MacGyver Reboot Update #128

While we finally get to enjoy our weekly episodes, cast and crew are busy filming – so busy, that they don’t have much time to post on social media.

Episode 5×02: Thief + Painting + Auction + Viro-486 + Justice (via CBS/SpoilerTV)

(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 5 storylines by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided. For daily news and to join the discussion, you can find me on Twitter and head over to the MacGyverOnline Forums.)


About the Season 5 Premiere Promo
Season 5 premiered last Friday. Here’s a recap of the promo material:

  • Previews and Teaser Trailers: We got a Season Preview Trailer and a shortened TV spot version. GlobalTV (Canada) also put a Season Teaser Trailer out, using scenes from Season 4. Today, CBS released a new combo trailer (with Magnum PI) that got the “Grindhouse” treatment.
  • Character Teasers and Posters: There were several teaser videos announcing countdowns: Russ (2 Weeks left), Desi (1 Week), Matty (5 Days), Bozer (3 Days), Riley (2 Days) and MacGyver (Tomorrow). While they posted the videos on Instagram, they posted a screenshot photo on Facebook. They also added character posters (by using old Stills from Season 4).
  • Sneak Peeks: We got 3 Sneak Peeks and the Opening Scene as an exlusive clip by ET Online.

But what I always like best about promo days, are the interviews.

Lucas Till in a Zoom Call Interview for The Talk

And while the Morning Shows interviews where as short as ever, we did get some news about the upcoming season.

  • Live-Interviews: Last week, Lucas Till did several live-interviews via Zoom; e.g. for Good Day Sacramento, for local stations CBS 58 (Milwaukee), for CBS LA and for CBS 8 (San Diego). Yesterday, we got another short one by CBS 46 (Atlanta).
  • Interviews: Lucas also did an interview with Matt Weiss for CBS 62 (Detroit) and a longer interview with Parade. Last Friday, he did an appearance on The Talk; alongside Magnum PI lead actor Jay Hernandez.

According to the Parade interview, new Showrunner Monica Macer managed to go back through the previous seasons and find story points that were left without a resolution.

Episode 5×01: Resort + Desi + Riley + Window Cleaner + Witness (via Anabelle Acosta)

Also, there will be a lot of standalone storylines that deal with individual characters and their backstories or their current stories – something that fans have waited for quite some time now.

About Episode 5×01 (MAC415)
Episode 5×01 (Resort + Desi + Riley + Window Cleaner + Witness) was initially filmed with production number 415. It was written by Stephanie Hicks and directed by Avi Youabian. They released 16 Official Stills and 4 Sneak Peeks beforehand.

We got several new and old BtS photos and Instagram stories just before and during the episode aired; e.g. by Guest Stars Jean Brassard, Anabelle Acosta, Jessie T Usher or Eugenie Bondurant and a lot more by the director. Afterwards, we got a closer look at the props (e.g. the ventilator and the air bottles).

Episode 5×01: Resort + Desi + Riley + Window Cleaner + Witness (via Avi Youabian)

Episode 5×01 attracted 4.898 million live-viewers and got a 0.5 rating in the important demo group of 18-49 year olds. While this doesn’t seem like much, the loss compared to last season is about the same as for the other Friday shows. Compared to all other CBS scripted shows airing episodes so far, it places Rank 13 in average demo and Rank 12 for average audience numbers per episode, so about the same as last season. Programming Insider doesn’t report the DVR-Ratings anymore, so I don’t know how much they gained in the Live +3 and +7 days ratings.

Some of the CBS Fall Shows that premiered in November are already on Christmas hiatus. We’ll see if that is a hindrance for the Friday Ratings (due to people not tuning in; thinking it’s going to be reruns as well).

Episode 5×01: Resort + Desi + Riley + Window Cleaner + Witness (Mark Hill/CBS via KsiteTV)

The fans live-tweeted a lot, but with about 660 estimated tweets per hour on average, it wasn’t enough for the hashtag #MacGyver to trend. (In comparison, #BlueBloods trended on Rank 4 US-wide with about 4900 tweets per hour, while #MagnumPI reached 266 tweets per hour.) Overall, the episode was well-received on social media.

What you need to know about Episode 5×02 (MAC414)
Tonight is the release of Episode 5×02 (Thief + Painting + Auction + Viro-486 + Justice). This is the “leftover” episode that was filmed first when production restarted in January; using production number 414. It was written by Peter Lenkov and Andrew Klein and directed by Duane Clark. In case you need a refresher, here’s the synopsis:

When Taylor’s former protégé is killed while preventing a bio-weapon from falling into the wrong hands, Mac and the team must find the weapon so Desi can pull off the ultimate heist before it’s sold to a terrorist cell.

