MacGyver (2017) Season 1 Review
Name of Show: MacGyver
Genre: Action and Adventure
Executive Producer: Henry Winkler, Paul Downs Colaizzo, James Wan, Lee David Zlotoff, Brett Mahoney, Michael Clear, Craig O'Neil
Starring: Lucas Till, George Eads, Sandrine Holt, Tristin Mays, Justin Hires, Meredith Eaton
Based on story by: Lee David Zlotoff
Aired Dates (Season 1): September 23, 2016 to April 14, 2017
If you read my previous reviews of the original series, you know that I am a huge fan. The later seasons were not as good but the first 4 were solid. To be honest, these are the season's that stuck in my mind. So, this new series had big shoes to fill as there are many people that loved the original. One of the main reasons was because of Richard Dean Anderson and the rest of the cast. They just had a chemistry together that made you forget about the missteps in the series. Let us see if the new MacGyver is good.
The plot is similar to the original, where you follow the main character Angus "Mac" MacGyver in his endeavours for the Phoenix Foundation. There is nothing really more to it.
Changes in the Show
Like with every show Hollywood made some changes to the show. In the original show, MacGyver was pretty much solo. He had Pete but for the most part his partners in the episodes would change.
Here, MacGyver is pretty much a partner with Jack Dalton. He is a Military type and loud mouth that always like to use force instead of thinking it out. In the original Jack Dalton was more there for comedy relief and to get Mac in trouble. I guess it is a little twist that unless you are an old fan, you will not notice.
They added the character of Nikki in this version and she is, at least in the first episode the love interest of MacGyver. In the original, MacGyver never had a stable relationship with one exception. That also lasted only 3 episodes and only really spoken about in 2. Here instead of being a regular old type of agent, she works with the DXS team as a hacker.
This will be a spoiler, so be warned. In the first episode Nikki turns her back on the DXS team and double crosses them. This is where Tristen Mayes comes in as the character of Riley Davis. This is a new character created for this show. Obviously the times have changed and you cannot have a government agency without having a hacker. Her story is that she went to jail for hacking the NSA and she has history with Jack Dalton. When looking for a replacement for Nikki, Jack recruited her and she has been part of the team ever since.
One of the last character changes is adding a woman by the name of Patricia Thornton. Seriously, they could not come up with another name? She seems to be very cold and a typical boss type. She also turns on the team about halfway in the season. She gets replaced by Jack Dalton's old CIA Director Matty.
Mac has a roommate called Wilt Bozer. He does not know about the true nature of MacGyvers work. Then one day he discovers what he does. He is then recruited in the Phoenix Foundation as apparently he seems to be very good with prosthetic masks. In the original Mac lived alone and he did not really shy away from his work at the foundation. This is an added new twist to the series.
Did I like the changes in the show? Some yes and some no. I liked that they added a Technical Specialist. Of course the hacking is unrealistic but that is besides the point. I like that they found another way of using Jack Dalton and I think that it works to a certain extent.
In terms of new viewers, I do not know how attached they would feel to the characters. Although Lucas Till is trying his best, I believe he falls short of playing MacGyver. He just does not have the same charisma that Richard Dean Anderson had. The cast as well seems cold. The only character that brings a bit of energy is George Eads as Jack Dalton. So all in all, I am not a huge fan of what they did here and I have not even gotten to the episodes yet.
The first episodes opens in what I believe they tried to do, with a gambit cold opening. I did not like it that much. It felt more like a Mission Impossible type of episode more than MacGyver. You can see that Jack Dalton is partner now with MacGyver. The episode for me was not very good. May be it is because I tried to compare it to the original too much. This is the episode that wanted me to watch the original.
What made the original cool was the chemistry between the characters. Especially between Pete and him. In this one they changed it to Jack and MacGyver. So, in the end it is a similar formula. I guess that adds the history between both and you can see that they have a great trust for one another. I do not know what they did with Patricia Thornton. She ended up being a traitor.. She was there for may be 5 or 6 episodes? I personally do not see the point of that.
Now what everyone is intrigued about is the Macgyverisms. What are those? According to the Google Dictionary:
MacGyverism: A person that utilizes any available resources to resolve a situation that they may be in to a successful conclusion.
In the original, what MacGyver did always seemed somewhat plausible. What made it unbelievable was the fact that all the ingredients needed were always close to where he was. So he was always able to get out of a jam. It was very heavily based on science and physics.
In this one, the MacGyverisms seem to be forced. I cannot fully explain it in writing. You would have to watch the original and then watch this new series. The best example that I can give, is that in one episode, they try to divert a missile aimed at San Francisco. At least that is what I think that i remember. In order to do this, they went in to a high security building and got to a science lab. Once there, they built a make shift satellite that would be strong enough to move the missile enough so that it does not hit any specific target. I do not know about you but that sounds like a very big stretch to me. This is where they lost me. This is not in the spirit of the original show.
I was not a fan of the first season to be honest. I hope that it becomes better with time but it felt more like a Mission: Impossible mixed in with Hawaii 5-0. To be fair, in the original the first 2 or 3 seasons had missions across the world. So there were elements of spying. In the later years they focused more in domestic issues, like drugs and helping kids.
The characters felt cold. I believe the relationship between Jack and MacGyver. After that it just seems like random people working together. Even Wilt, which is supposed to be Mac's best friend seems distant. I think that he became the new Jack Dalton. He brings some humor to the show.
Some of the MacGynerisms felt out of place. The explanations looked weird. I know they are trying to add a new twist to an old formula but it did not work for me. They brought back the naration for some episodes. That was something that was great with the original.
It was renewed for a second season and I hope that they listen to the critiques from fans. I think that they lost a lot of fans after the first few episodes. The pilot brought in about 10.6 million viewers. The season finale brought in 6.57 million viewers.
I think what they could have done better is the story itself. Instead, of rebooting the series, they could have created brand new characters. MacGyver would be the son of the original. You can have a spot with Richard Dean Anderson and people would have accepted it. Now it seems like Hollywood just wanted to bank on a name and do something that they did not know what they were doing. Even Richard dean Anderson does not approve of the series, which is probably a reason why many fans do not like it as well.
I may be comparing too much to the original but even on its own, it is not a strong series. Even for me, I am not a fan of Hawaii 5-0 and those types of shows. What made the original great was its originality. In the time where you had the A-Team, Knight Rider and countless others, this one stood out. Now it feels like it is part of a similar mold.
I said that I would give it the benefit of the doubt. I hope that Season 2 is much better as the first season was not great in my eyes.
Rating: 5 MacGyverisms out of 10
What did you guys think?