Production for Season 5 has officially begun! The writers are back in their (virtual) office; working on the scripts.
(Minor Spoiler Alert: You might get spoilered about Season 5 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided. For daily news and to join the discussion and/or speculate away, you can find me on Twitter and head over to the MacGyverOnline Forums.)
About Episode and Script Numbers
On June 11, the MacGyverWriters Twitter account changed their profile photo and their header. The next day, they tweeted that they’re back in the (virtual) office and working on scripts for Season 5. Pretty exciting, huh.
Because the writers had added a photo to their tweet; indicating that they’re working on Episode 501, some fans got worried that the episodes already filmed for Season 4 will be scrapped. I can’t imagine that to happen since CBS doesn’t have the luxury to dismiss ready-to-air-episodes at the moment. With the numbers of daily new cases flaring up in California and NY having been hit the hardest by the pandemic, it’s unlikely that all TV shows will be able to resume filming as planned.
According to Variety, CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful halted production just a day after resuming filming. At this point, CBS is lucky if they get all their crime shows to reach just 13 episodes.
Also, note that there’s a difference between the episode number that states the order of episodes being aired on TV and the production number of the script that states the order of the episodes being filmed. Episodes are not always filmed in the same order as they’re aired; e.g. because a guest star or a location isn’t available otherwise. This can be a bit confusing.
For example, they first filmed Episode 10×07 for Season 10 of Hawaii Five-0. Filming for H50 was often out of order due to some cast members having a reduced schedule or in this case because several scenes of 10×07 were filmed on location in LA. As you can see on The Futon Critic (that lists the production number rather then the episode number), the airing order of the episodes was 1002 (as Episode 10×01), 1003 (as 10×02), 1004 (as 10×03), 1006 (as 10×04), 1005 (as 10×05), 1007 (as 10×06), 1001 (as 10×07) and so on.
It didn’t happen as often on MacGyver, but it happened three times so far (as you can also see on the photos of the script title pages):
- Episode 2×03 (Roulette Wheel + Wire) has production number 202 (and vice versa) because Episode 2×03 was filmed before Episode 2×02.
- Episode 3×21 (Treason + Heartbreak + Gum) has production number 322 (and vice versa) because Episode 3×21 was filmed last in Season 3.
- Episode 4×02 (Red Cell + Quantum + Cold + Committed) has production number 401 (and vice versa) because they filmed Episode 4×02 as the first episode.
Therefore, we only know that they filmed 414 in January after the hiatus – but we don’t know yet if it was ever supposed to be aired as 4×14 or not. Similarly, the photo tweeted by the writers only shows the episode that will be filmed first this season, so script/production number 501. We don’t know yet if this will be a newly written episode or a script that was initially written as 420 or 421 last season. Due to the guidelines and safety protocols for the pandemic (see further down), they probably had to rewrite both scripts.
All you need to know about Season 5
Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming season (or rather, what we don’t know yet):
- CBS plans for the show to return in Fall, in the previous timeslot (Fridays, 8pm).
- There is no further information yet about the number of episodes being ordered.
- There’s no filming date yet.
- There is no premiere date yet.
- Teresa Huang joined the crew as Story Editor.
- There’s no new key art nor a new production SAK logo yet.
It’s always been very quiet in June regarding production, but it feels worse this year with no additional events. We did get a BtS video of a deleted scene filmed for Episode 4×08 (Father + Son + Father + Matriarch), though.
In a Skype interview with The Morning Show for Global News (Canada) on June 17, Lucas Till confirmed that Monica Macer joined the show as showrunner. He revealed that he was surprised when reading the script for the Season 4 Finale and that we will see more of Mac’s vulnerability and hopefully more character development in Season 5.
How the pandemic could affect Season 5
ICYMI: Hollywood submitted a COVID-19 Reopening Plan from studios, unions and producers to the NY and CA governors; with CBS Studios being a participant. They’re very similar to the Georgia safety measures and might lead to changes not only in production, but also in storylines, guest stars, settings and locations. (Note that the guidelines might change again now that California just implemented a mandatory mask rule.)
