Looking Back at Season 1 (XIII) – Guns and Violence

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.

Original MacGyver Ad (ABC/Paramount)

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.

(Nicholas Sweedo, blog-owner of The MacGyver Project)

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).

Original MacGyver Season 2 DVD Cover (USA)

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.

Episode 1×01: The Rising (via SpoilerTV)

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).

Deleted Shot of Episode 1×01: The Rising. Photo by Guy D’Alema (via TVLine)

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.

(Kate Ritter, creator and host of the Official Richard Dean Anderson website)

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. 

(Forum User Miasma in the MacGyver Online Forums)

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.

Episode 1×01: The Rising (via SpoilerTV)

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).

Episode 1×01: The Rising (via SpoilerTV)

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.

Episode 1×01: The Rising (via SpoilerTV)

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.

Sean Wohland and Richard Dean Anderson in a Promo Photo for Original MacGyver Episode 4×02 (Blood Brothers)

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.)

On November 18 in 1988, Richard Dean Anderson talked about the story behind this episode on Good Morning America and how the NRA (National Rifle Association) had managed in Paramount making the producers drop the message they had wanted to add at the end of the episode.

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 Times about 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.

After watching the first few episodes, I had made following statement in the MacGyver Online Forums:

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.

Episode 1×13: Large Blade (via SpoilerTV)

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.

BtS with the prop gun for Episode 1×08: Corkscrew (via Lucas Till on Twitter)

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.

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Looking Back at Season 1 (IX) – The Official Stills (Part 1)

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.

Episode 1×01: The Rising (via SpoilerTV)

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.

Episode 1×02: Metal Saw (via SpoilerTV)

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.

Episode 1×03: Awl (via SpoilerTV)

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.

Episode 1×04: Wire Cutter (via SpoilerTV)

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.

Episode 1×05: Toothpick (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.

 

(More coming soon.)

MacGyver Reboot Update #13

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on September 30, 2016. I made some minor changes (e.g. grammar or source corrections, link corrections, additional pictures) before re-posting it on my own blog for safe-keeping.

The Premiere of the MacGyver Reboot generated negative comments and reviews, but also great ratings and heavy traffic on social media. It also inspired people to create fan art.

via Briana Lamb

(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won’t post any too revealing pictures, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)

Working on four Episodes
While promo continues and reviews and ratings are piling up, cast and crew are filming episodes 6 and 7 while working behind the scenes for episodes 4 and 5.

The filming crew has been shooting lots of interior scenes – which is why we didn’t get many pictures from bypassers this week. Or we did get pictures, but there wasn’t much to see.

An Instagram picture by James Grabowski revealed information for Episode 7 – it’s titled “Can Opener” and will be directed by Omar Madha (Scorpion, Grimm). According to IMDb, the still untitled Episode 6 is directed by Alec Smight (CSI: Las Vegas).

We also got some more information about the jobs being done behind the scenes; e.g. by Picturemill while creating the opening sequence or by Kevin Marshal Pinkney (Stand-In for Justin Hires). Aina Dumlao revealed on September 29 that she’s doing post work (probably ADR) back in California for Episode 4. Briana Lamb, Stand-In for Sandrine Holt, started “MacGyverMonday” to teach us some more about her stand-in work.

Executive Producer Peter Lenkov shared another editing picture; this time from Episode 5. He also treated us with pictures and clips from Episode 4.

CBS shared an interesting BtS-Video with Prop Master Kate Guanci.

Lucas Till revealed the secrets of his MacGyver Diet. Thanks to a video he posted on September 30, we finally know how they do “dirty work” – I mean, how they dirty up clothes for TV shows.

Premiere of the Pilot Episode
Despite the many negative and critical reviews of the pilot episode beforehand, people sure were curious to check it out for themselves. Almost 11 million people had been watching the premiere; making it Friday’s most watched show. Another 5.4 million had been tuning in for the rerun on Sunday.

The premiere was also a 4-minute-long topic on the Late Late Show with James Corden (extra Spoiler Alert!), practically overshadowing the presidential debate.

