Production of the Reboot is on Christmas Break. The next episode airs in January, but you can catch some reruns next week. Also, there’s finally a DVD release date for the US fans!
(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 2 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)
The Woods and the Winery
On December 4, production had moved to the Pullman Rail Yard and the Southeastern Railway Museum. A few days later, they filmed scenes with David Dastmalchian as Murdoc, presumably for Episode 2×15. The story seems to be set in Colorado, so the heavy snowfall was not unwelcome. (If you missed it, you can find more information in my last Update No. 45).
Last week, production set up at the Chateau Elan Winery. In Instagram Live Stories, Justin Hires revealed that there’s a dress code to follow for both the girls and the boys. As Meredith Eaton revealed, it’s directed by Eagle Egilsson (who also directed Episode 1×14: Fish Scaler).
There has been some chatter because in the picture, you can spot Lucas wearing what looks like a wedding ring. Many fans have been asking if Lucas got married for real, but as expected, it was just false alarm: Justin Hires has also been wearing a ring in his recent videos.
For this episode, Reign Edwards is back as Leanna and might be helping with an undercover mission. We don’t know much about the story yet, but it seems there are tuxes and dresses involved. And some running through the woods. On Wednesday, Mark Emery Moore uploaded a BtS video that suggests Mac and Leanna will pose as a married couple; probably newlyweds.
Executive Producer Peter Lenkov hasn’t posted much that’s MacGyver-related – he’s probably busy writing the Pilot Episode for the Magnum Reboot. He did visit the set on December 2011 and posted some BtS pictures and videos of Lucas and George filming in what looks like a rotating airplane toilet cabin. While editing for Episode 2×14, Lenkov uploaded some Instagram Live Stories; revealing that Jack might end up in a trunk for once (instead of putting Elwood into his own).
The Extras posted some pictures, as well. Now that Bozer goes into the field regularly, it looks like he will end up a bit bloodied in the face more often.
Official Stills and Press Releases
Sadly, we got no Sneak Peeks for last week’s Episode 2×11 with Bruce McGill. I had hoped for some interviews and official BtS pictures, but no. There was a single short interview by On TV Today, where he talked again about his character of Jack Dalton in the Original Show becoming a recurring character:
Charlie Correll (…) called and said, ‘”What are you doing? Get on a plane and get out here! It doesn’t matter; you die at the end of the episode, so you don’t have to worry about making a commitment.”
That was interesting, so I did it. And then I went back to my theater and movie life, and my agent called and said, ‘”They’d like you to do another ‘MacGyver.’” I said, “What part?” And he said, “Oh, same part.” And I said, “But that character died.” Well, he didn’t die on camera; he heroically saved MacGyver by flying his airplane over the horizon, and then there was one of those poor-man’s (largely unseen) explosions. And my agent said, “If Bobby Ewing can come back in the shower … .”
Set Photographer Guy D’Alema said following about his favorite Still for this Episode:
My favorite photos to capture on set are when the talent are in their own space before a scene shoots. Here, Lucas Till, as MacGyver, takes a moment away from the busy set to focus on his performance. And it makes looking for these type of captures all worth it when the network uses them in their promotional releases. The added bonus was that Mac had his signature knife with him…
Since 2×11 was the Midseason Finale, we ended up with a little cliffhanger just before Christmas Break. Episode 2×12 will air on January 5, but you can catch Episodes 1×17 (Ruler) and 1×12 (Screwdriver) on Friday, December 29.
DVD News and Other Promo
After waiting, asking and more waiting, US fans finally got a date they can circle red in their calendars: The Season 1 DVD will be released on February, 27. There is no information yet about any Extras, but I guess the content will be the same as the versions sold in the UK or Australia. The cover is very much the same as the one for the UK version, though they added another tagline: New World. New Danger. New Mac. I’m still a bit puzzled why they didn’t release it before Christmas, but better late than never, I guess. Would have been a nice Christmas present for fans, though.
As last year, CBS did some Christmas promo for its TV shows – this year with bobbleheads. For the Reboot, Mac and Jack got the bobblehead treatment, seen in Peter Lenkov’s Instagram post.
