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****Sharkey's Review****
 
Soul Survivor
 Season Premier/11th Season (2000-2001)
Date Aired: 10/08/00   Encore: 10/14/00
Week of: 10/02/00 - 10/08/00 
 
My Score: 1 Rescue Can
 
This Week's Quote: "It's our job to save lives. That's our reward. Not getting even!"
                                              -Sean Monroe (Jason Brooks) to Leigh Dyer (Brande Roderick) when she tried to expose Cliff in front of the press.
 
Ratings:
5 Rescue Cans/Exceptional (Super Waves!)
4 Rescue Cans/Excellent
3 Rescue Cans/Good
2 Rescue Cans/Fair
1 Rescue Can/Poor (A Total Wipeout!)

Drastic changes were made for the 11th season. The Executive Producers decided to give Baywatch Hawaii a night soap format. Viewing this first episode, I can honestly say that the remaining loyal fans who kept the show hanging on in the ratings last season will not be pleased. They were hoping for improvement. I can also say that since its move to Hawaii, that the show has run its course. It is my guess that the 11th season's ratings won't be enough to boost it to a 12th season. Let's face it. As hard as it tries, Baywatch Hawaii is NOT Baywatch. And it never will be. It was almost clever to try to pass off a spin-off series as Baywatch so that it could go on for several more seasons. Unfortunately it didn't work. 

Lessons were not learned from the disastrous spin-off, BAYWATCH NIGHTS. I think that everyone remembers that one. Don't remember it? Let me refresh your memory! And for those new fans who are in the dark, it began modestly with three partners Mitch (David Hasselhoff), Garner (Greg Alan Williams) and Ryan (Angie Harmon) starting a detective agency. They kept their day jobs and ran the agency on the side. You had three types of law enforcement here. A lifeguard, a police officer and a lawyer. BW Nights owner Donna Marco (Donna D'Errico) and photographer (Eddie Cibrian) were mainly used for viewers to look at and drool over since they were not given much to do. The show started out slow, but it could have worked with a lot of improvement in that writing department...in its crime fighting format. But what happened? The original format was suddenly dropped. The next season's format changed into an Ex-files type show. Mitch investigated cases of the supernatural. It was totally unbelievable! So unbelievable that every fan in the world knew that Baywatch was not in that type genre. Ryan's occupation was suddenly changed from a lawyer to an impossible scientist. And Garner was gone. Greg wisely left the show to pursue other interests. The promos were that you could see David Hasselhoff as you've never seen him before. Fans had the last word. Meaning that they voiced their disappointment and simply stopped watching, resulting in the show's cancellation. It was yanked out of its time slot enjoyed right after Baywatch. It was therefore aired early mornings in the 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. time slots until all first run episodes were completed before disappearing for good. To the press, David Hasselhoff contributed the cancellation to the fantasy of trying to do two shows at once. Unfortunately, the painful truth after reading all of the complaints that stuffed my mailbox was that the show was viewed just plain awful. It was deemed unwatchable and no one wanted to see David Hasselhoff as they have never seen him before. They wanted to see Mitch Buchannon as they have always seen him!

As for Baywatch Hawaii itself, gone are those classic montages and well recognized slow motion Baywatch trots down the beach toward a victim that still win over hordes of new fans even though that original show is now in reruns. Who can forget the cast over the years? Those famous eye catching RED swimsuits?  The great jackets, gear bags and formal dress uniforms! The red rescue cans! They are all sorely missed.

After two seasons with the show, blonde beauty Brooke Burns who portrayed Jessica "Jessie" Owens is gone. Brooke got married just over a year ago and had confirmed pregnancy reports. Simmone MacKinnon and Brandy Ledford were given the boot primarily because of their participation in a Non-Union video, which goes against Screen Actors Guild (SAG) rules. This has been big news with the press. There is a serious commercial actors strike in its 6th month as of this writing. It is the longest actors strike in history. The strike will help improve the current extremely unfair pay and royalties for those actors who make their living doing commercials, videos and other shorts included in that category. And the famed, successful actors, music stars and entertainers are in full support of the strike. Remembering how they started and got help, many have given great donations to the cause so that the commercial actors can pay their rent and bills. And fans should beware that there is concern for upcoming writers and actors strikes.