The script writers had been live tweeting through the event and will continue to do so for further episodes.

Let the Promo continue: Stills and Press Releases
SpoilerTV provided us with official stills and/or press releases for Episode 2 (Metal Saw), Episode 3 (Awl) and Episode 4 (Wire Cutter). The stills and press releases don’t reveal too much, but they sparked interest. It seems the reboot will continue to resemble first season storylines of the original show.

Let the Promo continue: Sneak Peeks and Previews
We got several previews and sneak peeks for Episode 2 – the official preview that aired after the pilot episode, one by TVLine, one by The Wrap and another one by MSN. I guess the last one has the scene where George Eads accidentally got punched for real (as had been revealed during promo cycle).

Someone at CBS had been a little over-excited and uploaded the first preview for Episode 3 on the official YouTube-Account on September 29. The video was deleted only hours later, but not before some fans had already seen and shared it.

Let the Promo continue: Interviews
During the days before the premiere, several interviews had been posted online. An interesting interview by Slash Film had Peter Lenkov and Pilot Episode Director James Wan talk about the new theme song. Most modern TV shows don’t have opening sequences anymore and Lenkov revealed that they practically had to fight for an opening sequence and a theme.

CBS had posted a short Q&A with James Wan. Wan spoke some more to Collider about directing the pilot episode while Lenkov praised the chemistry between Lucas and George in an interview with The Wrap.

Cast, Crew and Character News
Central Casting Georgia has made a casting call for guards and inmates. Artist LeShae Nash posted pictures of the interior set and the fire pit in MacGyver’s home she’s been working at.

Another old aquaintance from the original show will make his appearance on Episode 6: Charlie Robinson from Episode 1×14 (Countdown). Emerson Brooks tweeted a first picture of him on September 28, wearing a bomb defusal suit.

Girls Rock Science
Will Riley Davis do more than just hacking in later episodes? Tristin Mays visited the “Girls Rock Science” weekend at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center. Besides learning more about water pollution at the exhibits, she also posed for fan pictures.

MacGyver Reboot Update #10

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on September 6, 2016. I made some minor changes (e.g. grammar or source corrections, link corrections, additional pictures) before re-posting it on my own blog for safe-keeping.

Less than three weeks until the Premiere! Filming continues while the promo cycle goes on. The huge wall paintings ad is finished and garners lots of attention. Also, we got more preview trailers!

via Lucas Till

(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won’t post any revealing pictures, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)

Working on Episodes 3, 4 and 5
Filming continued for Episodes 3 and 4 and they already started on Episode 5 (called “Toothpick“), directed by Bobby Roth (Revenge, Agents of Shield). On September 4, he shared a picture of him with Tristin Mays on set.

Several extras shared pictures of themselves in military gear; e.g. Derek Bosworth or Thomas Murphy. Stills Photographer Erika Doss revealed her own dresscode.

Extra Mark Stevens granted us another glimpse of the interior set with New MacGyver’s home. Hopefully, it’s not as dark as “Bunker City” like this picture that Lucas Till shared on September 1.

Location Scout Gonzo Rey showed a picture of him sitting on a “throne” on set – in fact, several of the cast and crew took turns to pose with the prop (apparently an old shroud from a commercial jet engine). Maybe they tried to distract us from the Russian nuclear bomb in the Lifecycle Building Center? Good thing the bomb is constantly guarded by May. 

via lbc_atlanta

Executive Producer Peter Lenkov didn’t share as many pictures recently – it seems he was busy editing Episode 2 and cutting the scenes with Amy Acker. On August 30, he posted a picture of “a man and his old school bomb”. On September 6, he shared two other pictures from set; one of them titled “train”.

On the other hand, George Eads finally discovered Instagram. He shared a picture of him between takes and granted us a look at the “War Wagon” (presumably from Episode 2). We also got a picture of him posing in front of the headstone of “Jack S. Dalton Sr.” and one with Extra Sonia Rockwell.

