Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on August 14, 2016. I made some minor changes (e.g. grammar or source corrections, link corrections, additional pictures) before re-posting it on my own blog for safe-keeping.
Filming continues while the cast does the interview and photoshoot cycle at the TCA Press Tour in LA. Also, we got a brand new trailer, new stills and huge billboard ads!
(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won’t post any revealing pictures, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)
Work, work, work
Cast and Crew were still filming for Episodes 1×02 and 1×03 last week; shooting on the Historic Oakland Cemetery, in Midtown Atlanta and Downtown near Hardy Ivy Park. Several bypassers caught them filming while walking through the park or were able to watch the set from above. The reboot also got some impressive new lighting installations for the interior sets. For the rest of the week, production seemed to move onto higher grounds. A sky scraper setting for New MacGyver’s work place, maybe?
We finally got some more information about the Ninja shooting, gun-wielding bikini babes on the tank. Turns out they’re actually The MacGyverettes! Of course, we still don’t know what this is all about – Opening Gambit? Mac working undercover on a movie set? Who knows. Seems we’re up for a big surprise (hopefully a good one).
Let the Promo begin: Interviews, Stills and Billboard Ads
On August 9, IndieWire posted an interview with Executive Producer Peter Lenkov about rebooting beloved shows. Lenkov revealed his rules of remakes: 1) Honor the original property. 2) Dive even deeper into the characters that fans love. He said: “The secret sauce is what MacGyver does, and I’m hoping that becomes a thing where people the next day are talking about, ‘Can you believe he did that?’ I think the characters are different, and the original show was very plot-driven. Nowadays, we have to really look at why people are tuning in. They’re tuning in for the characters.”
On August 10, SpoilerTV released more promotional pictures for the Pilot Episode and the main cast.
On August 11, someone spotted a new billboard ad from afar – which didn’t look very promising to me. The up-close-version of a new poster provided by Peter Lenkov on the same day revealed the new tag line: “No man has done more with less“. It looks slightly better up close, but this poster wouldn’t spark my curiosity enough to watch the pilot if I didn’t already have a clue what the show was all about. It also reminds me of the first poster for the Unaired Pilot that shall not be named.
On the other hand, it’s not so different from other posters for movies or TV shows. Some people might think it’s a little cheesy, but that only fit’s into some of the cheesier episodes of the original show. My problem is mainly that it doesn’t seem to bring across what Original MacGyver made him our favorite TV hero in the first place.
It seems they did invest quite some money for the upcoming promo, though. Besides another version of a huge billboard ad, there are Sightseeing Busses driving through Hollywood announcing the “New Fridays” on CBS. I’m already curious what else is coming.
Let the Promo begin: MacGyver at TCA
On August 11, the cast travelled to LA with Peter Lenkov and Pilot Episode Director James Wan to do the promo rounds at the Television Critics Association (TCA). The visit included a short interview panel, photoshoots, live video interviews (streamed on the official MacGyver on CBS Facebook page), press interviews and posing for pictures with the interviewers.
The panel wasn’t aired, but we got almost everything live on Twitter and shortly afterwards via Online Articles. Peter Lenkov started with a MacGyverism consisting of trying to power up his smartphone through a lemon. Apparently, he should have brought more lemons to make it work. (Or maybe a cactus from the Ugly Duckling episode? Maybe I should try this with my old-school cell phone since it’s not smart and only needs to be charged once a week anyway.)
We had already heard a lot of what was said at the San Diego ComicCon panel last month: It’s “Team MacGyver” now; MacGyver get’s a family and a “bromance”. Also, there definitely will be guns (although it won’t be MacGyver using them.)
Thankfully, they also shared some new information: Since MacGyver’s first name is not a secret anymore, it will be used frequently in the reboot. They will incorporate the original theme, with a new theme in the main title sequence. They already have a role in mind for Richard Dean Anderson and (still) hope he says yes. Lucas Till admitted he cut his hair because of the negative reactions after shooting the Unaired Pilot (we probably won’t ever know if he wanted it cut or if the bosses made him do it). There’s a nod to Hawaii Five-0 in the pilot and Lenkov hopes they get to do a crossover eventually. The cast still does its homework and watches the MacGyver reruns in their trailers between takes.
After they made everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to Lucas Till, the cast hit the TCA After Party before travelling back to Atlanta to pick up filming.
Let the Promo begin: The Trailer
On August 12, CBS unexpectedly dropped a new trailer. While it’s again restricted on YouTube for an US-only-audience, CBS TV Studios was nice enough to put it up on their Twitter Account and on Facebook so everyone can see it.
I’ve watched it several times now, but I’m still not sure what to think of it. For the reboot itself, I’m still hovering between excitement, annoyance and bracing myself for disappointment. As for the trailer, there’s a lot of action and we get to see every crew member of “Team MacGyver” – The Brains (MacGyver), The Muscle (Jack Dalton), The Boss (Patricia Thornton), The Best Friend (Wilt Bozer) and The Hacker (Riley Davis). Sadly, the introduction of the whole team in such a short time is why we don’t see very much of New MacGyver himself and what makes him tick. The trailer does peak my curiosity, but it doesn’t “feel” like MacGyver yet.
Cast and Crew News
TVLine provided more information about Amy Acker’s role; revealing her character’s name (Sarah Adler). They also confirmed our suspicions that she’s no damsel in distress that needs rescuing. According to Lenkov, she’s a “female version of George Eads’ Jack Dalton, and she’s pretty badass!”.
Sarah Mays shared a picture on Instagram that revealed her being part of the Make-Up-Departement. Several extras shared their excitement online; e.g. Aina Dumlao (as a character named Andie Lee), Steven Stokes (Background Actor) or Tyler Ellstein (StandIn). Also, the IMDb page is slowly filling up with more names for the first three episodes.
Filming, writing, cutting
Still many more episodes to shoot until December, and the premiere is only six weeks away. SpoilerTV has revealed that Episode 1×04 will be called “Wire Cutter”.
While the writers spend the nights on the studio lot working, Peter Lenkov apparently has had a long weekend of cutting to do. It’s good to see that everyone is so dedicated to this project; their energy sure adds to the curiosity and excitement for the fans of the old show.