It’s always fun to speculate what could happen in a TV show; especially if a TV show is already running for more than a few seasons. There are many characters and storylines to choose from.
Back in March 2017, when the filming for Season 1 was coming to an end, I joined the “Guess the Season Finale Plot Twist” Game on Twitter. The point of this silly game is to make crazy and whacky predictions about a Season Finale that you would never expect to happen – but that actually COULD happen.
For Season 2, I made predictions about the Season Premiere Plot Twist.
In this blog post, I’m looking back at the second half of my Season 2 Premiere Plot Twists guesses. (Because it’s fun, that’s why!)
Why? At the end of the Pilot Episode, Thornton announced that due to Nikki Carpenter’s betrayal, DXS would have to relocate and get a new name.
Could this have happened? Theoretically, this should have already happened after Thornton was revealed as the mole. Phoenix wasn’t safe anymore – maybe that’s the reason why they got breached in the Season 1 Finale?
Would I have wanted this to happen? Well, I wouldn’t have minded them relocating, but changing the name of the Phoenix Foundation is a no-go, of course.
Could this still happen? Yes. But I’m pretty sure it won’t.
Why? On August 26, George Eads had posted a BtS picture on Instagram where it looked like Jack was holding onto MacGyver for dear life. In the Official Stills a few days later, it looked a bit like MacGyver was stuck in the sewer and Jack tried to pull him out.
Could this have happened? This wasn’t very likely to happen, no. But it would have been fun, right?
Would I have wanted this to happen? MacGyver narrating an entire episode? Yes, please.
Could this still happen? Sure. Although MacGyver being stuck for 40 minutes without a way of getting out doesn’t feel like MacGyver.
Why? On July 31, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov uploaded a BtS picture of Mac and Jack in the hospital. Mac looks pretty bedraggled and slightly guilty while Jack apparently can’t sit properly.
Could this have happened? Jack mentioned in Episodes 1×17 (Ruler) and 1×20 (Hole Puncher) that he goes all method when being undercover. So yes.
Would I have wanted this to happen? Sure, why not? Would have been especially funny if it turns out to be a really stupid tattoo.
Could this still happen? Yes.
Why? The synopsis of Episode 2×01 (DIY or DIE) was this: Using a cell phone and soccer ball, MacGyver and the team search for a Navy SEAL who is believed to be alive in captivity in the Middle East. So we already knew a cell phone would be needed for a MacGyverism and that it wouldn’t survive.
Could this have happened? Yes, absolutely. It kinda DID happen, although it wasn’t Jack’s cell phone and that it didn’t really die. It was just lost to the bad guys.
Would I have wanted this to happen? Sure, why not?
Could this still happen? Yes, and I’m pretty sure it will.
Why? It didn’t happen in every episode, but Mac making Paperclip Art was kind of an underlying storyline throughout Season 1. And Lisa’s Tweet about that huge Paperclip immediately inspired this Plot Twist Guess.
Could this have happened? Yes, although it wasn’t very likely.
Would I have wanted this to happen? Sure; and I still think this should be addressed in some capacity.
Could this still happen? Yes, but I don’t think it will.
FunFact: I accidentally typed “Papierclip” in my Tweet. This was partly due to autocorrect (my “native” computer language is German), partly due to the fact that “Papier” in German means “paper” and we “normal” people use paperclips mostly for holding together papers, after all. Yet, a paperclip is called “Büroklammer” in German. In case you ever need it, I pronounce it “Büro-Chlammere” in Swiss German.
Why? None of the rebooted Phoenix Directors seems to have offices. They sure must have a ton of paperwork to do?
Could this have happened? Yes.
Would I have wanted this to happen? It would be nice to see more of Phoenix besides the War Room, the Interrogation Room and the Lab since the complex seems to be a big one with many underground levels.
Could this still happen? Yes. If they get another budget raise.
Why? I don’t like Sparky that much. I’d prefer scenes between “real” characters, not robotic ones.
Could this have happened? Yes.
Would I have wanted this to happen? I prefer MacGyver saving the day, thank you very much. After all, the show is named after him.
Could this still happen? Sadly, yes.
I had made some Season Premiere Plot Twist Guesses that I hadn’t let loose on Twitter, but kept quiet on my Word Document until now. Some I deemed too similar to each other. Others I deemed too boring. And in the end, I had to limit my guesses because I was quite busy and had decided to write another Reboot Update instead so you wouldn’t have to wait 2 weeks as usual. I don’t see a reason to keep them all to myself now that the episode has aired.
Why? Even after the main cast convirmed Isabel Lucas being cast as new series regular, we didn’t get any information about her character. There was no press release about her joining the team and no interviews or show appearances of her.
Could this have happened? Yes.
Would I have wanted this to happen? Not really, no.
Could this still happen? Yes, although that isn’t very likely. But since they’re both CIA, they actually might know each other (or might know about each other).
Why was this Plot Twist Guess not posted on Twitter? I had already made a Season 2 Premiere Plot Twist Guess about the new agent joining the team being Jack’s sister. So this Plot Twist Guess was redundant and therefore boring.
Runner-Up Plot Twist Guess (No.3): Jack shaved off his Mohawk after losing a bet.
