The rebooted Pilot Script for the MacGyver Reboot was written by Executive Producer Peter Lenkov. An earlier version of the script – the Revised Network Draft – has been floating around since October 2016.
There was a Production Draft from June 29 and several revisions (Blue, Pink, Yellow and Green) when they did the first table read on July 8.
I’m taking a look at the Revised Network Draft of the Pilot Script from June 20 (2016).
Scene: In the helicopter
This scene takes place when Mac and Jack are in the helicopter, chasing the bad guys transporting the bio-weapon in the truck to its destination.
The vial of morphine won’t be mentioned again until towards the end of the episode – you’ll see why further down.
There is some more banter and action first before Riley informs them where the (blue) truck is headed:
Original MacGyver was often annoyed by some of Jack’s comments. This scene here doesn’t feel very MacGyver, though. Original MacGyver might have thought Jack was naive and and gullible, but I don’t think he would have ever implied that Jack was mentally impaired.
Also, rebooted Mac and Jack have known each other for years. It seems weird that Jack suddenly finds MacGyver’s fear of heights inconvenient and something that Mac should overcome right now, even though it might have been a topic before.
This scene takes place right after MacGyver and Jack secured the bio-weapon and before everyone meets at MacGyver’s and Bozer’s place; choosing a new name for DXS.
This scene was actually filmed, but got dropped in the editing room – probably for time. I don’t think they had already the idea of “recycling” this for a later episode.
They reshot the Siberia Scene for the Season 1 Finale (1×21: Cigar Cutter), but without any voice-overs because the trip to Siberia happened under different circumstances. I would have actually preferred to see it here in the Premiere Episode. It feels very Original MacGyver; more than the version filmed for the Season Finale.
It shows the rebellious side of MacGyver; the side that is willing to breaking the rules to prevent potential disaster. In the Season Finale Version, Jack and Matty knew what MacGyver was about to do; this was probably even sanctioned by Phoenix and Oversight.
Who said Friday 13th is an unlucky day? A new episode airs tonight, so many people consider this as a win. While promo has quieted down a bit, cast and crew are busy filming more episodes.
(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 2 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)
Season 2 Premiere Promo
There wasn’t much promo until Premiere Day. It was kind of a special date because back in 1985, the Original Show also premiered on September 29.
On September 21, the official Instagram Account by CBS had asked the fans to ask questions. There were over 370 comments when I was writing my last update two weeks ago, but it was only Meredith Eaton who had answered some of them via Instagram Live Videos shortly before the Premiere. Seems like CBS forgot about the rest.
George Eads and Lucas Till did many video interviews for the local TV channels. They mentioned doing about 20 of these interviews, so it’s no wonder they seemed oddly hyperactive in some of them; probably suffering from lack of sleep. Talking about upcoming car chases with News Channel 5, Lucas joked that he doesn’t know why they keep letting George drive.
In the segment for CBS Denver, they revealed that Murdoc will assemble several bad guys, so we might get to see more familiar sounding character names this season. In the interview with CBS Baltimore, Lucas admitted that he didn’t let himself have that much fun on Season 1 because he took it much more seriously.
I used Jack’s heart to keep a heart alive. It’s like a heart in a box pump that keeps hearts alive instead of transporting live organs on ice and it all ends up not being able to work and I use Jack’s heart to keep the heart pumping alive so we can get it into someone else.
(Lucas Till for Philly Today, September 29)
We can assume Lucas refers to Episode 2×07 (Duct Tape + Jack) – which means that “Jack” in the episode title is indeed Jack Dalton and not just another tool out of the tool box.
Radio TV Talk visited the set for another interview while George Eads and Lucas Till were filming some car chases. Lucas revealed that he had spent the off season doing a lot of yoga because he was feeling plenty of soreness and fatigue from the very physical workload of Season 1:
I”m a lot better with my preparation. I had problems with my knees. But I’m all good now. Yoga really works. I’m on my feet 14 hours a day. It’s a beast.
(Lucas Till for Radio TV Talk, September 29)
In an interview with CBS Local, George Eads revealed that he didn’t sleep much last year due to putting so much pressure on himself; partially because he had worked with CBS for so many years (on CSI: Las Vegas) and wanted to do a good job. He also talked about how he and Lucas make the bromance work:
Me and Lucas are just good friends. It starts with respect. When you spend as much time as we do on the set with one another, he knows how hard it is for me, and I know how difficult the show can be for him. We try to pick each other up, bring each other a protein shake, or take a break if one of us needs one. There’s been times when I’ve been missing my daughter so bad that I’ll be in an emotional state, and Lucas will hold up production until we can talk it out and maybe even cry it out in the trailer. I confide in him as a close friend, and I think he’s done the same for me. I’ve gotten to know his mom and dad and his brothers. When you spend a lot of time working, you cross your fingers that you’re gonna like each other, and we’ve just been lucky when it comes to that. And the more our friendship evolves, the more our characters do too.