Let the Promo continue: Wall Painting
Mando shared a picture of the finished Wall Painting ad on Hotel Figueroa in LA. The Mural garnered quite some attention on social media; being posted from different angles.

via canyoncitysigns

Let the Promo continue: Preview Trailers
On August 29, Hot Bench released a preview video with new scenes. I have to say that while it looks nice at first, I don’t like it. I have to assume that it was put together by someone at CBS who doesn’t know the original show at all. I don’t know what audience they try to reach with this – I guess a younger one that likes this kind of music, but if the reboot is anything like this preview, it won’t work that way…

TV Promo 360 released another “inofficial” preview that explains the use and meaning of the verb “MacGyver” (=using limited resources to escape an impossible situation). If you want to see the other promo videos (that I posted about in the last update) in a better quality, you can check out SpoilerTV.

On September 1, we got a combo-video-promo for MacGyver and Hawaii Five-0 – MacGyver and McGarrett (or Mac and M(a)c, back to back) on Fridays.

via Mohamad M. Ali

Additionally, we also got a short video interview (probably from the TCAs) with George Eads and Lucas Till. George jokes about how his body is too old for all the action scenes and both say again that they would really like to have Richard Dean Anderson on the show.

Let the Promo continue: MacGyver on “Big Brother”
I didn’t know “Big Brother” is still a thing (since I can’t stand these type of shows and don’t keep up with them). Apparently, they had some MacGyver-themed contest going on and got Pizza afterwards – Pizza in interesting-looking Pizza Boxes. CBS is sure promoting the hell out of this reboot.

There will also be a special premiere screening at the Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Georgia on September 11. The invitation is made by the Georgia Departement of Defense, and John Till (Lucas Till’s father who’s a lieutenant colonel) will hold a meet and greet along with some of the cast and directors of the show.

via Twitter

Cast and Crew News
Central Casting Georgia has again made several casting calls; e.g. for a new hand double for MacGyver. We all know about Original MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson and his tendency to cut up his hands with the SAK on set. (He recently told the story of how he got the injury on Episode 2×10 (Three for the Road) at Armageddon Expo New Zealand in March – check the video at the 19-Minute-Mark if you want to hear the gory details.) Did New MacGyver’s old hand double already get into trouble? 

I guess it’s more likely that because they’re filming two or more episodes at the same time, they needed more hand doubles for the close-up scenes. Nonetheless, the casting call gave us another close look at the watch that New MacGyver is wearing. Looks good!

Casting Calls also included American Militia Separatists, Moroccan Pedestrians, German Commuters, Japanese Board Members, German Cars, a Caucasian Male in his Late 20’s-40’s with a neatly trimmed beard, German and African looking Men and Women to work in a train depot and a Caucasian Female with a 3 or 4 year old daughter.

via Central Casting Georgia / MacGyver Online

The Press Release for the Pilot Episode revealed that Tracy Spiridakos will play Nikki Carpenter. We already disscussed the possibility of Nikki Carpenter appearing in the Reboot (especially now that we know Penny Parker will also be back); but because I always assumed that Tracy will play the “Big Bad” betraying MacGyver, I never made the connection before. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Somehow, I can’t imagine Original Nikki Carpenter being a “Big Bad”; at least not on purpose.

Sharing Filming Locations
It was revealed that shooting will continue at Atlanta City Hall on Wednesday, September 7 – it’s the same location where the new Spiderman-Movie was being filmed today. The scenes will involve simulated gunfire. More Action!

MacGyver Reboot Update #8

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on August 21, 2016. I made some minor changes (e.g. grammar or source corrections, link corrections, additional pictures) before re-posting it on my own blog for safe-keeping.

Filming continues while Executive Producer Peter Lenkov works on perfecting the pilot episode. All week, people have been posting the billboard ads and posters over social media. Also, we got two new video clips!