Why? It was clear from the first BtS pictures we got that Jack Dalton had a new haircut.
Could this have happened? Yes.
Would I have wanted this to happen? Sure.
Could this still happen? Yes. It seems very Jack and losing this kind of bet probably hurts less than drinking an entire bottle of Hot Sauce like seen in Episode 1×16 (Hook).
Why was this Plot Twist Guess not posted on Twitter? I’m not sure. It didn’t seem important enough, I guess. I posted other Plot Twist Guesses first. And then I forgot all about it.
Did you miss Part 1 (Episodes 1 to 5)? Or Part 2 (Episodes 6 to 10)? Or Part 3? (Episodes 11 to 15)?
You know the drill: I’m looking back at the Official Stills for each Episode; picking my favorites and writing down some of my thoughts. (Because I just can’t keep quiet, as you all know by now.)
Episode 1×16: Hook (Still Photographer: Guy D’Alema)
For Episode 16, we got the highest amount of Official Stills for Season 1: A whopping 20 Stills via SpoilerTV. Most of them featured Team Phoenix and some bonding time, but some also prominently featured members of the Colton family.
MY FAVORITE: I was excited when it was announced that the Coltons would show up in this episode, but I wasn’t that fond of the Official Stills for them – maybe because the BtS pictures posted on social media were much more interesting than what we got from CBS.
I found this scene between Mac and Jack much more interesting – although the actual scene in the episode didn’t turn out that exciting as the Official Still implied.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: Well, there’s 20 Stills in total, so I don’t think I’m allowed to complain much. There’s no SAK.
Episode 1×17: Ruler (Guy D’Alema)
Ah. The episode that tried to rope Thornton back in although the actress never appeared in the episode. We only got 8 Stills via SpoilerTV, but they were all of the same sequence which is a pivotal one. The Stills make you curious.
MY FAVORITE: The Phoenix Squad marching away from danger (because why run away when you look so good strutting it?).
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: No SAK since Episode 1×14 (Fish Scaler). But the Stills here are interesting. They show action, tension and I like the lighting and the colors as well.
Episode 1×18: Flashlight
Ah. The first Crossover Episode for the show, this time with Hawaii Five-0. For Episode 18, we got quite a lot of Promo (with interviews and BtS videos), but not that many Stills via SpoilerTV. There were 9 in total.
MY FAVORITE: The one with Mac and Jack chilling on the beach. They look so serene in this not-so-serene-anymore location.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: Two of them feature Mac and Jack fighting and two others already imply the happy ending. But it’s nice to see them in a totally different location for once (8 out of the 9 are from one of the beach sequences). The colors and the people are very pretty to look at.
Episode 1×19: Compass
This episode granted us 6 Stills via SpoilerTV and 2 more via Getty Images.
MY FAVORITE: The one with Mac, Jack and Frankie.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: All Stills feature the same location. But it’s nice we got to see the Guest Star in them. And because Jack’s injury is so prominently featured as well, you just have to ask yourself what might have happened.
Episode 1×20: Hole Puncher(Guy D’Alema)
We got 9 Official Stills via SpoilerTV; featuring 3 different scenes.
MY FAVORITE: Without any knowledge of the synopsis, this Still just has to make you curious. Mac looks… different. Angry? Annoyed? What’s going on? Who’s sitting in front of him?
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: Hm. Only 2 locations in these Stills, featuring only 3 different scenes. Because of the Press Release, we already knew that Murdoc plays an important role in this episode. Would have been nice to see him in one of the Stills as well.
Episode 1×21: Cigar Cutter (Guy D’Alema)
The Season Finale! We got 6 Official Stills via SpoilerTV. The show was already renewed for a second Season, so people were wondering if it would end in a cliffhanger.
MY FAVORITE: MacGyver in danger (what else is new). So much action and movement in a single picture. For once, there’s nobody just sitting around.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: We got some other Promo for the Season Finale in form of interviews, but I feel like we should have gotten more Official Stills. 4 out of the 6 Stills feature the same fight sequence, but for a Season Finale Episode, you could argue that this must be a very exciting and important scene.
MacGyver doesn’t use guns and only resorts to violence when necessary. He uses his brains – mainly his vast science knowledge – to solve problems and catch the bad guys. This was established by the Original Show. It’s also one of the reasons why the show was so successful in the first place, especially overseas.
A Reboot is always tricky. It’s basically a new show that still has to honor the original to a certain extent. There are some things that can’t be touched while some things are a “nice to have”. Of course, not everyone feels the same about these “nice to have”s.
I was happy they put Lucas Till into the brown leather jacket as a nod to the original. But if they had decided that it was too hot in Atlanta to let Lucas run around in it all day and had to let go of it, that would have been fine by me. No need to make an actor collapse due to a heat-stroke just to have another Easter Egg to cross off your list. I love the voice-overs, but I can understand why they stopped doing them after a while. I know others were very vocal about the lack of rebooted MacGyver’s love for hockey, but I got over that pretty quickly.