The Preview can be found here. CBS released 16 Official Stills. On Getty Images, you can find 6 (tagged) Stills while SpoilerTV has 6 untagged Stills (but a different variety). The untagged versions of all Stills were just uploaded here a few hours ago.

On Set of Episode 5×02: Thief + Painting + Auction + Viro-486 + Justice (via Justin Hires)

On Wednesday, we got 3 Sneak Peeks. As suspected, this episode will reveal more about Desi’s backstory and probably hint at the relationship status between her and MacGyver.

What you need to know about Episode 5×03 (MAC501)
Next week is the premiere of Episode 5×03 (Eclipse + USMC-1856707 + Step Potential + Chain Lock + Ma). We just got the Press Release yesterday, but no First Look Stills yet. It’s possible there will be some exclusive promo since this is the first episode shot with a new showrunner at the helm. Here’s the synopsis:

When Russ is kidnapped, Mac and the team must break out a previously murderous psychopath, now pacifist, from prison to help find him. Also, while on the run, Mac and Desi are forced to confront their relationship issues.

We’ll get a few familiar faces back as guest stars; e.g. Tobin Bell as Leland or Zach McGowan as Roman (both last seen in the Season 4 Finale). If you need a refresher on Leland, you can find his character bio page here. There’s a nice BtS photo by guest star Joe Pantoliano with Lucas Till and Levy Tran inside a car; posted back in November.

Episode 5×03: Eclipse + USMC-1856707 + Step Potential + Chain Lock + Ma (via Joe Pantoliano)

Today, Joe went live on Instagram; praising the covid safety protocols on set. I hope we will get some more BtS material soon since there isn’t much from when they were actually filming.

It’s interesting to note that back in October, Monica Macer talked to TV Guide for their Fall Preview; stating that Codex is still a threat. Yet, the storyline was quite different:

In the MacGyver Season 5 opener, Codex kidnaps Phoenix owner Russ Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick) for one main reason: a prisoner exchange. So it’s assassin Murdoc (David Dastmalchian), held by Phoenix, for Taylor.

(TV Guide Fall Preview, via TV Insider)

I’ve been wondering why we never got to see David Dastmalchian on set and had assumed that they filmed out of order. (It later turned out that David had been up in Vancouver to film on another TV show.)

TV Guide Magazine Fall Preview (via PattiAnn Prinzivalli)

Instead of going the obvious route, they chose to take on the effort to rewrite the episode (initially titled “Telescope + S-218 + Amplifier + Frenemies + Fog; as seen on the script title page photo by Justin Hires). It would be nice to get some more information or even an interview about this, since filming out of order isn’t unusual and shouldn’t be more difficult despite filming during a pandemic.

Production during a Pandemic: The Time Jump (encore)
According to Episode 5×01, Season 5 picks up 10 months and a pandemic after the Season 4 Finale events. While they did have to deal with the pandemic sooner or later this season and I’m actually glad that they chose to do a post-pandemic world (like NCIS LA or Magnum), I do have some issues with putting the pandemic in as an afterthought into the “leftover” episodes.

Meredith Eaton on set of Season 5 (via Alessia Costantini)

Are we really to believe they shut down a secret agency due to a pandemic? Even though they’re not a government agency anymore since Season 4, I doubt they just closed down shop. Still using the cover of a think tank, they’d still be on the front lines (and MacGyver probably busy working on some new, extra-safe facemask prototype). Also, some minor storylines don’t make as much sense with such a long break (e.g. Russ and Desi still having trust issues 10 months later, but only now adressing it).

I think they should have aired the 6 finished Season 4 episodes first and scrap or re-shoot the unfinished one; then adding a time jump there if needed. Maybe new showrunner Monica Macer didn’t have the patience to make good of what Peter Lenkov left her to work with in the last few episodes? Maybe they deemed some non-Codex-storylines too problematic?

BtS photo of Season 5 (via Christopher Foster)

Maybe this was the “safer” way; considering they don’t know how many episodes they will manage to shoot this season? (With cases rising again world-wide, it’s more and more likely there will be the immediate threat of another shutdown looming after the holidays.)

It’s also worth noting that animal wrangler Jamie stated last week on Instagram that her episode (MAC417) would be scrapped. To be honest, I still can’t imagine that CBS would be willing to scrap the rest of the episodes in these unsure times with potential shutdowns. It could maybe happen for one of the episodes – but judging by the BtS material, I can’t really think of a reason why it should be exactly this episode; especially since this would have featured the return of Frankie (first seen on Episode 1×19: Compass).