 

via CBS

(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won’t post any revealing pictures, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)

Working on Episodes 2 and 3
On August 15, StandIn James Grabowski was back on set for episode 1×03 and continued to work for interior filming. On the same day, Peter Lenkov shared a short video of MacGyver running like a gazelle. The sequence is probably from the pilot episode, filmed by Steven with a MacGyvered camera rig.

StandIn Mikey Leo showed us what staging and/or blocking looks like – complicated, I’d say. (As far as I know, staging and blocking is done before filming to ensure the correct distances and angles. The marks on the floor indicate the positions of the actors and the cameras. Every person has its own color; some actors actually prefer to have the same color on every production.) 

via Mikey Leo

Peter Lenkov continued to post several pictures of everyday items that might help MacGyver getting out of trouble – a paperclip (what do you see?), the SAK (better than a cape), a bobby pin (not just for hair) or duct tape (not just tape). He also praised the work of the directors of photography on the show.

Location Scout Gonzo Rey shared a picture of a creepy, but interesting new location while Chris Payne Gilbert teased us with a view of the door to Stage 6.

We know from earlier casting calls and Extra Joslyn Sky that there was supposed to be a scene of a Venezuelan Market in Episode 1×02. We might have been offered a glimpse of the set and a short chasing sequence by SkyDroneCinema.

On August 21, the agency of Jonathan Fritschi shared his picture on set while waiting for his take. The background is very interesting; but even more interesting is the floor. You’ll recognize it in this short action-sequence that SkyDroneCinema has posted over a week ago. It shows four armed guys storming the building and getting shot. Overall, lots of guns in Episode 2.

Henry Winkler in the Writer’s Room
August 17 was a big day for the Writing Team: Television Legend Henry Winkler (Executive Producer of the original show) paid a visit to the office on the Paramount Studio Lot in Hollywood. He also took time to pose for individual pictures; e.g. with Brian Durkin, Bret VandenBos and David Slack.

Let the Promo begin: Previews
On August 15, TVLine released two exclusive preview clips. The first one shows MacGyver keeping calm while planning a Houdini-esque escape because “he’s got this”. (It helps that he’s got a paperclip ready.)

via TVLine

While I don’t think the video captures the exact soul of the original show (or the inner spirit of Original MacGyver), this mini-clip still makes me laugh. It sure grabs your attention and peaks your curiosity if you don’t know what MacGyver is all about. I don’t know much about TV-Show-Marketing, but I think this is very well done to get new viewers to tune in on premiere day.

The second clip shows MacGyver in danger of plummeting off a skyscraper within the next few seconds. Of course, we don’t need to worry, because “he’s got this!” (Although we don’t get to see if he actually made it out unharmed.)

Let the Promo begin: Billboard Ads and Posters
People have been posting pictures of the billboard ads and posters all week. Many hadn’t heard about the reboot before and stated their confusion; asking if this was real or not. Others shared their dissatisfaction about the poster or the reboot in general

via Daily Billboard

Apparently, the key art was done by Little Giant Studios and shot by Brian Bowen Smith and crew. Byron Nickleberry revealed that Lucas had indeed been hanging with a parachute and that the shoot had been lots of fun. The Daily Billboard Blog showed a collection of the billboards from different angles. 

Let the Promo begin: Iowa State Fair
I was a bit confused when Andrew Bridgewater tweeted about MacGyver at the Iowa State Fair. A few hours later, KCCI News confirmed that CBS had set up for MacGyver Promo on the MidAmerican Energy Stage where people could win giveaways by playing a MacGyver Ring Toss Game. It looks like people were tossing duct tape rolls and paperclips instead of rings. Interesting form of promo to appeal to a young audience.

via KCCI News

Hot Environment
David Sutton shared some pictures about his work as a scenic painter. I guess this didn’t happen for the first time, but it seems some of his work just got burned to ashes on August 19. On purpose.

StandIn and Photodouble Russell Snipes had joked about it “being a little toasty at work today”. We soon got to see why as Peter Lenkov posted two pictures of Lucas Till and George Eads (or their stuntdoubles, hopefully) walking through a burning set. Definitely a hot scene. Chris Payne Gilbert revealed the dresscode that day – at least for the camera crew.