For me, it would have been nice if the Reboot (and especially the Pilot Episode) had implemented more of the subtleties of Original MacGyver’s character – e.g. the fact that he doesn’t drink alcohol or that he cares deeply about the welfare of animals and the environment. On the other hand, it was very important to me that they keep MacGyver’s aversion toward guns and violence.
Guns, violence and nudity
There is a time and place for guns, violence or nudity in movies and TV shows. While I don’t think it’s necessary tho have this “holy trinity” in a movie or a TV show to entertain me, I don’t mind it if it happens in the right context and serves a purpose. I don’t need it just for the sake of entertainment – because if there’s a good storyline and great acting, you don’t need the big kabooms or naked shenanigans.
Like most fans of the Original MacGyver show, I believe that there’s no need for guns, violence and nudity in a MacGyver Reboot.
The nonviolent aspect is more than a subtlety, it was the core of the show.
Original MacGyver was famous for being a family-friendly show. It was different than its counterparts airing at the same time (e.g. The A-Team). Paramount (who owned Original MacGyver back then) used this also for advertizing, e.g. with he statement in the ad above (You don’t need a weapon when you’re armed with imagination) or for the DVD Cover of Season 2 (His Mind is the ultimate Weapon).
Of course, CBS and the showrunners were aware that they couldn’t dare rebooted MacGyver using guns and too much violence. MacGyver is a well-known TV show and a bankable Franchise; they didn’t want to lose Original Fans as potential viewers. Problem is: They wanted rebooted MacGyver as the secret agent of the Original Season 1, not the preachier PSA version of the later seasons. They wanted the big kabooms and car chases and bazookas. They wanted the action. So what did they do? They gave rebooted MacGyver combat experience and a gun-wielding sidekick in the character of Jack Dalton.
I don’t need Jack (or Team Phoenix) to handle it
From a production standpoint, writing Jack Dalton as the character he is was kinda brilliant. Also, George Eads is a delight to watch. (Yes, he’s nothing like Original Jack Dalton played by Bruce McGill, but that’s a topic for another blog post.)
My main problem: Bringing Jack in as a gun-wielding Ex-CIA-Agent and Ex-Sniper with Delta Force makes MacGyver’s unique way of problem-solving kinda void. If Mac can’t do it, there’s always Jack who can get him out by shooting at the bad guys. In the end, Mac didn’t really manage to solve the problem without guns (and unnecessary violence) – he just let Jack (or someone else, e.g. Sarah Adler in Episode 1×02) do it.
There is a specific scene in the Pilot Episode that was the main reason for fans of the Original Show turning their backs on the Reboot early on. It was also one of the main reasons for the massive amount of backlash on social media while the episode aired (not only in the US, but also in Germany, France or Italy): MacGyver is trying to defuse a bomb (presumably in Afghanistan) with the bad guys closing in. He asks for Jack’s help who promptly shoots them. Sniper-style. Funny quip (Who loves you, baby?) included.
The scene was partially written as an Easter Egg for fans of Hawaii Five-0 and to establish the possibility of a future crossover episode: In a deleted shot of this scene, the word ALOHA can be seen on Jack’s sniper rifle. It’s a nod to the shared history with H50 main character Steve McGarrett (played by Alex O’Loughlin).
If the show wasn’t a Reboot of MacGyver, this scene wouldn’t be a big problem, I guess. There is not much to say against the realism of it. The problem is, as Kate stated in the RDA forums:
[MacGyver] didn’t have a back-up team – he WAS the back-up team.
It’s a fine and difficult line to turn the lone-wolf-character of the Original Show into a member of a team without making him appear helpless at times. So far, the Reboot hasn’t quite mastered it yet; especially in the first episodes of Season 1. Since the show is named after a main character, this character should be able to do a mission without having others to bail him out all the time – especially with the help of over-the-top technology (via Riley) or guns (via Jack).
Regarding Mac not using a gun in this — It sometimes ends up just making him look like the least efficient member of the team.
In the Pilot Episode, Mac uses a MacGyverism to create smoke to trigger the fire alarm. So why not just activate the fire alarm by hitting the button? Why not just burn a piece of paper in a bucket? There was no MacGyverism (and therefore no MacGyver) needed here because anyone else could have thought of that and done it. The MacGyverism was just for show.
To be fair, this happened in the Original Show as well sometimes. But now that MacGyver is surrounded by a team, such unnecessary MacGyverisms are even more obvious. They needed a distraction that could have been delivered by Riley or Jack as efficiently – and faster, without wasting any chemicals.
Also, the fact that CBS chose to send MacGyver on missions as a secret agent instead of traipsing around and finding himself in trouble while trying to help others creates another problem: If they are sent on missions planned in advance with Riley bringing her laptop and Jack bringing his gun, whey don’t they take their spy-kits (with night-vision-goggles and other useful stuff) with them as well? They would still need to improvise every now and then, but they wouldn’t need to start from scratch every time.
The reason that MacGyver takes on missions by the government without any gear can’t be explained that easily in the Reboot as in the Original where he didn’t have a team.
I don’t need no guns You might remember Original Episode 5×06: Halloween Knights, where Murdoc enlists MacGyver’s help to rescue his sister from former employer HIT (Homicide International Trust).
