MacGyver, Jr.?

MacGyver-CBS-2016When a show gets a reboot, there's always going to be some internal conflict if the viewer watched, and liked the original. Should they like the new one, and if they do, are they disloyal to the original? If they think it is bad, is it because it is bad, or because they have such fond memories of the original? Of course, if the original was bad and the reboot is better (okay, it is rare, but it happens), then no guilt trip is necessary.

In the case of MacGyver, I have mixed feelings about the reboot. First off, I was not a major fan of the original. I remember watching the show occasionally, but I was not that into it. That struck 2016 me as strange since it is a genre (action) I happen to like especially when the hero uses brains as much or more than brawn.

I have been skimming through the original series and watching random episodes just to see what it was that made the 1980's me ambivalent about the show. Watching the first episode some memories flooded back and I had an, aha! moment. I realized I had never gotten too excited about any of the 1980's era shows. In my opinion, the 1980's was just starting to get into what I consider more mature and modern day themes. However, 1980's TV was still, for the most part, far, far away from the maturity many shows of the last decade and a half have shown.

The 1980's MacGyver (played by Richard Dean Anderson) was an aww shucks kind of guy with an almost eternally optimistic outlook. Nothing wrong with that but it tends to clash with reality and annoy people with less sunny dispositions. However, he was likable enough to be on the air from 1985 to 1992.

In the 2016 version of MacGyver, the character (played by Lucas Till) is younger, may have a few more demons and quirks than the 1980's version, and seems to be less self-confident. Of course, having a love of your life betray you, fake her death, and leave you to die, would probably shake anyone's self-confidence.

However, MacGyver is still a problem-solving genius who works for a super-secret organization that solves problems no other agency can.

Sound like a common theme?

That is one of the potential problems with the 2016 reboot. The stories so far have been routine, light, and try to show how smart, and brave (reckless?) MacGyver is under a variety of circumstances. Is it realistic? Probably not any more than the 1980's version was which after seven seasons was running out of new ways to show how brilliant the main character could be.

There has been so many brilliant problem-solving characters over the last couple of decades that the modern viewer may be a bit numb. It would be like watching magician after magician perform the same illusions over and over until after a while the awe wears off.

So far, the 2016 MacGyver episodes have not been brilliant, but they are easy to watch, and for viewers who are looking for lighter fare, this might be for you.

It is still early in the first season, but I believe that this show will only make it if the writers pull a "MacGyver" and come up with some brilliant shows that have a chance to show that MacGyver, Jr. can grow into the more mature and self-confident man that allowed the 1980's version to last for seven seasons.

If you have never seen the older version of MacGyver, what do you think of this show, and if you have seen the older show, do you think this is a reboot that has a chance of being as good or better than the original?

Check out the intro's below.

Written by Billo0255 on Oct 26, 2016


Petrak28 posted a year ago

I like the the new series better.

Salaster posted a year ago

The original was so much better

SteveHartley posted a year ago

truely awful show.lots better shows than this

UKDoc posted a year ago

As light entertainment, it's passable. It is not on my weekly must watch list,and fills the gaps in between other programmes. I do struggle with the boy that is Mac, he is too young to have any background story, so I have to suspend disbelief compared to the original.

denismunhoz posted a year ago

The reboot isn't the greatest thing on TV, but I'm finding it relatively entertaining so far. I'll keep watching though.

LeonKennedy posted a year ago

Never liked this show. I felt it was kinda kinky.

BazzaG posted a year ago

I loved the original series, so much so that I purchased the series boxset (not something that I do very often). It was so refreshing to see the "hero" use brains rather than brawn and/or guns to get out of trouble. The solutions were often ingenious, yet so "straight forward".

Very unimpressed with new series so far. I find the character of Jack Dalton to be particularly grating.

While I'm still watching ... for now ... unless the writers, producer, director, whomever lift their game, it will be very unlikely I'll be watching MacGyver 2016 come the end of series 1.

LadyShelley posted a year ago

I remember the RDA version fondly; it was cheesy in places, but fun to watch and a counter to some of the other stuff on TV and at the movies at the time. I'm watching the new show and while I like it, it's not the most intelligent thing on TV to be sure. Part of my issue is Lucas Till is just too young to be believable as a top ranked secret agent, he's 26 for pete's sake; I hope there is some sort of back story explaining how he got so far so fast. I love George Eads' Jack, he is great fun. I also agree with the comment on Justin Hires, I have no idea why the character is even in the show; sadly he adds nothing and should be dropped. I put that squarely on the shoulders of the writers, not the actor.

The ratings for the show are strong, especially for a Friday night program, so I expect it will get renewed, hopefully this will give the production a chance to shore up some of it's problem areas and we have a stronger series on the back half of season one and into season two.

KevinC posted a year ago

Where to start with this show? I admit to seeing all versions of MacGyver (I guess that makes me old).

MacGyver2016 is clearly being targeted to younger people, and that's cool. It's seems a little like they updated this for the information age to include all the kinds of technology common post 1995. I like the idea of updating for these two things, and gosh, I like Tristin Mays :)

But, past that, in a world where MacGruber is a thing that happened, MacGyver2016 seems like it struggles to keep from falling into a parody with the laughable things that happen. MacGyver seems to know everything, but not technology? Why in the world does he need a technology sidekick in the first place? It seems so out of lace. For George Eads, his inclusion makes more sense (in the brute force capacity), and I see he's having fun. Fun lasts so long, right.

For MacGyver1985, we had a character that was perhaps a little like Magnum PI (with another fairly iconic opening theme) who was more cerebral and didn't need to resort to shooting at people. He was a great counter to the Rambo/Schwarzenegger action explosion-fests of the time. This was perhaps why I remember MacGyver1985 being so fresh then (or at least my little kid brain did).

Today, MacGyver2016 feels slickly made and derivative. It's a world where geeks are no longer fresh, they're de rigueur. (Scorpion, Big Bang, Mr Robot, Half and Catch Fire), and It's a world where a MacGruber sequel might seem like a fresher take on the subject matter. Can this show improve? I'm sure it can, but I'm not sure it can cure it's biggest challenge: bad timing.

Billo0255 posted a year ago

@zutroy - I agree with you on the theme song. The new version just doesn't fit. The two intro's above also show one other major difference and that is that the old MacGyver was a lot more physical than the newer version. Like you, I'll keep watching. It may not be the best show out there but it is still watchable,

@Stelth - Hopefully the producers, writers, showrunners, powers-that-be will make some adjustments. It's not a terrible show but it could stand some improvements here and there. Like foo mentioned, there is some decent chemistry between the two main characters that you don't always see in a first season. While it won't save the show it is at least a nice change from the traditional bickering that starts out on more than a few shows that inevitably evolves into the characters becoming friends, lovers, married couples, or whatever. The rest of the characters in this cast are a bit too cliche'd and could use some more depth that does not currently exists.

One character I'm having trouble with is played by actor Justin Hires. He just came off of Rush Hour, another reboot, that only lasted a season. Nothing against the actor but I'm puzzled why the writers decided to include him as comic relief. So far it doesn't seem like the character really adds much to the story. Maybe they have plans for him in the future, otherwise I think he's wasted in this show. Plus, if I were him, if MacGyver fails, as an actor I might be a bit worried about being on two different reboots that didn't make it.

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