Cast and Crew News
An interesting character name popped up last week on IMDb on the cast list for Episode 1×04: Penny Parker. Soon, Bianca Malinowski (Halt and Catch Fireconfirmed the news herself; tagging Original Penny Teri Hatcher in her Instagram Post.

Carlos Guerrero recently wrapped his scenes on Episode 1×02 where he plays a ruthless killer named Alfredo. He shared a picture of him posing with Tristin Mays and Lucas on set. Extra Walter Tabayoyong just started shooting this week and shared a picture with Tristin.

via CBS

Central Casting Georgia has again made several casting calls; e.g. for men and women for a retirement home scene (elderly people and conservative staff members), for men who are physically fit, intimidating and who appear to be Turkish, for attractive and hip people who appear to be Serbian (for a club scene) and for a caucasian boy and a girl between the ages of 11-14 years with braces. Interestingly, both kids will have to lean in for an awkward kiss in a flashback sequence. Another one of MacGyver’s girlfriends, perhaps?

Writing, filming, editing
The crew continued filming at Underground Atlanta and MLK Downtown on Saturday. In between, the cast works on the script while Peter Lenkov is still editing the pilot episode to make it look perfect. I think we can all agree that the pressure to deliver a great premiere episode must be immense; so it’s probably quite satisfying that the reboot has already inspired people on social media to share their fan art.

MacGyver Reboot Update #7

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on August 14, 2016. I made some minor changes (e.g. grammar or source corrections, link corrections, additional pictures) before re-posting it on my own blog for safe-keeping.

Filming continues while the cast does the interview and photoshoot cycle at the TCA Press Tour in LA. Also, we got a brand new trailer, new stills and huge billboard ads!

via Getty Images

(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won’t post any revealing pictures, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)

 

Work, work, work
Cast and Crew were still filming for Episodes 1×02 and 1×03 last week; shooting on the Historic Oakland Cemetery, in Midtown Atlanta and Downtown near Hardy Ivy Park. Several bypassers caught them filming while walking through the park or were able to watch the set from above. The reboot also got some impressive new lighting installations for the interior sets. For the rest of the week, production seemed to move onto higher grounds. A sky scraper setting for New MacGyver’s work place, maybe?

We finally got some more information about the Ninja shooting, gun-wielding bikini babes on the tank. Turns out they’re actually The MacGyverettes! Of course, we still don’t know what this is all about – Opening Gambit? Mac working undercover on a movie set? Who knows. Seems we’re up for a big surprise (hopefully a good one).

While cast and crew are working long days and weekends, they still find the time to pose for fan pictures or joke around a little bit. Two lucky kids even got to meet the cast on set.

Let the Promo begin: Interviews, Stills and Billboard Ads
On August 9, IndieWire posted an interview with Executive Producer Peter Lenkov about rebooting beloved shows. Lenkov revealed his rules of remakes: 1) Honor the original property. 2) Dive even deeper into the characters that fans love. He said: “The secret sauce is what MacGyver does, and I’m hoping that becomes a thing where people the next day are talking about, ‘Can you believe he did that?’ I think the characters are different, and the original show was very plot-driven. Nowadays, we have to really look at why people are tuning in. They’re tuning in for the characters.”

On August 10, SpoilerTV released more promotional pictures for the Pilot Episode and the main cast.

via SpoilerTV

On August 11, someone spotted a new billboard ad from afar – which didn’t look very promising to me. The up-close-version of a new poster provided by Peter Lenkov on the same day revealed the new tag line: “No man has done more with less“. It looks slightly better up close, but this poster wouldn’t spark my curiosity enough to watch the pilot if I didn’t already have a clue what the show was all about. It also reminds me of the first poster for the Unaired Pilot that shall not be named.

via Peter Lenkov

On the other hand, it’s not so different from other posters for movies or TV shows. Some people might think it’s a little cheesy, but that only fit’s into some of the cheesier episodes of the original show. My problem is mainly that it doesn’t seem to bring across what Original MacGyver made him our favorite TV hero in the first place.