BtS photo of MAC417: Golden Lancehead + Venom + Blood + Baggage (via Jamie)

Season 5 Overview
Here’s an overview of all the information about the upcoming episodes so far. The infos were either provided by CBS, by the website for the Writers Guild of America West or by an anonymous source (episode titles), by social media accounts or IMDb (cast and crew info), by SpoilerTV (press releases) and The Futon Critic (airdates).

  • 5×02 (MAC414): Thief + Painting + Auction + Viro-486 + Justice (December 11)
    Written by Peter M. Lenkov and Andrew Klein, directed by Duane Clark
  • 5×03 (MAC501): Eclipse + USMC-1856707 + Step Potential + Chain Lock + MA (December 18)
    Written by Jim Adler and Stephanie Hicks, directed by David Straiton
  • 5×04 (MAC502): Quarantine + N95 + Landline + Telescope + Social Distance (tba for 2021)
    Written by Stephanie Hicks and Andrew Karlsruher, directed by Andrew Ahn

Remember that the episode titles and their order is not definite until an official Press Release by CBS. It’s difficult to predict where the new episodes will be filed in between.

Lucas Till in a Zoom Call Interview for CBS San Diego

For now, the order of the other upcoming episodes is just an assumption; so I sorted them by production number:

  • (filmed with production number MAC416): Jack + Kinematics + MgKNO3 + GTO
    Written by Jim Adler, directed by Ericson Core
  • (MAC417): Golden Lancehead + Venom + Blood + Baggage
    Written by Joshua Brown and Andrew Karlsruher, directed by David Straiton
  • (MAC418): SOS + Hazmat + Frequency + Malihini
    Written by Cindy Appel, directed by Yangzom Brauen
  • (MAC419): Banh Bao + Drill + Burner + Mason
    Written by Justin Lisson and Sophia Lopez, directed by Peter Weller
  • (MAC420): Rails + Pitons + Pipe + Salt (unfinished production)
    Written by Rob Pearlstein, directed by Christine Moore
  • (MAC503): tba

We still don’t know yet how many episodes we’ll get. According to SpoilerTV, production dates are November to March.

Script title page for Episode 501 (via Justin Hires)

During Christmas Break, we’ll get reruns of Episodes 4×01 (Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix) and 4×07 (Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey).

Working on Episode MAC502
(Note: Since we don’t know the order of the episodes yet, I will continue to refer to the to-be-filmed-episodes by their production number.)

Filming for the episode with production number MAC502 started on November 23. According to the writers, the episode was written by Stephanie Hicks and Andrew Karlsruher and is directed by Andrew Ahn. After Thanksgiving Break, we got a BtS photo of Meredith Eaton with Alessia Costantini (presumably back in LA). Thursday and Friday, they filmed a stunt scene with a garbage truck out in the rain; in front of a big green screen. Henry Ian Cusick posted an Insta story from set while sitting in a car; joined by Levy, Tristin and Lucas.

BtS photo of Season 5 (via Steven Serna)

Apparently, we also got the first official “set accident”: In an Instagram Story, Tristin stated that she broke her toe the other day. According to a tweet by Monica Macer, the episode was wrapped shortly before the premiere of Season 5, so that the main cast was able to live-tweet and watch with the fans. The next day, we got a BtS photo of Lucas Till with a guest star.

Working on Episode MAC503
Filming for the episode with production number MAC503 presumably started on Monday. David Dastmalchian posted an Insta Story of him on Tuesday; revealing that he just arrived in Atlanta. It would be nice if he gets to film another episode after his storyline for MAC501 fell through, but there has been no confirmation so far.

BtS photo of Season 5 (via Henry Ian Cusick)

Yesterday, Monica Macer tweeted a photo taken inside of a church while scouting locations. Today, we got an Insta Story of Henry Ian Cusick; posing with Lucas Till who’s dressed like a medieval knight (sword and all). I’m already looking forward to what this is all about.

Cast, Crew and other MacGyver-related News
There have been no new (public) Casting Calls. At this point, it might be possible that they switched casting agencies.

ICYMI: If you still need an idea for a Christmas Gift, the first MacGyver Novel (MacGyver: Meltdown) was released on November 27. Both the book and the kindle version can be ordered here. Last week, we finally got a first Trailer for Lucas Till’s upcoming movie Son of the South by the Australian distributor.

Don’t forget that Tristin Mays’ movie The Christmas Sitter premieres on Sunday on ionTV. You can check out the trailer here.

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