The newest issue of TV Guide Magazine has an article with BtS pictures and soundbites of Lucas Till. As Lucas reveals when talking about Episode 2×12 (Mac + Jack), the flashback of Mac and Jack meeting each other will start with them throwing punches at each other.
Season 2 Ratings
The Season 2 ratings are still pretty stable: On average, every episode pulled in 6.84 million live viewers per episode with a demo-rating of 0.84.
Cast and Character News
Upcoming guest-stars are Emerson Brooks as EOD-Specialist Charlie Robinson in Episode 2×12 (Mac + Jack), Ashley Tisdale as a CIA-Agent (in Episode 2×13) and Garrett Morris as the proprietor of “Willy’s House of Voodoo” (in Episode 2×14). Riley’s mother (played by Michael Michele) and father Elwood (Billy Baldwin) will also make another appearance. A look at the cast-list for Episode 2×18 on IMDb reveals that Javicia Leslie will be back as Jesse Colton. There’s no information yet if the other Coltons will be back as well, but if the Colton cast posts as much BtS pictures as they did in Season 1, we will know soon.
Additionally, there’s the (almost-confirmed) rumors that Original Murdoc Michael Des Barres will show up soon (presumably in Episode 2×15). Because David Dastmalchian and Brady Bond (as rebooted Murdoc’s son Cassian) have been on the set as well, we might get a little family-reunion. Michael Des Barres posted some pictures that might hint at him playing a hitman; e.g. of the gloves and the ring he used to wear as Murdoc or of him carrying a weapon meant to kill with on set.
Isabel Lucas hasn’t been on set since she left. Her character is listed for Episodes 2×12 and 2×13, but I guess we won’t know about her fate until January.
MacGyver in Austria
There had been no episodes for two weeks due to the Winter Sports Events. ORF1 continued airing Season 1 on December 9. After the great ratings for Episodes 1×11 (Scissors, 80’000 live viewers) and 1×12 (Screwdriver, 109’000 live viewers), audience numbers dropped a bit: Episode 1×13 (Large Blade) managed 78’000 viewers, Episode 1×14 (Fish Scaler) only 60’000.
On December 30, the Austrian channel will air the German-speaking premiere of Episode 1×16 (Hook).
Two Episodes left before Christmas Break. Cast and Crew filmed some action scenes with rebooted Murdoc – and Original Murdoc might show up as well!
(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 2 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)
Filming on a Cemetery
Cast and Crew got to enjoy a 4-day-weekend recently, so they crammed in as much as possible before the short break. After Thanksgiving, the crew continued filming for Episode 2×14 (Marti (sic!) Gras Beads + Chair), directed by Michael Martinez.
Production set up at the Historic Oakland Cemetery to film, creating a spooky environment with lots of fog. Crew members posted pictures while planting gravestones during the day and filming at night. Lucas Till uploaded a BtS-video to show his Late Night Stunts. People passing the area posted pictures as well, commenting on the spooky set and revealing that a SWAT car had been on the scene as well.
On December 4, production moved to the Pullman Rail Yard and the Southeastern Railway Museum. Last year, they had also filmed Episode 1×05 (Toothpick) there. So far, we don’t know much about what’s going to happen besides that there will be trains involved – and Mac and Jack trying to protect Murdoc! For some scenes, they recycled the “trashed” helicopter prop they already used in Episode 1×13 (Large Blade). Let’s hope Mac and Jack don’t have to suffer from another plane crash.
Also, there might be a Jeep involved in this episode – finally. It’s been too long since we saw Mac’s Jeep for the first (and only) time.
Working on other Episodes
Executive Producer Peter Lenkov hasn’t posted much that’s MacGyver-related since he’s probably busy writing the Pilot Episode for the Magnum Reboot. On November 29, he posted a picture of George Eads as Jack Dalton, apparently lying in a coffin. This isn’t just a nod to Original Jack Dalton, but also to CSI where Eads’ character Nick Stokes was buried alive in the Double Feature “Grave Danger”, directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Crew Members and Extras posted fun stuff as well; e.g. Kevin Marshall (Stand-In of George Eads) in the Rudolph costume we get to see next Friday.
Let it Snow!