It seems they did invest quite some money for the upcoming promo, though. Besides another version of a huge billboard ad, there are Sightseeing Busses driving through Hollywood announcing the “New Fridays” on CBS. I’m already curious what else is coming.

Let the Promo begin: MacGyver at TCA
On August 11, the cast travelled to LA with Peter Lenkov and Pilot Episode Director James Wan to do the promo rounds at the Television Critics Association (TCA). The visit included a short interview panel, photoshoots, live video interviews (streamed on the official MacGyver on CBS Facebook page), press interviews and posing for pictures with the interviewers.

via Twitter

The panel wasn’t aired, but we got almost everything live on Twitter and shortly afterwards via Online Articles. Peter Lenkov started with a MacGyverism consisting of trying to power up his smartphone through a lemon. Apparently, he should have brought more lemons to make it work. (Or maybe a cactus from the Ugly Duckling episode? Maybe I should try this with my old-school cell phone since it’s not smart and only needs to be charged once a week anyway.)

We had already heard a lot of what was said at the San Diego ComicCon panel last month: It’s “Team MacGyver” now; MacGyver get’s a family and a “bromance”. Also, there definitely will be guns (although it won’t be MacGyver using them.) 

Thankfully, they also shared some new information: Since MacGyver’s first name is not a secret anymore, it will be used frequently in the reboot. They will incorporate the original theme, with a new theme in the main title sequence. They already have a role in mind for Richard Dean Anderson and (still) hope he says yes. Lucas Till admitted he cut his hair because of the negative reactions after shooting the Unaired Pilot (we probably won’t ever know if he wanted it cut or if the bosses made him do it). There’s a nod to Hawaii Five-0 in the pilot and Lenkov hopes they get to do a crossover eventually. The cast still does its homework and watches the MacGyver reruns in their trailers between takes.

via Getty Images

After they made everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to Lucas Till, the cast hit the TCA After Party before travelling back to Atlanta to pick up filming.

Let the Promo begin: The Trailer
On August 12, CBS unexpectedly dropped a new trailer. While it’s again restricted on YouTube for an US-only-audience, CBS TV Studios was nice enough to put it up on their Twitter Account and on Facebook so everyone can see it.

I’ve watched it several times now, but I’m still not sure what to think of it. For the reboot itself, I’m still hovering between excitement, annoyance and bracing myself for disappointment. As for the trailer, there’s a lot of action and we get to see every crew member of “Team MacGyver” – The Brains (MacGyver), The Muscle (Jack Dalton), The Boss (Patricia Thornton), The Best Friend (Wilt Bozer) and The Hacker (Riley Davis). Sadly, the introduction of the whole team in such a short time is why we don’t see very much of New MacGyver himself and what makes him tick. The trailer does peak my curiosity, but it doesn’t “feel” like MacGyver yet.

Cast and Crew News
TVLine provided more information about Amy Acker’s role; revealing her character’s name (Sarah Adler). They also confirmed our suspicions that she’s no damsel in distress that needs rescuing. According to Lenkov, she’s a “female version of George Eads’ Jack Dalton, and she’s pretty badass!”. 

via Proper Sightseeing

Sarah Mays shared a picture on Instagram that revealed her being part of the Make-Up-Departement. Several extras shared their excitement online; e.g. Aina Dumlao (as a character named Andie Lee), Steven Stokes (Background Actor) or Tyler Ellstein (StandIn). Also, the IMDb page is slowly filling up with more names for the first three episodes.

Filming, writing, cutting
Still many more episodes to shoot until December, and the premiere is only six weeks away. SpoilerTV has revealed that Episode 1×04 will be called “Wire Cutter”.

While the writers spend the nights on the studio lot working, Peter Lenkov apparently has had a long weekend of cutting to do. It’s good to see that everyone is so dedicated to this project; their energy sure adds to the curiosity and excitement for the fans of the old show.