Stacy Kamano also participated in the sexy video. If the Executive Producers had any respect for what the strike represents and the rules of the SAG, she would have been fired and replaced as well. But as the Executive Producers would have it, she was favored because of her Hawaiian heritage. This was not a good move and justice had not been completed. She still should have been replaced with another Hawaiian native. Like the other two girls, Stacy crossed the picket line. Stacy wasn't punished and to be fair, they should have kept the other girls. She got away with what the others could not. And the fans who adored these two actresses have already expressed their disapproval over this matter! You just wouldn't believe how many e-mail messages flooded my mail box! I would really like for Greg Bonann and David Hasselhoff to truthfully explain this one. But for everything surrounding this issue, believe me, they won't.  Baywatch spokespeople always avoid commenting on anything connected that surrounds negative publicity.

Many fans wanted to know why Jason Momoa and Stacy Kamano were shown as the stars of the show. Although the two Hawaiians are shown first and second in the opening credits, it is apparent that they are not the stars of the show. It is more than apparent that this tactic is used to please the state of Hawaii. There seems to be a lot of legal issues involved and many other things that I will get into much later. Baywatch Hawaii's best storylines are centered around Jason Brooks, the shows new lead. Stacy Kamano and Jason Momoa are pretty much used as supporting actors.

The season's opener only offered two standard storylines. Nothing to make it stand out from the rest of the season. Despite the fact that the episode was not well thought out to carry it over from last season's climax, one plot worked and the other didn't. The Sean Monroe storyline worked and was the only thing worth watching in this piece. The trainees for the Lifeguard Training Center made a boring addition ((((YAWNING)))). What in the world were they thinking? Fancier, sexier barely there 2-piece training suits for the women just can't make up for lack of a good storyline and acting ability. Carrie and Zack seem to be the only ones who talk among the trainees. A few extras, PLEASE!  And the Jason storyline was as it has always been over the last season....just something added to fill the rest of the time slot ((((STILL YAWNING)))).

For someone as young as Jason (who was still only about twenty when the season started shooting), you would think that the writers would come up with something more interesting than just always having him chasing after, quickly winning over, locking lips and having cheap sex with young women each week. I think that the BW fans have both seen and have had enough last season. The Jason character requires more depth. The writers should give him more serious storylines to prove his ability as a lifeguard and to get Sean to see him as one of his best staff members. After all, Jason is supposed to be a lifeguard prodigy although he has shown no signs of being one. This would help the young actor acquire some polished acting skills should someone else come along that the Executive Producers like better and he is given the boot. This is something that we have seen too much of over the last five years!

Jason just can't cut it as a sultry screen lover. Despite a deep voice and tall stature, his behavior comes across as way too immature. And his selfish, egotistical character does not respect women. As a player, he uses them and then tosses them like soiled tissue. A regular girlfriend would do nicely here to change that. I know that I am going to hear about it from all of those Jason Momoa admirers out there. Sorry to Jason fans, but he really should work on that acting ability as he sounds as if he is still reading stiffly from the script. Hmmm....did I say reading stiffly? I should have said announcing his lines from the script. Good looks alone isn't enough to make it on the screen here.

As the story unfolds, Captain Sean Monroe (Jason Brooks) noted that the BW Training Center was going to become a reality. He explained to Councilman McKenna (Anson Williams) and his staff the purpose of The Training Center and showed them photos of the staff. He told them who they were and where they are from. Councilman McKenna told Sean that everything must go through Jenna Avid (Krista Allen). Sean stated to them that they were independent of the state's lifeguard system. Jenna, who was sitting beside the Councilman came back with that they were working on District Land, have District Services and didn't pay them anything.

I have noted that there was no mention of Mitch Buchannon's dream to make this center happen and that Sean was continuing because of Mitch's death. Or to any honor that Mitch was the founder. The main character for many years was suddenly wiped out from everyone's memory. As we all recall in the 10th season's two-part premier, Aloha Baywatch and Mahalo Hawaii, Mitch using his architect skills, personally drew up the plans and got the building permits for the center, scraped up the money for it in California, and had it custom built from scratch to suit their needs. He oversaw the construction while keeping his job in LA County. Later in the season, it was mentioned that Baywatch Officials in LA wanted Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) to take the job as Chief. It was never explained if Mitch took the job or not or how he got the rights to use the LA County system's Baywatch logo, which would make the organization adjacent to the system in LA. He put Sean in charge of running the place and in training the team. I assumed that the Lifeguard Training Center had to be on land that was bought (which is usually the case for any business or organization that isn't renting the space) although nothing was mentioned of this. Or any deals with the District.