I don’t know how often it snows in Atlanta, but it’s snowing today and almost every cast and crew member on set at the moment is posting pictures and videos. Everyone seems to be excited. Well, most of them at least.
Lucas Till posted several Instagram Live Stories, as did his Stand-In Matt Albright and several others. George Eads posted pictures of Mac, Jack and Murdoc almost hidden by the heavy snowfall. These troopers don’t even look overly cold; laughing at the camera.
Hopefully, this episode isn’t supposed to be set in California because Riley would have missed her White Christmas again. As it is, Tristin Mays seems to have the day off – as does Justin Hires, who’s travelling back to Florida to visit his family.
Official Stills, Press Releases and Sneak Peeks
After getting no Official Stills for Episode 2×09 (CD-Rom + Hoagie Foil) at all, we got several Stills for tonight’s Episode 2×10 (War Room + Ship) and for next Friday’s Episode 2×11 (Bullet + Pen).
Just five hours before the premiere, CBS released two Sneak Peeks for tonight’s Episode 2×10. In both clips, we see George handling the “Elwood-Situation”.
In next week’s Episode 2×11, we will get both David Dastmalchian as Murdoc and Bruce McGill as LAPD Detective Greer. Since 2×11 is the Midseason Finale, we might end with a cliffhanger just before Christmas Break. Episode 2×12 will air on January 5, but you can catch Episode 1×17 (Ruler) as a Rerun on Friday, December 29.
Season 2 Ratings
The Season 2 ratings have been stable so far: On average, every episode pulled in 6.8 million live viewers per episode with a demo-rating of 0.83. Ratings for Episode 2×09 (CD-Rom + Hoagie Foil) dropped a bit by reaching 6.61 million live viewers with 0.8 in the important demo group (18-49), yet it still won the 8pm time-slot.
Cast and Character News
Tonight, both Reign Edwards and Billy Baldwin have their third appearance. Other upcoming guest-stars are “Original Jack Dalton” Bruce McGill as Detective Greer and David Dastmalchian as Murdoc (both in Episode 2×11: Bullet + Pen next week), Emerson Brooks as EOD-Specialist Charlie Robinson (in Episode 2×12), Ashley Tisdale as a CIA-Agent (in Episode 2×13) and Garrett Morris as the proprietor of “Willy’s House of Voodoo” (in Episode 2×14). Riley’s mother (played by Michael Michele) will also make an appearance again since she’s been on set recently.
Fans of the Original Show might be in for a pleasant surprise: There’s (almost-confirmed) rumors that Original Murdoc Michael Des Barres will also show up soon. Michael revealed on social media last weekend that he’s travelling to Atlanta to play a villain on TV. (Note: His last TV appearance according to IMDb was in 2014.) He also mentioned that it will air on CBS. So that’s a lot of coincidences and there aren’t that many CBS shows that are currently filmed in Atlanta (the other one being Dynasty).
There’s no official confirmation yet, but in one of his set pictures you can see that the house behind him is the very same that a neighbor photographed, stating that they are filming for MacGyver Season 2 right next door.
Since David Dastmalchian has been on set as well, we might get to see both rebooted and Original Murdoc not only in the same episode, but maybe in the same scene which is pretty exciting to me.
Further proof comes from Camera Assistant Mike Torino. He posted a picture with David on December 4 and one with Michael on December 7. They might hold off the news for a while longer since the other guest-stars deserves some spot-light as well, but I think there will be a press release next year. Michael also posted pictures of himself posing at a make-shift fotostudio, so there might be pretty pictures and an interview, too.
To put a cherry on the top, Brady Bond revealed today that he has been back on set as well. He played rebooted Murdoc’s son Cassian in Episode 2×04 (X-Ray + Penny), but his scene had been edited out. (Meredith Eaton had actually talked about that scene in an interview; stating that this had been her favorite part to film for the second season of the Reboot so far.) Having rebooted Murdoc, Murdoc’s son AND Original Murdoc in the same Episode makes me even more curious what role MDB will play.
Apparently, Isabel Lucas hasn’t been on set since she left for Australia. I don’t know if she’s still a member of the regular main cast and will come back (e.g. for the Season Finale). Since her character was never added to the CBS show main page (contrary to the new cast members of Hawaii Five-0), I guess she was probably never meant to stay the whole season.