It would have been an easy and lazy way for the writers to let Murdoc bring his deadly tools. But MacGyver made following deal with Murdoc: No guns or I don’t help you. Of course, Murdoc found a way to cheat on the deal, and yet MacGyver still didn’t use the deadly tools in the way Murdoc had intended. It was the core of the episode (and the original series) to catch the bad guys without the help of guns and bombs (or only using them as distraction devices).
In a video interview with ET Online (September 29, 2016), Lucas Till said about the role of Jack Dalton: “He uses the guns, because MacGyver famously doesn’t use guns.” Yes, that’s right. But the writers didn’t really get the point, did they?
See Episode 1×02 (Metal Saw) for example: What’s the point using a MacGyverism instead of a gun if there’s a gun (or two, maybe even three with Thornton on board) at hand anyway? Instead of throwing the net onto the bike to stop the bad guy, they could have kept shooting at the tires with the same effect. Original MacGyver is known for using guns as a tool; but if rebooted MacGyver accepts a gun-wielding posse around him anyway, he could have just asked them to shoot at the tires. Or shoot at the tires himself.
There is a reason why MacGyver avoids guns. And it’s not because it looks way more interesting if he doesn’t use them.
Back when Executive Producers Peter Lenkov and James Wan attended ComicCon in July 2016, I was actually pleasantly surprised that they really intended to keep Mac not using guns. I never expected the Reboot to be as strictly anti-gun as the original; and I’m pretty sure we’ll never see episodes like “Blood Brothers” or “The Gun” like we did in the Original Show – but those interviews back then gave me hope.
So of course after watching the first few episodes, I was very disappointed how this topic was handled. Fact is: Original MacGyver doesn’t just not use guns (unless it’s as a wrench or another tool) – he condones them. He hates them with a passion. And he insists on people leaving their gun behind if they want him to help. As soon as they made Jack a gun-wielding Ex-CIA-Agent, they kinda eliminated one of the core points (or maybe even THE core point) of the original.
I don’t need the bad guys to get killed
The other problem I have with the ALOHA-Scene: Original MacGyver would never work with someone who regularly kills people to protect him. Knocking them unconscious or incapacitating them in another way yes, but not kill them. He also wouldn’t tolerate said someone to be so cavalier about it.
Let’s be honest: The Original Show was cheesy and quirky and not very realistic when it came to bad guys getting knocked on the head. John Kendrick (played by Vinnie Jones) in the Pilot Episode of the Reboot is a bad guy who would have fit in well in an original episode – especially the way he’s captured: MacGyver drops an Escape Ladder on him. Realistically, Kendrick should have been dead. But he doesn’t even appear concussed, and that’s fine with me.
So why didn’t they do this for other bad-guys-scenes as well, e.g. in the boat chase: The goons see the empty boat coming at them. Why not let them jump off the boat before it crashes into them and explodes? It’s exactly what would have happened in an Original Episode.
The Anti-Handgun-Stance of the Original Show
The Original Show was very anti-gun, specifically anti-handgun. I wasn’t aware that this was kinda unique for an US TV-Show until I grew older. As a kid, in my opinion only bad guys carried guns – unless they were police officers or soldiers.
Growing up in Switzerland, I never came in contact with guns until my first boyfriend had to join the military service at the age of 18. And it wasn’t until I started watching TV shows in their original language that I realized how the use of guns, violence and sexuality differentiates in the US compared to Europe.
Original MacGyver Episode 4×02 (Blood Brothers, 1988) had impressed me back then when I first watched it as a kid – and it’s still one of my favorite episodes. In Blood Brothers, MacGyver returns to his hometown to find himself haunted by the memories of a fatal shooting accident when he was a kid. (Mac had brought a gun to make shooting excercises at beer cans with his friends. When Neil tried to shoot at a bird, MacGyver prevented him from doing so, ending with Jesse getting accidentally shot in the chest and dying.)
In Episode 6×03 (The Gun, 1990), a gun used to assassinate a presidential candidate years ago is found, leading investigators to accuse MacGyver’s friend from the youth center of shooting a cop.
Before the episode aired, Co-Executive Producer Stephen Downing (an ex-officer in the LA Police Departement) talked with the Los Angeles Timesabout the problems they had been facing two years ago:
“The result of that story was a lashing out of us by the NRA. Since that time, we have been on their hit list. They have been encouraging people not to watch us and boycott our sponsors. We try to do a decent job of really saying why a gun is dangerous and they choose to boycott us and put us on their hit list.”
(Co-Executive Producer Stephen Downing for LA Times, October 1990)
Don’t get me wrong: I’m aware that opinions in “TV Show Life” and real life aren’t always the same. Original MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson and many of the cast and crew were very anti-handgun themselves. It’s one of the reasons why episodes like “Blood Brothers” or “The Gun” exist. That doesn’t mean that all people working on the show had the same opinion about this topic.
I also know that this doesn’t reflect the opinions of everyone working on the Reboot. I’ve seen pictures of crew members showing off their gun collections (and no, they weren’t always prop guns) on social media. I’ve seen pictures of Lucas Till going hunting with his extended family and I’ve read interviews with George Eads stating he had gone hunting with Lucas on the weekends.