Mitch had owned The Center and as it was constantly mentioned in the early 10th season episodes that it was his dream (although we all know that it really wasn't.  Mitch always dreamed of becoming a lifeguard. He loved being in on the big rescues).  Now suddenly after Mitch's death, Sean inherits it? I can't see the reasoning here. I also couldn't see how the District Councilman could even try to take over an independent operation. They state that they own the land, The Center uses District Services and they don't pay anything. These are not strong enough reasons to try to take over something that isn't theirs. If anything, they should be proud to have such an organization in Hawaii.

Continuing with the review, Sean was driving along back to Headquarters. When he stopped for a traffic sign, a skateboarder named Zack McEwan (Charlie Brumbly) flipped over his truck. Sean's first instinct was to see if the boarder was hurt. Zack kept insisting that he was fine. Sean got him to sit down to take it easy for a while. He wanted to take him to the hospital. But Zack again insisted that he was O.K. He got up and left on his skateboard.

On the way to his destination, Zack stopped a little boy named Casey and his 19-year-old sister Peggy from arguing. Casey wanted to go into the water below.  Meanwhile, Sean arrived at Headquarters while a group of young lifeguards from various locations got off a bus to train at The Center. Leigh Dyer (Brande Roderick) was there to greet them.

Casey jumped into the water anyway. Peggy called after him. She didn't see him, so she jumped in off the cliff after him. Peggy was soon swimming underwater to find him. After getting to the boy, she realized that he was hurt.  She hung onto Casey while looking for help. Just as the trainees were suited up to train, Sean received a call for help. He and Leigh set out on their way for the rescue. Cliff Tyler, who Jenna got to bring in money for the district, was going out with them on his black racing Jet Ski. He was primarily there to do a racing show.

Sean was overseeing the rescue. Cliff wanted to go right in to get them. But Sean told him that it was too dangerously close to the rocks. Cliff made a fuss that Sean always had to be the one to make the big rescues. Sean got to the boy and swam him to the bed of the Jet Ski. Cliff, who was jealous and did not want to be shown up by Sean, went in close to get the girl. He told Peggy to extend her hand to grab hold of his. The girl was suddenly sucked underwater.

Cliff was completely clueless as to what had happened. Sean swam underwater to find out. The girl's hair was caught in the exhaust and she would drown unless they turned the Jet Ski over. The selfish Cliff did not want his Ski ruined. Sean told him to back off. He pushed Cliff off the Ski and they turned it over to get her above water. Sean took a knife so that he could get her loose. Peggy did not want her hair cut off.  She was panicking so badly that Sean assured her that he would not cut it off. He cut into the Jet Ski's tail pipe instead so that he could get the part out that had held her hair. Cliff was angry and protested that he should have cut her hair. He fussed and cussed. He told Sean that he would settle up with him later. Sean managed to get her out and over to the lifeguard Jet Ski's victim bed. The two victims were soon loaded into an ambulance.

Later, Sean told Leigh and Kekoa to get the scarabs ready to train the group. The group went out toward the two scarabs. J.D. was looking over the Jet Ski that Sean had to cut open. Sean asked him how much it would cost to replace the bolt. J.D. told Sean that it would be expensive. Sean had hoped that he would be able to find the funds to replace it.

Sean made it down to where the group was training later. Cliff was close by training on his course. Cliff knew that people were in the water, but he wanted to show off. He rode hard and deliberately splashed Sean and all of those close by him. After Cliff finished his ride, he told Sean that he wanted him to buy him lunch. Cliff acted worse than a jerk with the food vendor. They exchanged words. Cliff got told off by the food vendor. This was one man that he could not get to bend to his will. He and Sean exchanged words. Cliff was soon leaving. And Cliff had something bad to say about the freshness of the shrimp. The vendor commented that were they friends? Sean told the man that they used to be.   Now he seemed to be after something. The vendor remarked, maybe his head on a plate.

Cliff got an unlucky, unexpected surprise when he tried to make unwanted advances at Leigh. His unwanted advances were rejected. Because he was used to getting what he wanted, this angered him. Later out again where the trainees were practicing, Cliff was out on the course again. He then kept riding and Sean picked up a speaker and told him to back off-that he was off the course and too close to the swimmers that were in the water. Cliff deliberately ignored it and this prompted Sean to go into the water to stop him. Cliff had knocked one of the trainees off and under the water. Sean shoved Cliff off the Jet Ski. Cliff was angry. When the two got out of the water, Sean told him that he was off the course and he was too close to the swimmers. Cliff told Sean that he always has to be the boy scout.