MacGyver in Austria
There were no episodes for two weeks due to several Winter Sports Events. ORF1 will continue with Episode 1×13 (Magnifying Glass) tomorrow. On December 30, they will air the German-speaking premiere of Episode 1×16 (Hook). There wasn’t much surprise in the German dubbing of Episode 1×11, but sometimes lines have to be changed and it’s always interesting to catch them.
During the next few days, cast and crew were seen filming in the streets. Both Extras and people passing by posted some pictures and videos of the filming process. Lucas Till, Meredith Eaton, George Eads and their stunt doubles were seen on set.
Two days later, they filmed scenes with Garrett Morris (Saturday Night Life) who seems to portray a Voodoo Priest. It will be interesting to see if there are “Zombies” as well as a nod to the Original Show. George Eads shared a picture of himself with Garrett, joined by Lucas Till and Meredith Eaton. Many of the crew members posted pictures as well, e.g. director Mike Martinez himself or Kevin Marshall Pinkney, Stand-In of Justin Hires.
Meredith Eaton has shared an Instagram Live Story with George and Lucas holding skulls. Today, Justin shared another BtS picture that’s probably from this episode – behind a freightened-looking Bozer, a skull is visible.
Until last week, cast and crew have been working on Episode 2×13 (Carbon Monoxide Sensor + Tree Branch according to IMDb). Both Justin Hires and Ashley Tisdale shared many Instagram Live Stories. Last Sunday, Justin uploaded a compilation-video of the different filming days. Besides filming in a van and at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, they also shut down a highway. Production had rigged a motorcycle and prepared a drone to film. Looks like there will be some chasing scenes.
Overall, it’s nice to see that despite all their work, the cast still has fun. During breaks, they like to do some Karaoke, for example. While visiting the Writer’s Room on the Paramount lot, Tristin showed us how much fun the writers have when they’re not writing.
Isabel Lucas posted a BtS picture of her and Lucas in Episode 2×06 (Jet Engine + Pickup Truck), thanking Lucas for being so much fun on set despite working consecutive 15-hours-days.
Executive Producer Peter Lenkov hasn’t posted anything MacGyver-related in weeks, but shared some short videos while editing Episode 2×12 where we might get to see Jack’s Karaoke skills.
While there had been no Sneak Peeks in advance of Episodes 2×06 and 2×07, we got 2 of them on November 16 for Episode 2×08. TV Line added another Sneak Peek of Riley meeting her biological father Elwood, played by Billy Baldwin. Justin Hires was so excited that he uploaded practically the whole Spy Camp Introduction Scene beforehand.
On the same day, we also got the Press Release for Episode 2×09 (CD-Rom + Hoagie Foil). So far, there are no Official Stills yet, only the short preview trailer that played a the end of Episode 2×08 last week.
Season 2 Ratings
The Season 2 ratings remain stable: On average, every episode pulled in 6.82 million live viewers per episode so far with a rating of 0.84.
Cast, Crew and Character News
Last Friday (in Episode 2×08), Reign Edwards joined the cast as a recurring character and Bozer’s love interest for at least 3 episodes “and possibly more” (according to TV Insider). So far, we don’t know if she will be back this season. Also, Billy Baldwin as Riley’s father had his first guest-spot. He will be back in Episode 2×09 (CD-Rom + Hoagie Foil) on December 1st, as will Grant Springate as “Little Mac”.
Other upcoming guest-stars are “Original Jack Dalton” Bruce McGill (in Episode 2×11: Bullet + Pen) as Detective Greer, Emerson Brooks as EOD-Specialist Charlie Robinson (in Episode 2×12) and Ashley Tisdale (in Episode 2×13) as a CIA-Agent.
Isabel Lucas hasn’t been on set lately. She travelled back to Australia on November 16; meeting up with friends and family and doing a photoshoot. It’s not clear yet if she will be back on set soon – or even if she’s still a member of the regular main cast.
MacGyver in Austria
Episodes 1×09 (Chisel) and 1×10 (Pliers) reached 76’000 resp. an impressive number of 105’000 viewers. The German-speaking TV-Premiere of Christmas-Episode 1×11 (Scissors) managed 80’000 viewers while the Midseason Finale 1×12 (Screwdriver) broke the record with a whopping 109’000 viewers.