This is all BtS stuff that we probably wouldn’t even know about if not for social media. But that doesn’t mean they can’t address the topic in the Reboot and handle it in a similar way as the Original did. After all, they knew that a certain amount of expected anti-gun and anti-violence stance would come with the package; no matter if they made a reboot (instead of a sequel, a prequel or a remake).
It’s getting better…
I’ve been complaining a lot, haven’t I. I have no problem to admit that the show DID get better concerning the use of guns as the series progressed.
It’s just a pity that within the first episode, they had already lost a lot of potential viewers – mainly fans of the Original Show. And mainly due to the fact how they had handled the use of guns and violence.
Overall, the show felt a bit like a compromise to me: They had the order by CBS to reshoot the Unaired Pilot and to keep the Ex-CIA-Agent as the bromance-buddy. There wasn’t much time left because the premiere date wasn’t to be changed. So Peter Lenkov turned Lincoln into Jack Dalton; therefore keeping the action-buddy AND an Easter Egg (and the chemistry between Lucas Till and George Eads that had already been established). But that also meant there would always be a gun present in MacGyver’s vicinity and that turned out to be a problem.
The story still has to work if there wasn’t a gun involved. Let Jack’s gun disappear (lost, taken by the bad guys, running out of ammo) and see what happens. Does the storyline hold up? Do the MacGyverisms still work? If not, that’s not a MacGyver story.
It’s interesting that storywise, two of my favorite episodes are actually episodes where Jack doesn’t have immediate access to his gun. In Episode 1×10 (Pliers), Mac and Team travel to Mission City in their free time to accompany Mac who’s finally agreed to give a chemistry lesson at his old high school. As far as I know, Jack hadn’t taken his gun with him since this wasn’t an official mission.
In Episode 1×13 (Large Blade), Jack loses his gun right at the beginning. He gets it back later into the episode, but never really gets to shoot it.
…but there’s still some work to do.
While the writers sure will honor MacGyver not using guns in the upcoming second Season as well, I think they really need to address the reasons more explicitly soon.
There’s actually an easy way to explain rebooted MacGyver’s aversion towards guns: When it’s revealed in Episode 1×02 that Mac’s mother died when he was 5, I immediately thought she had been shot and that this would turn out as the backstory for a flashback episode.
Problem is: In Episode 1×08 (Corkscrew), rebooted Murdoc invades MacGyver’s home. Bozer asks MacGyver why he didn’t have a gun like Jack. If Mrs MacGyver had died at the hand of a gun, wouldn’t Bozer as Mac’s best friend know that? And shouldn’t he already know that MacGyver would never want to carry a gun, despite him being in the military for several years?
Personally, I would hate this backstory for rebooted MacGyver. Because it would make MacGyver a victim only. In the original version, it’s revealed that it was a young MacGyver that had brought the gun that killed one of his friends. He was partially a complice in Jesse dying and never got over feeling guilty about it. Which might have formed and festered the need in MacGyver to help others and save other people’s life.
Guns should also be a controversial topic between Mac and Jack – or at least they should have been when they started working together. There’s no way that MacGyver was able to join the military and a secret government agency without having to fight about his right not having to handle guns in the past.
So please, dear MacGyver writers! Take on this hot topic and turn it into something fruitful. This shouldn’t be ignored and I think there’s a big possibility to add even more value to this show by finally handling it properly.
Author’s Note: I wasn’t trying to make a political blog post here, but as you maybe noticed: I’m strictly anti-gun. Always have been. I’m willing to discuss this topic in a civil manner, but you won’t change my mind. And I won’t try to change yours. Just saying what I think about the use of guns and violence in the first Season of the MacGyver Reboot and why it should have been handled differently.
Did you miss Part 1 (Episodes 1 to 5)? Or Part 2 (Episodes 6 to 10)?
You know the drill: I’m looking back at the Official Stills for each Episode; picking my favorites and writing down some of my thoughts. (Because I just can’t keep quiet, as you all know by now.)
Episode 1×11: Scissors
We got 3 Official Stills for this episode via SpoilerTV. Wow. There were a few BtS pictures and even some “paparazzi” pictures via Just Jared, but that’s not the same. One of the stills is MacGyver fiddling with a microwave. I can’t even remember if and where that scene took place. That’s a first.
MY FAVORITE: Not that much to choose from, is there? I guess the one of Jack and Diane. It’s nice to see one of the guest stars in a Still. Riley’s mom seemed to be an interesting character, and I like the actress (although I only know Michael Michele from Emergency Room). Too bad she just disappeared, despite implying that she and Jack might try dating again.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: Only 3 Stills. That’s how you do promo? And still no SAK.
Episode 1×12: Screwdriver
Ah. The episode that screwed with everything. For this episode, we got 6 Stills via SpoilerTV. Half of them feature the prison scene with Murdoc, Bozer and Riley. No Still of Thornton as if she’s already eliminated.
MY FAVORITE: Hm. Maybe the one in the church that was also used by CBS for the Press Release. My second pic would have been the one of Riley and Bozer in profile.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: I don’t really like the episode that much. And I’m not very fond of the Stills for this episode, either.
