It seems strange when you consider that my only reason for checking out Season One at the library was that I saw that one of the episodes had Jack Lord in it, and I was curious to see what he was like pre-Steve McGarrett. And a half-hour, black and white show...eh. It only took a few minutes of viewing before I was thinking "The heck with Jack Lord!" (although he did a fine job on the episode) In rapid succession, I had purchased the first three seasons, a book on the show and a bio on Richard Boone, and was grabbing up all the DVDs I could find that Richard Boone had starred in. It's hard to explain this instant love affair. Most of the episodes are excellent--the acting, the directing, the backgrounds. I love the constant variety, and the fact that Boone handled dark drama and broad comedy with equal ease. I love Paladin. The character is strong but gentle, with unquestionable integrity. Kind, generous, well-read, broad-minded. Yet he's not a saint--as he freely admitted on one occasion. He's a human man, with human vices (which he heartily enjoys) and occasionally makes mistakes--which keeps him from being boring.
I do still like Jack Lord. But I understand that the role of Steve McGarrett was turned down by Richard Boone, and I sometimes wonder what the show would have been like with him. Very good, I'm sure. But it probably would not have lasted twelve seasons. I think Boone would have opted out after a few seasons (as he did on HGWT) to search for new interests.
This show has a lot to attract all kinds of tastes. I wish it had lasted longer, and, (as Boone recommended) that it had been done in color--it would probably get a lot more attention.
And I'm still impatiently waiting for the last season!