There will be no episodes for two weeks due to the upcoming Winter Sports Events. Sadly, while German channel Sat.1 never aired 3 Episodes (1×11, 1×16 and 1×19) of Season 1, ORF1 will continue with Episode 1×15 (Magnifying Glass) on December 9, therefore completely ignoring Episodes 1×13 and 1×14 and picking up the programme as if the Sport Events never happened.
German fans have another chance in January next year – but because the Reboot will air on PayTV channel FOX, not everyone can catch missed episodes. If you’re a German-speaking MacGyver fan, it’s certainly a challenge to enjoy the first Season without any hindrance.
Last Friday’s Episode managed to reach more than 7 millions live viewers, setting a new live audience record for Season 2. Also, “Original Jack Dalton” Bruce McGill will guest-star in an upcoming episode!
(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 2 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)
Work, work, work
It looks like production is gearing up for a well-earned holiday break because filming continued on the last two weekends. Due to evening and night shoots, cast and crew didn’t get to watch the latest episodes because they were still on set when the show aired.
Meredith Eaton just posted an Instagram Live Story today, revealing that she’s doing ADR for Episode 2×09.
Filming in “Afghanistan”
On October 25, Tristin Mays had shared a video of her driving a Sanitation Truck. As it turned out, this scene will be part of another “explosive” Episode because Emerson Brooks (who played Charlie Robinson in Episode 1×06: Wrench) was back on set and most likely, “The Ghost” will make a comeback as well.
Last week, they had lots of Extras on set; mainly SWAT, FBI and Bomb Techs. Meredith Eaton called it “a situation”, so I guess there will be lots of action.
Months ago, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov had promised we would get to know how Mac met Jack. The fact that both Tristin Mays and Justin Hires have been on this desert set as well means the episode is set in current time, but set location pictures, Instagram Live Stories by Lucas and and the most recent BtS photos by George hint at flashback scenes to Afghanistan when Jack was still with Delta and Mac an EOD Tech.
Isabel Lucas doesn’t post much, but shared a BtS-picture of Episode 2×06 that shows her on the hood of a car. Interestingly, she hasn’t been seen on set pictures or videos for weeks. Either Samantha Cage has very good Ninja Skills or she went to travel the world with Murdoc.
Interviews and other Promo
On October 26, CBS Watch! Magazine had posted 14 BtS Set pictures of Justin Hires with various cast members; giving a “tour of typical MacGyver moments”.
Some of these photos are on-set-pictures from last week’s Episode 2×06 (Jet Engine + Pickup Truck); making up for the lack of Official Stills. We also got a glimpse of Jack Dalton’s “homebase” that we will visit in tonight’s Episode 2×07 (Duct Tape + Jack).
On October 27, CBS shared a short interview with Meredith Eaton about her character Matilda “Matty” Weber. Asked about her favorite scene she has filmed so far in Season 2, Meredith answered:
One of my favorite scenes that Matty has in Season 2 is with Murdoc’s son. There’s a real poignant moment where she’s talking to him, and Matty reveals part of her own past to his son. It’s a really sweet scene between the two of them. That was really enjoyable.
(Meredith Eaton for CBS)
Interestingly, that’s actually a scene for Episode 2×04 (X-Ray + Penny) we never even got to see. It’s still a possibility that it ends up in a later episode, but more likely as a Deleted Scene on the Extras of the Season 2 DVD.
For Halloween, CBS additionally posted an interview with Sarah Downer, Costume Designer on the Reboot. Besides giving tipps on Halloween costumes (e.g. which substance to use for fake blood), she also talked about how they had decided which costume of the “Zombie Wizard of Oz” theme to use for each actor.
Season 2 Ratings
While the Season 2 ratings for the first four episodes hadn’t been overwhelming, they were stable: On average, every episode pulled in 6.65 million live viewers per episode so far with a rating of 0.8.
Cast, Crew and Character News
Today, TV Insider revealed more infos about Bozer’s new love interest, an ambitious operative-in-training called Liana. Reign Edwards will join the cast for at least 3 episodes “and possibly more”, starting on November 17. It’s possible they’re testing the waters with Edwards as a potential recurring (or even regular) cast member since many fans didn’t take Isabel Lucas joining Team Phoenix so well.