Episode 1×13: Large Blade
For Episode 13, we got 5 Stills via SpoilerTV. 3 of them are about MacGyver in the woods, which makes it automatically interesting if you’re a fan of the Original Show.
MY FAVORITE: Of course one of MacGyver out in the woods, doing “outdoorsy” survival stuff.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: 5 Stills isn’t all that much, but luckily they’re interesting. Still no SAK, although there’s such a pivotal scene with it. At least you can guess MacGyver is using one in the Still where he’s building the crutch.
Episode 1×14: Fish Scaler
This episode granted us 5 Stills via SpoilerTV. Again, not really that exciting.
MY FAVORITE: Look, there’s an SAK in full view! I mean, I HAD to chose this one. Right? This was also used for the Press Release. My second pick would have been the one of Mac and Jack walking in the parking garage, because I like the lighting in that one.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: 5 Stills in total, and 3 of them feature the same location. Come on. Give us something to get excited about. You already made some progress by including an SAK into one of the Stills.
Episode 1×15: Magnifying Glass(Still Photographer: Guy D’Alema)
The only episode in this blog post that lists the Still Photographer on IMDb. Maybe the other episodes didn’t have one? We got 7 Official Stills via SpoilerTV; featuring 2 different scenes.
MY FAVORITE: This Still just screams “Crime-Scene-Investigation”, doesn’t it? If I remember correctly, that was also used for the Press Release. The peek at the location is exciting. Even without a trailer, these stills would have peaked my interest in watching this episode.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: I like Meredith Eaton, but it feels like Matty was featured in more Stills for this episode than Thornton in the whole Series. (Probably not true, just feels that way.)
I’ve been planning to write this post for ages, but somehow I kept procrastinating this specific topic. Maybe because I’ve written already so much about it way back when in the MacGyver Online Forums?
Alas, I’ll give it another try.
Back in February 2016, when news outlets like Deadline announced CBS had ordered a pilot for a MacGyver Reboot, the social media buzz was intense. The questions most often asked were probably these: Who will be the new MacGyver? What will he look like? What will his hair look like? Will he still have his SAK?
Besides MacGyver’s hair (about which I’ve also written a blog post recently), the Opening Title Sequence has always been something “holy” that isn’t to be touched upon; especially the Opening Title Theme.
Even people who have never watched a single episode of Original MacGyver recognize the theme. Together with the Opening Title sequences, TV shows can form a memory in people’s minds that they will always associate with that specific show, even if they don’t watch it regularly. Think about Baywatch. It’s basically just people in red swim suits running along the beach and smiling at the camera. Not that exciting, isn’t it? You get used to it after seeing it for more than one season. But still – think about what would have happened if they had changed the music or the opening sequence too much…
So it wasn’t a surprise that after the first hubbubb about Lucas Till’s casting as the main hero had ebbed down, the next questions being discussed were: Will they keep the iconic title music of the Original Show? What will the Opening Credits look like?
Back in April 2016, I wrote following statement in one of the MacGyver Online threads: I wouldn’t mind the old theme back or a variation of it. But I don’t think this will happen; I think they will go with something new…
I’ve changed my mind a few days later; especially after comparing the original and the rebooted version of the Opening Title Sequence for Hawaii Five-0, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov’s other show.
I was convinced the opening theme would be a recognizable reincarnation of the original – in the same way it’s been done for Remakes and Reboots in the past.
Of course, there was the risk of not having an opening sequence at all – because most modern TV shows don’t. The newer CBS shows (e.g. Limitless, Pure Genius, Code Black, Bull) don’t have one, either. But we all agreed that they surely wouldn’t dare to do this with a Reboot of a TV show like MacGyver that had such an iconic Opening Title Theme.
I didn’t think about the scenes themselves that much, to be honest. I just assumed it would be the actors in some action scenes. Probably not MacGyver eating ice cream like in the original, but maybe jumping over things and running from the bad guys, surely? The Original Opening Title Sequence is over a minute long, although there’s only two actors being credited (Richard Dean Anderson and Dana Elcar). So the rebooted sequence would have to be as long as the original one if they had to fit at least 5 people in there?
On September 13, the official MacGyver Reboot Facebook Account by CBS uploaded a video of the Pilot Episode set where the Opening Theme was playing. I liked the music, but it was not really what I had expected.
For one, it was too short – just about 40 seconds. Second, the part with the Original Theme wasn’t that recognizable. Not at all like the rebooted version of H50 which sounds just like the original version.
Five days later, Peter Lenkov uploaded a video of the orchestra recording it onto Instagram. I was very happy it was still played by a real orchestra and I thought it sounded great, just… not what I had hoped for. It didn’t affect me in the same way as the original theme, but I was ready to accept it.
It’s difficult to judge a theme without the Opening Title Sequence that goes with it. It sounded more dramatic than the original version, as well; so I was curious if the tone for the show had changed. Also, I was happy that it didn’t sound like the promo videos they had made for the premiere of the pilot, because those had featured mainly Hip Hop.
On September 20, Yahoo! TV uploaded a “fanmade” version of the rebooted Title Sequence. It features scenes from the first two episodes plus from the Unaired Pilot Trailer while recreating the Original Main Titles and using the Original Theme. Because people had tweeted about it without sourcing it correctly, many fans (and News Outlets) had assumed it was the real one.