On October 9, we got the Press Release of the Halloween Episode 2×05 (Skull + Electromagnet). Since the episode will air after the animated Michael Jackson Halloween Special (with Lucas Till and George Eads voicing characters), they will take the time slot of Hawaii Five-0 at 9pm. H50 also filmed a Halloween Episode, but apparently they’ll have to wait.
I had been wondering about the lack of promo for the second episode and them deleting the preview that had already aired after Episode 2×01. As it turned out, CBS had changed the episode order for several shows (probably due to recent events in Las Vegas). They uploaded a generic preview we’ve already seen for last season. Sadly, there were no additional Stills or Clips besides the four Stills of Riley in the bad guys’ lair.
For Episode 2×03 (Muscle Car + Paper Clips), they re-uploaded the preview we’ve already seen, but with a slightly different background music. Additionally, we got 3 Sneak Peeks today. One has Mac and Jack stuck in an Ice Cave, trying to turn a snow mobile into a radio. This might turn out as the Opening Gambit and reveals another tidbit about MacGyver Senior’s watch he left behind. Another one has Team Phoenix trying to overcome several obstacles in their Casino Heist. The third clip has Riley and Mac pretending to be a couple who needs some help with their handcuffs shenanigans gone wrong.
The clips are interesting, but I find it odd that they’ve chosen to show an entire Opening Gambit again.
Other Promo and BtS Stuff
ET visited the set and did a short interview with Lucas Till who was working on Episode 2×04 (X-Ray + Penny).
In the video, Lucas is seen crawling out of a manhole and stumbling alongside a traffic-heavy road. The segment was rather short, but we also got to see his Stunt Double Mike Wilson.
Since the Premiere, many took the opportunity to post new BtS pictures of Episode 2×01; e.g. Danny Boushebel (posing with Isabel Lucas) or Ricky Russert who shows in a video why it takes over 3 hours to get him a beard worthy of a long-term prisoner.
Meanwhile, Peter Lenkov was busy editing. He didn’t share many pictures and videos, but quite a few Instagram Live Stories of the editing process. We will see Jack and Riley in trouble, Bozer sneaking around houses in the dark and another stare-off between MacGyver and Murdoc.
Before the premiere of Episode 2×02 (Muscle Car + Paper Clips) on October 6, cast and crew shared some more BtS material. It seems like Lucas was especially fond of the Mustang that played an important part in this episode. Meredith Eaton shared a picture of the Arcade scene; George Eads on of Mac and Jack sitting in a car.
Season 2 Ratings
Season 1 had an average rating of 1.08 in the important demo group (18 to 49-year-olds) and about 7.7 million live viewers per episode.
The Season 1 Finale had a rating of 0.9 and about 6.6 million live viewers. Rating pages like The Grim Reaper claim that Season Premieres nowadays usually reach the same ratings as the last Season Finale. This seems to be true for the Reboot: Episode 2×01 (DIY or DIE) managed 6.7 million live viewers with a rating of 0.8 in demo; winning the 8pm time slot.
Cast and Character News
Although Isabel Lucas got the third spot in the opening title credits, there was no official press release about her joining the Season 2 cast.
In TV Guide Magazine (released online on TV Insider), Lucas Till and George Eads talked a bit what Season 2 will bring. George stated that we will meet Riley’s dad (which was recently mentioned by Executive Director Peter Lenkov on Instagram as well). There has been some speculation that Roger Floyd would play Riley’s father, but as it turns out, it’s actually Billy Baldwin. As we can see in BtS pictures, there might be some fists and black eyes.
As seen in Instagram Videos by Peter Lenkov and through various Instagram Live Stories and pictures, we will also meet Bozer’s new love interest, played by Reign Edwards.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov again said that Original MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson won’t play Mac’s father because it would be too obvious. He also teased that “it’s not who you think it is” which probably means that MacGyver Senior has already been cast since we will meet him at the end of the season.
Crew and Director News On September 27, Tawnia Canell McKiernan had revealed that she’s packing to leave for Atlanta to direct Episode 2×10 (War Room + Ship). Episode 2×11 (Bullet + Pen) will be directed by Carlos Bernard who just came back from Hawaii after directing an episode on Hawaii Five-0.
Season 1 Reruns and DVD News
There will be a rerun of Episode 1×11 (Scissors) tomorrow Saturday (October 14, 8pm). There is still no US-release date for the Season 1 DVD although fans keep asking about it.
MacGyver in Austria
While Episode 1×04 (Wire Cutter) reached 56’000 viewers, Episodes 1×05 (Toothpick) and 1×06 (Wrench) managed 78’000 resp. 71’000 viewers.
Contrary to German channel Sat.1, Austria won’t skip episodes. Therefore, the German-speaking TV-Premiere of Episode 1×11 (Scissors) – titled “Schnee in Kalifornien” (Snow in California) – will happen in Austria on November 11.