Probably the most exciting casting news is that none other than “Original Jack Dalton” Bruce McGill will guest-star in an upcoming episode! On November 3, news about Bruce McGill’s appearance in the reboot hit the internet. As Entertainment Weekly reported, McGill will play Detective Greer, a seasoned LAPD veteran who reads MacGyver his Miranda Rights for murder. Greer believes that MacGyver is a bomb maker who took down a warehouse, killing someone, and intends to charge him with domestic terrorism.
In the press release, McGill said:
I was happy to make a guest appearance on MacGyver. It’s unusual for an actor to be on the original series and then, 30 years later, be on a newer version. The cast and producers were warm and embracing, and I enjoyed being a part of the new show.
MacGyver in Austria
Episodes 1×07 (Can Opener) and 1×08 (Corkscrew) garnered 69’000 resp. 73’000 viewers. Episodes 1×09 (Chisel) and 1×10 (Pliers) reached 76’000 resp. an impressive number of 105’000 viewers.
Tomorrow, Austrian channel ORF1 will air the German-speaking TV-Premiere of Christmas-Episode 1×11 (Scissors). There will be no episodes for the next few weeks due to the upcoming Winter Sports Events. There’s no information yet when fans finally get to see the German-speaking premieres of Episodes 1×16 (Hook) and 1×19 (Compass).
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.
It’s always fun to speculate what could happen. It’s even more fun for a TV show than for a book or a movie; especially if a TV show is already running for more than a few seasons because there are many characters and storylines to choose from.
Back in March, 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.
I’m looking back at the first half of my Season Finale Plot Twists guesses. (Because it’s fun, that’s why!)
Why? If you read my recent blog post about MacGyver’s hair, you know why. MacGyver’s hair has always been a hot topic. There were heated discussions after Lucas Till was cast for the Reboot and again after the first stills of the Unaired Pilot were released. MacGyver’s mullet always seemed to be something holy that isn’t allowed to be touched. We already knew that Dr. Zito would make an appearance in the Season Finale, but we didn’t know yet who would play him.
Could this have happened? Yes, of course. Richard Dean Anderson would have made a very believable Dr. Zito; and cast and crew had made it very clear that they would LOVE to have RDA on the show. If he had changed his mind and told CBS “I’ll do it, but only if I get to play Dr. Zito“, he would have gotten the part. And we know Dr. Zito likes to hold people hostage in cells and to threaten and torture them.
Would I have wanted this to happen? RDA as an evil guy? Yes, please! The last shot of the episode showing a close-up of Lucas Till while “Original MacGyver” is shaving off rebooted MacGyver’s hair? Oh yes! I can’t even imagine the drama on social media after somebody leaking a picture of Lucas being bald… It’s safe to say that the ratings would have gone through the roof.
Could this still happen? Well, yes and no. Dr. Zito was already played by someone else – but there’s still the possibility of RDA (or another bad guy) shaving off Lucas’ hair. Although it wouldn’t be as much fun without RDA being involved.
Why? On the 10th of March, Lucas Till had posted a picture of MacGyver-Creator Lee David Zlotoff visiting the set. The cast was still in character, and Justin Hires as Bozer was wearing a bloody shirt while Tristin Mays as Riley had bloody streaks on her chest. There were speculations that Bozer would die (maybe while saving Riley), or that his almost-dying would get Riley to confess her true feelings for him.
It was already established that Bozer is a genius in mask-making, but we haven’t seen any of his masks since Episode 1×08 (Corkscrew). After that, it was all noses.
Also, it would make sense for Murdoc wanting to hurt MacGyver not just physically, but emotionally. And he’s crazy enough to wear a mask of MacGyver while doing the killing. It would actually be a throwback to the Original Show (Episode 6×12: Jerico Games), where a killer shot someone while posing as MacGyver to frame him.
Could this have happened? Yes. There were speculations early on in the series that MacGyver’s best friend would die. And speculations until the last minute that Riley and Bozer would finally get together.