I have to say it’s a well-made version of an Opening Title Sequence for the Reboot – probably one of the best I’ve seen so far!
Only a few hours later, Entertainment Weekly finally released the new Title Sequence. This time, it was the real deal. The reactions were – varied. Some loved it, some hated it, some were disappointed.
I don’t remember exactly anymore how I felt about it back then, but I remember that I would have preferred the one by Yahoo! TV. On the other hand, I don’t think you necessarily have to see the characters’ faces in the Opening Title Sequence.
I actually liked that you see MacGyver doing MacGyverisms (even though these are not Lucas Till’s hands which is a missed opportunity). It gives an inkling to new viewers what MacGyver is about.
I’m not sure if the MacGyverisms could have been appointed to the characters in a better way – like cutting up the bullet in the Screenshot below would maybe make more sense if it was George Eads’ name appearing with it (since he’s the gun-wielding sidekick).
The Opening Title Sequence Shots were done by Picturemill. Sadly, they never shared more than one single collage of BtS shots on Facebook. I hope we get to see some kind of Making-Of one day.
They could have gone the “easy” way and just edit scenes from the Pilot Episode together – but they did something new for it, so I think it could have been promoted as some kind of “Extra” that could have been posted onto YouTube and other social media accounts by CBS.
They also solved the problem of changes in the main cast beforehand – they didn’t need to cut anything new together. They just had to exchange Sandrine Holt’s name – for one or two episodes, the slot stayed “empty” before it was replaced with Meredith Eaton.
Overall, I think they chose some good everyday objects – a battery, a paperclip, a lightbulb and so on. I like the colors as well. The texts appearing are also interesting – although they dropped the descriptions after the first five or six episodes (which I think was a necessary step), it works actually pretty well in the Opening Title Sequence.
Also, they made adjustements for other countries; e.g. in Germany (see below) or France they appear in German or French (while e.g. Italy kept the English descriptions).
One puzzling thing that I’m still wondering about: The “logo” is different. It fits better with the Original Show, but they use a different one for the official social media accounts and on Official Stills.
Are you able to use the theme song in an age where they’ve cut theme songs out of shows entirely? Lenkov: One of the big things in television these days is there’s no main title sequence anymore. One of the things that I was really adamant about doing the show, and they signed off on it, was doing a main title sequence and actually having a theme song. Incorporate some of the original theme from the original show and a little bit of a new theme. So it’s a combination of the two but I didn’t want to do the show without a main title sequence. I feel like this show needs that. Very much like that original show.
On Hawaii Five-0 you got the theme song down to 30 seconds. Similar thing for MacGyver? Lenkov: I think right now it’s 21 seconds. It keeps getting shorter every time we do a redo, but I’ll tell you one thing. That’s a big battle to win, to be able to do a main title sequence and a theme song these days. That’s not something network television does anymore. Wan: Because it eats up ad space? Lenkov: Yeah and they feel like maybe it’s a little retro but I like that. Wan: It sets the tone.
That sure sounds like we should be happy we got a Theme Song and an Opening Title Sequence at all, huh?
So… what’s coming for Season 2? I’ve been wondering today if they might change the Opening Title Sequence, but I doubt they will.
It’s not like CBS will grant us more time for the Opening Title if Peter Lenkov already had to fight to even have one. There will be more recurring characters next season, but there’s enough space left to fit in more actors’ names.
So far, it’s 33 days left until the premiere of Season 2 but there’s no indication that Picturemill or Composer Keith Power are working on something new. On the other hand, there’s been no promo so far.
There weren’t many Official Stills of Season 1 that immediately sparked my interest, but it’s fun to look over them again, now that it’s been many months since I’ve seen the episodes for the first time.
I’m looking back at the Official Stills for each Episode; picking my favorites and writing down some of my thoughts. (Because I just can’t keep quiet, as you all know by now.)
Episode 1×06: Wrench (Still Photographer: Guy D’Alema, Jace Downs)
We got 11 Official Stills for this episode via SpoilerTV and two more via Getty Images. Most of them feature the cast standing around, looking critically at something. There’s a touch of CSI.
MY FAVORITE: That’s very easy: The one with Mac and Alfred Pena’s daughter Annabelle; curtesy of Still Photographer Guy D’Alema. It looks very heartfelt and genuine. This was also the first Still that actually reminded me of Original MacGyver.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: Still no SAK, although it plays a crucial part in one of the MacGyverisms.
Episode 1xo7: Can Opener (Guy D’Alema, Jace Downs)
For this episode, we got 9 Stills via SpoilerTV and 3 more via Getty Images. All but 2 of them feature MacGyver in orange prison garb. Again, no Still of Bozer. But there’s also no Still of Thornton.
MY FAVORITE: MacGyver being interrogated by El Noche. There’s a sense of danger here. And I like the lighting.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: Not that much. We see MacGyver in prison and Jack as a cop and want to know what’s going on. Also, the Original Show had an episode with MacGyver and Jack in prison as well.