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.
It’s Season 2 Premiere Day! Between filming and posting BtS pictures, the cast is also busy doing promo.
(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 2 and the Season 2 Premiere Episode by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)
Season 2 News and Promo
Season 2 of the MacGyver Reboot premieres today. It is kind of a special date because back in 1985, the Original Show also premiered on September 29.
There wasn’t much promo until yesterday; especially compared to other CBS shows (e.g. Hawaii Five-0). Also, as I’m writing up this blog post earlier than usual, there’s still no press release about Isabel Lucas joining the cast and no press releases or stills for other episodes but the Season Premiere. But we have new interviews and Sneak Peeks; so let’s take a look at these.
In TV Guide Magazine (released in print on September 16), Lucas Till and George Eads talked a bit what Season 2 will bring. As Lucas revealed, we will be in Cuba and Turkey, in catacombs and underwater (judging from Stills and Previews, this all might happen in the Season Premiere Episode tonight). They also let us know that Murdoc will be involved in the first four episodes in some capacity and that Murdoc’s son also figures into the storyline. George stated that we will meet Riley’s dad (which was recently mentioned by Executive Director Peter Lenkov on Instagram as well).
This interview was additionally released online on TV Insider yesterday. Sadly, there were no new promo pictures accompanying the article.
There are some recent interviews released by Canadian outlets. Most of these were probably taken at the Corus Upfront in Toronto back in June – before filming for Season 2 had even started. That’s why Lucas talks about Season 1 and 2 in general, but doesn’t give any specific news.
You can listen to Lucas doing an audio interview with CFox here. He talks a bit about the high expectations he faced for Season 1. In a written interview with Canada.com, Lucas revealed he’s doing a lot of yoga because “action scenes can also wreak havoc on a guy”.
On September 21, the official Instagram Account asked the fans to leave their questions below. So far, there are over 370 comments, but there was no announcement if and how these questions will be answered.
We can expect some more promo and appearances today. Meredith Eaton was in the studio to film a segment for KCAL9 News. You can watch the interview here. She said that she’s having the time of her life and that her role is the highlight of her career.
Episode 2×01 Promo
On Wednesday, Peter Lenkov released another short Cuba-Sequence and how Jack utilizes his head as a weapon. Ouch.
Yesterday, SpoilerTV released three Sneak Peeks for Episode 2×01 (DIY or DIE). In the first clip, new character Samantha Cage saves Mac and Jack from the bad guys. The other clip plays in Cuba. Mac and Jack are in a bit of trouble (what else is new *lol*), but as soon as they’re out of trouble, it turns out they’re actually on a quest to find Murdoc.
The third clip sees Bozer getting released from hospital after rehab. Looks like not that much time has passed since the Season 1 Finale Episode. We have to assume Mac and Jack didn’t have a lead on Mac’s dad that was deemed worth following any longer or they returned as soon as they got notice about Murdoc breaking out of prison.
After praising Justin Hires on his drama acting chops last week and praising George Eads on his take for Jack Dalton, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov continued honoring the rest of the cast members in different Instagram posts. Besides praising Lucas, Tristin and Meredith, he also revealed some little trivia on each post.
Cast and Character News
Although the main cast welcomed Isabel Lucas two weeks ago, there’s still no official press release about her joining the Season 2 cast. Like Season 1 with Meredith Eaton, it’s possible she doesn’t have an opening title credit in the first episode of her appearance.
We know we’ll get to meet Riley’s dad. We don’t know who will play the role, but there has been some speculation it might be Roger Floyd who had posted some funny BtS pictures this week.
Bobby Roth posted a picture with Tristin Mays in the afternoon; indicating that filming for Episode 2×09 has already started. On the same day, Tawnia Canell McKiernan had revealed that she’s packing to leave for Atlanta, so she will most likely direct Episode 2×10. Last Season, she had directed the episode with the Coltons (1×16: Hook).
Overall, all rerun episodes managed to reach 4.2 million live viewers on average (with a 0.6 rating in demo). Not bad. Some similar shows don’t even reach as many people during their premiere.
Season 1 DVD News
The Season 1 DVD has already been released in some countries (e.g. Australia, UK) two weeks ago. Many fans have been asking about a US-release on the official social media accounts, but so far no one ever bothered to answer or to even acknowledge the questions. It seems like there is no release date yet which is a bit curious since the newest Seasons of many other CBS-Shows (e.g. Hawaii Five-0 or Blue Bloods) have been released recently. Apparently, CBS is still banking on people getting a pass for CBS All Access, their streaming account.
MacGyver in Austria
So far, I haven’t seen any promo on TV or on social media, but the show seems to do well enough in Austria. While Episode 1×03 (Awl) two weeks ago only managed 51’000 viewers on average, Episode 1×04 (Wire Cutter) reached 56’000.
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.)