Would I have wanted this to happen? No, at least in regard of Bozer dying in the first season. MacGyver feeling responsible for his best friend’s death would have overshadowed the whole next season, but probably wouldn’t have been adressed properly. MacGyver has already enough emotional issues that aren’t dealt with. Also, I would have preferred for MacGyver getting stabbed because hello, MacWhump!
Could this still happen? Yes.
Why? MacGyver’s father has been mentioned since the beginning, but we still don’t know much about him. Him showing up unexpectedly would have made perfect sense for a plot twist and a cliffhanger in a Season Finale. Also, the longer he’s not showing up, the higher the expectations about the actor who will play him. Richard Dean Anderson would have been the most obvious choice for many fans, so of course the plot twist would be that it’s somebody else no one would have expected. (My second choice would have been Michael Des Barres, actually.)
Could this have happened? Well, Bruce McGill is quite busy at the moment, but yes.
Would I have wanted this to happen? Sure, why not? I would have preferred it over MacGyver looking for his father for the rest of the episodes.
Could this still happen? My assumption is this might happen in the Season 2 Finale. Well, MacGyver’s dad showing up in the final scene, not Bruce McGill playing him. If they know beforehand the show is getting a third season, I think it’s actually possible to have a close-up on MacGyver’s face saying “Dad???” while opening the door, but NOT showing who his father is.
Why? We still don’t know how Bozer’s movie turned out – or if he ever handed it in. Technically, he was still working on it until Episode 1×08 (Corkscrew).
Could this have happened? Yes, although it’s very unlikely.
Would I have wanted this to happen? Hm. Don’t know. Feels unresolved and not inventive enough.
Could this still happen? Technically yes, but I’m assuming the deadline for the CELLebration Film Festival was set for a long time ago. If Justin wanted to leave the show or if his character is going to be written out, it would probably happen differently; mainly more dramatically.
Why? The storyline with Nikki Carpenter was never satisfactorily resolved. She just disappeared although she should have been involved in everything concerning the Organization (and therefore at least in Episodes 1×17: Ruler and 1×21: Cigar Cutter). Also, it’s reasonable to assume that Tracy Spiridakos will show up again if she’s available.
Could this have happened? Yes. It’s implied in Episode 1×12 (Screwdriver) that MacGyver and Nikki had sex in the wedding room suite. It’s also a throwback to the Original Show where MacGyver had a “baby-scare” in Episode 2×20: Friends (for a few moments at least, although it wasn’t mathematically possible that the kid could have been his).
Would I have wanted this to happen? No, absolutely not. MacGyver being a father at this point would make the show very complicated; especially if he wasn’t dating the kids’ mom anymore. He wasn’t living with Nikki back when they’ve been dating for 2 years, so he wouldn’t do it now just for sake of the child – but he probably would quit his job. Sounds like an idea for a Spin-Off: Retired agent taking care of his child while the mother working for the CIA travels the world. Eh, no.
Could this still happen? Yes. But it made sense that in the Original Show, the appearance of a child didn’t happen until the Season Finale.
Why? We don’t know much about MacGyver’s father besides him leaving when MacGyver was either 10 or 12 years old – depending if you’re referring to Episode 1×02 (Metal Saw) or to Episode 1×18 (Flashlight).
Could this have happened? Yes. It’s actually a storyline that happens in a similar way more than once in FanFiction – in MacGyver FanFiction as well.
Would I have wanted this to happen? No. I have this feeling that the revelation about MacGyver’s dad will be quite the plot twist anyway, no matter why he left. But I’d rather prefer him to be a “normal” guy that couldn’t deal with his wife’s death and grieving son and (falsely) believed it would be better if he left his son in the care of someone else.
Could this still happen? Yes.
Why? We don’t know much about MacGyver’s mom besides her dying when he was 5 years old. I always expected some explanation about how or why she died; e.g. in Episode 1×10 (Pliers) when Mac tells Valerie that his mom died when he was a kid.
Could this have happened? Yes, but the story behind it would probably have been a stretch.
Would I have wanted this to happen? No, absolutely not.
Could this still happen? Yes, but that would be even more of a stretch and could be interpreted as a desperate attempt to get better ratings (which the show doesn’t need for the moment).