Episode 1xo8: Corkscrew (D’Alema, Jace Downs)
The 8th episode gave us 7 Stills via SpoilerTV. Sadly, they’re all from the same scene: The one with Murdoc chasing MacGyver across a junk yard.
MY FAVORITE: The one with MacGyver in the junk yard *lol*.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: 6 Stills of MacGyver and 1 of Murdoc. I don’t really mind it that much, but for a TV show that relies so heavily on the team aspect, it’s a bit weird to imply this episode is MacGyver only. Since there was a press release about David Dastmalchian’s casting as Murdoc, his appearance wasn’t a suprise either. (Still no SAK.)
Episode 1xo9: Chisel
The episode granted us 17 Stills via SpoilerTV. Several of them feature Bozer while Riley and Thornton only appear as a side-note. The majority of them show MacGyverisms, which makes it pretty exciting.
MY FAVORITE: I have some difficulties choosing a favorite, actually. I like this one because of the unusual perspective.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: The Stills are of a different quality. They’re kind of… milky? I can’t really explain it. There’s also no Still Photographer listed yet on IMDb; maybe they didn’t have one? So many MacGyverisms to show, yet still no SAK.
Episode 1×10: Pliers
We only got 6 Official Stills via SpoilerTV for this episode. They all feature MacGyver teaching or doing science stuff. It feels very Original MacGyver to me and made me forget that “Team Phoenix” won’t be far away.
MY FAVORITE: Not much to choose from – it’s either Mac teaching in front of the class or teaching Valerie. But that’s fine. It’s nice to see Mac with a kid being interested in science; especially a young girl. Reminds us a bit of the Ugly-Duckling-Episode, right?
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: So much science, but still no SAK. Also, I don’t really understand why they never have additional Stills with guest stars. Yes, John Heard doesn’t have that much screentime in this episode but his name and work is well-known. Why not use it for Promo?
I was always a bit puzzled about the release of the Official Stills for the MacGyver Reboot. (But maybe that’s just how it works with TV shows in the US – it’s not like I’m an expert on the subject.)
Sometimes we would get 20 Official Stills for an episode – another time only 3. Sometimes we would get 9, but all of them looking very similar. Or 6 out of them showing people standing around, looking at something we can’t see. The quality seemed to vary as well.
Overall there weren’t many in the bunch that would actually spark my interest, but it’s fun to look over them again, now that it’s been many months since I’ve seen the episodes for the first time.
I’m looking back at the Official Stills for each Episode; picking my favorites and writing down some of my thoughts. (Because I just can’t keep quiet, as you all know by now.)
Episode 1×01: The Rising (Still Photographer: Guy D’Alema, Jace Downs, Ron P. Jaffe)
It’s necessary to release a bunch of Official Stills for a Pilot Episode, of course. We got about 19 Official Stills via SpoilerTV and a few more via Getty Images. It’s difficult to judge stills when you don’t know all the characters yet, but I thought they had a good variety of different scenes – there was team bonding, running, disarming bombs, kissing and MacGyvering.
MY FAVORITE: Probably the one with Mac and Jack doing some MacGyvering.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: No Still where we get to see the SAK? What a missed opportunity. Also, the only Still with Bozer in it seemed to be a weird choice.
Episode 1xo2: Metal Saw (Jace Downs)
For the second episode, we got about 12 Stills via SpoilerTV. Interestingly, 3 of them seem to be BtS pictures dressed as Stills.
MY FAVORITE: MacGyver hanging out of the car window, holding a bottle. You just want to know what he’s going to do, right?
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: The Stills are all taken from only two scenes – the Opening Gambit and Bozer talking with Riley. Again no SAK. And why didn’t they release a Still of guest star Amy Acker? She was mentioned in articles and used in the previews, so her appearance wasn’t exactly a surprise anymore.
Episode 1xo3: Awl (Guy D’Alema, Erika Doss, Jace Downs)
The third episode had about 13 Stills via SpoilerTV. Lots of them are close-up portraits pictures of the cast – except for Bozer, who’s nowhere to be found.
MY FAVORITE: Mac and Jack walking through fire – there must be something symbolic about that, no?
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: The cast is very pretty to look at, but for such an action-heavy Opening Gambit, there’s only a single Still explicitly hinting at any action.
Episode 1xo4: Wire Cutter (Guy D’Alema, Erika Doss)
The episode with the first guest star that had also appeared in the Original Show. We got 9 Stills via SpoilerTV and an additional one (featuring the big Russian bomb) that was used in articles.
MY FAVORITE: One with guest star Elya Baskin of course.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: The Stills are a variety of different people and different scenes. So not disappointing at all. Although I still haven’t seen that SAK…
Episode 1xo5: Toothpick (Guy D’Alema, Jace Downs)
On the set of the fifth episode, they did many video interviews for regional TV promo and for print interviews that were released during the next few months. Yet, we only got 7 Official Stills via SpoilerTV.
MY FAVORITE: Not much to choose from. Probably the one of “Main Team Phoenix” standing there with Jack looking all banged up.
NOW THAT’S DISAPPOINTING: I don’t like this episode all that much. Sadly, the Stills aren’t all that interesting, either. And there’s no SAK, but a phone. Hm.