Review: ‘Magnum P.I.’ is reimagined for 2018, with hammy panache intact

Magnum (the P.I.) isn’t the same, but for better or worse, he isn’t all that different, either. 

Some fans may be upset that CBS has remade the Tom Selleck hit with a new cast – a Latino detective without Selleck’s iconic mustache. The original show was a cheesy macho ball of 1980s humor and style, and squeezing that into a 2018 mold can either make or break a remake. Some, such as “Lethal Weapon” or “One Day at a Time”, thrive with new stories. Others, such as “Full House,” , should have remained frozen in time. 

“Magnum P.I.” falls in the middle of that spectrum, an average, inoffensive and reliably amusing hour. Created by Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim, the new version  (Monday, 9 EDT/PDT, ★★½ out of four) is unlikely to engender the hero worship that greeted Selleck’s CBS series, but it’s a serviceable entry in CBS’ slate of peppy procedurals, with action antics set against a beautiful Hawaiian landscape, not unlike the rebooted “Hawaii Five-O,” which this week begins its eighth modern season. Magnum looks and sounds different, but the private investigator still solves his cases with considerable hammy panache. 

The new Thomas Magnum is played by Jay Hernandez, who’s less inherently charming than Selleck but carries the show with a dazzling smile. The series kicks off after Magnum retires as a Navy SEAL and sets up shop as a private investigator in Hawaii, in the guest house of an author friend’s villa.

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