MacGyver Reboot Update #6

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on August 8, 2016. I made some minor changes (e.g. grammar or source corrections, link corrections, additional pictures) before re-posting it on my own blog for safe-keeping.

Cast and crew are busy working on the second episode – too busy to post on social media?

1×01: The Rising (via SpoilerTV)


(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won’t post pics that are too revealing, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)

 

Working on Episode 1×02
Since production started on Episode 2, the posting of set-pictures by cast and crew has significantly lessened; especially by Executive Producer Peter Lenkov. Several people hinted that there are strict rules about posting information. Nonetheless, we still got some interesting pictures.

Tristin Mays shared a picture of Lucas Till hunting Pokémon on his cell phone. He’s lying on a gurney – his surroundings implying a hospital scene. She posted another picture from set together with George Eads and Lucas; probably trying to fix a car.

Peter Lenkov showed us a new possible Easter Egg on August 4 – a pizza box from “Zlotoff’s Pizzeria”. Also, MacGyver and Jack get caught by the bad guys, yet still find a reason to fistbump on this episode’s mission. According to StandIn Mikey Leo, this scene plays on the North/South Korean border and involves gunfire and explosions.

Location Scout Gonzo Rey shared a picture of a nice looking vintage car (Chevrolet Bel Air?) on a set in the woods – we’ll see if MacGyver needs to bulletproof this one, too. Hopefully, it won’t get destroyed – as Brandon Aquino revealed, the car looks also very nice from behind.

On August 5, Peter Lenkov revealed how Jack Dalton always manages to sneak past the bad guys. Is growing a beard what it takes to save a CIA agent? Or will Jack also make use of his gun? Judging by the picture she tweeted a day later, Amy Acker’s character certainly looks pretty capable of saving herself without any outside help.

Impressive Equipment
On the 3rd of August, SkyDroneCinema showed us their “weapon of choice”: an impressive camera that is most likely handled expertly by Camera Operator Tiko Pavoni.

via SkyDroneCinema

The Crew built quite the construction for filming in the Metropolitan Art and Business District on August 4. 

On August 5, FlyWorx shared pictures of a drone on set. I don’t know much about drones, but this one looks pretty… big. And expensive. 

In an Instagram post from July 26 (that was later deleted), Steven showed how he had MacGyvered a steadycam camera stabilizer to wear on his back so he could run in front of Lucas Till while filming an action scene (probably for the pilot episode). MacGyvering equipment together is done all the time on sets, but it’s nice to see that the crew on the reboot is as creative as MacGyver himself. Can Steven also keep up when New MacGyver is driving his motorcycle?

Cast and Crew News
It seems that Writer John Turman (Hulk, Rise of the Silver Surfer) has joined the team; probably the writer’s crew.

Several Extras shared their involvement in the second episode; e.g. Joslyn Sky (Venezuelan Super Market Scene), Carlos Guerrero (as a character named Alfredo Barrios), John J Shim or G-Rod, who showed a short sequence of his stunt prep work on Instagram. Jonathan Fritschi revealed he had a great time on set while working with Tristin Mays.

Central Casting Georgia has again made several casting calls; e.g. for Extras portraying villagers in a Malaysian town, for young professionals and for golfers. It’s safe to say that New MacGyver covers a lot of Asian ground in the first few episodes.

While Original MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson has no interest in taking part in the reboot, other actors that participated in the original show certainly wouldn’t mind; e.g. Jason Priestley (from the episode “Blood Brothers“).

via FlyWorx

Fall TV Previews
If you’re living near New York or LA and don’t want to wait until the TV premiere, you might get to see MacGyver two weeks early: There’s a Fall TV Preview Screening at PaleyFest.

Working on a Sunday
As there are still at least 11 episodes to shoot, the crew also works on the weekends – as shown by StandIn Mikey Leo or by Location Scout Gonzo Rey. Set Days still start early. At least they get some help by decorative butterflies, by eating vitamins of fruity beasts from the catering crew and by drinking some MacGyver-themed red wine after wrapping.