It is very obvious that Cliff was extremely jealous of Sean. Despite all of the money that Cliff had made from his craft, he still came off as a complete failure. He saw that Sean was doing something that would benefit the world and wanted to stop it at all costs. Cliff should step out of his fantasy world, get a life and move on.

Cliff still tried to pursue Leigh. She still pushed off his unwanted advances. Cliff tried to get her to take his card and convince her that The Lifeguard Training Center is going to fail. That she should come and work for him. The tactic failed, so he offered his money as an investor in the center. She told Cliff that she couldn't stand him. And that she is here to help Sean build The Center.

Sean had overheard the whole thing and confronted Cliff. Leigh left the two to talk. After dodging Cliff's fist, Sean grabbed Cliff by the collar and told him that he wasn't going to put up with any more of his games. Have his race and get out of his life.

The next morning, Cliff saw Sean. He walked over and apologized, if you could call it that. He tried to give him funds as a sponsor and said that he discussed it with Leigh. It was O.K. Sean told Cliff to keep his money. This action prompted Sean to confront Leigh. Leigh told Sean that it was not what she said. She was going to discuss it with him first. Leigh wanted to know what happened between the two of them. Sean explained that 10 years ago, the two of them did tow-ins and Cliff got scared and left him there to die. If another surfer had not come along, he would have died.

It was pretty close to the time for Cliff's race. Leigh stated that the surf was getting dangerous. She checked the computer for a complete analysis. Sean was closing the beach. This made Cliff angry. He was canceling the race. Cliff was going out anyway. Sean said that they had to get out there to keep Cliff from killing himself. The two suited up. Cliff was surfing and wouldn't make a huge, uncontrolled wave. Cliff was wiped off his board. Sean went under to find him after putting on his fins. Sean saved him and got Cliff back to the beach. Cliff was upset that Sean had rescued him. He didn't want anyone to know this. He was pretty banged up and was in need of the hospital, but Cliff left them with Sean calling after him.

Later in a press conference, Cliff made up a tale as to how he saved himself from the surf.  This upset Leigh and she tried to confront Cliff, telling him what a liar he was. Cliff just pretended that he didn't know her. Sean pulled her away and apologized to everyone. Sean acted as if he didn't know Cliff either. Smiling, Cliff continued to soothe the press over with his lies. When they were alone, Leigh told Sean that she didn't understand. Sean told Leigh that it was their job to save lives. That was their reward, not getting even.  She swallowed her pride and finally nodded in agreement.

Any good reporter would have grilled AND nailed Cliff good. Reporters are very nosey. Anyone with half a brain would have known that Cliff could not have saved himself from the accident. And with an arm in a cast! He would have died underwater in that rough wave. Many insecure guys like Cliff lie all the time to try to make themselves look good to the world. And since a reputable lifeguard, Leigh was telling Cliff off...and she did manage to get quite a few sentences out, someone should have come over to get her side of the story since she was there.  Reporters are very nosey, you know.

After the disappointment of seeing this episode, I just had to take a rescue can off for not mentioning Mitch Buchannon at all! After the cliff hanger last season, fans deserved the respect of seeing at least three continuous episodes related to the tragic incident concerning Mitchs death. At least it would have phased out the character in an honorable way. This first episode started as if Mitch never existed! I almost added on a new rating for this season (0 rescue can/forget it...still something to think about). This is mainly for the fact that Mitch Buchannon was not EVEN mentioned in ANY WAY.  Not even naming the Center THE MITCH BUCHANNON BW HAWAII LIFEGUARD TRAINING CENTER!  After all, he WAS the founder and got everything set up.

And that language needs to be in English, not a new one that most people would not care to learn. Also, the strong language and too extreme emphasis on explicit sex has got to go! I don't like seeing anyone under the age of 21 using language like that. The show is no longer family friendly, which makes it unsuitable for children. But then, this breed of lifeguard spends more time at the Hawaiian Tropics Bar consuming alcoholic beverages than on rescues. As much as they all gulp down, you would have to wonder how they manage to stay sober long enough to patrol a beach or operate machinery.

The acting in the Sean storyline was pretty strong and kept it watchable. The rest of the storylines were not of any interest. They were there as a filler. Although I am disappointed in the SOAP direction that the show has taken...BAYWATCH HAWAII: THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE TRAINING CENTER'S FATE, here is hoping that it will get better as the episodes are aired.  My Score: 1 Rescue Can

Next Review: A Knife In The Heart 

 

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