For example, the various guidelines implemented so far recommend to…
- implement periodic and regular temperature checks and testing
- enforce physical distancing between cast (e.g. filming scenes with more distance between the actors; actors staying in their trailers until they’re actually needed on set)
- enforce physical distancing between crew (e.g. with implementing virtual writers rooms and virtual casting sessions)
- limit hair and makeup services for actors
- scrap open buffets for meals and coffee breaks
- reduce the number of fighting scenes and/or intimate scenes
- reduce the number of Extras
- reduce the number of scenes being filmed in public locations
- wear masks if cast and/or crew can’t keep their distance
- eliminate sharing of crew equipment
Sadly, the pandemic might also reduce the numbers of episodes ordered for TV shows in general – not just because of delayed filming for some shows, but mainly because the safety measures and guidelines will not just increase the cost of production and post-production, but might also slow it down.
It’s possible they’ll build new indoor sets (e.g. offices for Matty or Russ) so they can film in smaller groups or do stand-alone-scenes (e.g. Matty advising over the phone instead of with the entire team in the War Room).
Regarding storylines, we can assume that Season 5 will have less action scenes and less intimate scenes. If they introduced any new love interests at the end of Season 4, they might simply disappear (but it’s not like we haven’t experienced this before). They might also return to episodes with parallel missions; introducing B and C storylines to ensure smaller mission teams. That’s a pity in my opinion, but I guess reduced and limited work for cast and crew with lesser episodes is better than no work and no episodes at all.
What’s going to happen now?
CBS installed guidelines and safety protocols for the TV shows getting ready to film. Yet, all the planning only helps so much in a global pandemic – see the case of The Bold and the Beautiful above. For now, it’s still a waiting game with CBS findind out via trial and error what works and what doesn’t. Since they’re following the usual timeline as they have in previous seasons, they still seem to opt for a filming start in July.
There’s still reruns of Season 3 episodes scheduled for most Fridays; with occasional reruns on Saturdays. Here’s the current schedule:
- Friday, June 19 (9pm): No Go + High Voltage + Rescue (3×20)
- Saturday, June 27 (8pm): Treason + Heartbreak + Gum (3×21)
- Friday, July 3 (8pm): Mason + Cable + Choices (3×22)
- Friday, July 10 (8pm): tba
- Friday, July 17 (8pm): tba
- Friday, July 24 (8pm): tba
- Saturday, July 25 (8pm): tba
- Friday, July 31 (8pm): tba
It’s safe to assume that they will also schedule reruns of Season 4; just in time to end with the Season 4 Finale before Season 5 is supposed to start.
Season 3 Rerun Ratings
To recap: The rerun of Episode 3×15 (K9 + Smugglers + New Recruit) on Friday, May 22 got 4.31 million live-viewers with a demo of 0.4. A day later, the rerun of Episode 3×06 (Murdoc + MacGyver + Murdoc) had 1.79 million live-viewers with a demo of 0.1.
The rerun of Episode 3×17 (Seeds + Permafrost + Feather) on June 5 had 3.835 million live-viewers with a demo of 0.4; once again winning the 8pm timeslot in viewer numbers. Last Friday, the rerun of Episode 3×19 (Friends + Enemies + Border) had 3.810 million live-viewers with a demo of 0.3.
Other MacGyver News
The title sequence for Season 4 was nominated for the AICP Post Awards in the Category “Graphic Design & Animation”. The event was supposed to be held online on June 10 before it was postponed to June 17. Sadly, another project won in this category.
The Season 4 Premiere in the UK (on Sky) was initially set for May 31, then postponed to June 7, and then to June 14. Last time I checked, they tweeted it’ll start at the end of July.
There’s finally DVD release dates for Season 3 in several countries:
- July 15 (Australia, New Zealand)
- July 16 (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
- August 26 (France)
- September 2 (Japan, Part 1)
- October 9 (Japan, Part 2)
Besides Japan, all versions have the same cover and contain bonus material (Gag Reel and Deleted Scenes), so there’s a good chance that fans living in the US will be able to watch it as soon as the international fans get their hands on it.