suppose now that cinema is over 100 years old, we might need to start expecting this but perhaps there should be a waiting period on reboots? Say 50 or more years so the likely original fan base has passed on to the great couch in the sky.
I will admit the trailer would look decent to me if I didn’t have the original in my head but I do.
Now … I know what you’re thinking …