Less than two weeks left until the Premiere of Season 5!
(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 5 storylines by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided. For daily news and to join the discussion, you can find me on Twitter and head over to the MacGyverOnline Forums.)
Season 5 Promo News
By now, you all should have heard the news: Season 5 will premiere on Friday, December 4! All the MacGyverCBS social media accounts got a new header and profile photo for the occasion.
Downside of being back as a “Fall” show: There’s a lot more competition within your network. While MacGyver got sort of “punished” when being pushed to midseason for Season 4, they still got a lot more promo for both the Premiere and the Season Finale than back for Seasons 2 and 3. After all, there were only two midseason shows having a premiere in February this year.
On November 17, the official MacGyverCBS account started tweeting short videos; e.g. Justin Hires talking about what makes Bozer tick and that he’s excited to meet Bozer’s parents this season. On Friday, they posted a very short teaser of Russ announcing that the show will premiere in two weeks.
Tristin Mays did a 40-minute-interview with re:imagine/ATL, talking about what’s different when filming a TV show during a pandemic, about her dog Sergeant and about her work experiences as an actress. She confirmed my suspicions that due to the long break, most of the former crew members started looking for work elsewhere and that there are a lot of new people on the show – which might be another explanation for the lack of BtS material.
Otherwise, there’s not much promo yet. Even the order of the episodes is a bit difficult to predict at the moment (more about that further down). But we finally got the first Season Preview Trailer on Friday; which contains mostly scenes from the first two “leftover” episodes. While many fans lamented the lack of Bozer or Matty, the video excited the fans no less; earning more than 46’000 views (and counting) in less than 24 hours. Since it hasn’t been uploaded on an official CBS channel yet, the cast members have reposted the video by TV Promos (who were the first to upload it).
What you need to know about Episode 5×01
On November 9, we got the synopsis and the First Official Still for Episode 5×01 (Resort + Desi + Riley + Window Cleaner + Witness) via SpoilerTV. Keep in mind that this is the “leftover” episode that was initially filmed with production number 415 (Resort + Desi + Riley + Witness) back in January.
Here’s the synopsis:
Mac and the team infiltrate a glamorous hotel used as an international hideout for criminals to find a woman with vital information on Codex. However, their target has a new secret identity, including a completely new face.
We got 16 Official Stills in total via KsiteTV. There are only 5 of them on Getty Images; confirming that most of the other photos are screenshots and were not taken by Still Photographer Mark Hill.
What you need to know about Episode 5×02
On November 19, we got the synopsis and two Stills for Episode 5×02 (Thief + Painting + Auction + Viro-486 + Justice) via SpoilerTV. Keep in mind that this is the “leftover” episode that was filmed first when production restarted in January; using production number 414 (Thief + Painting + Viro-486 + Justice). I hope we get a bunch of Official Stills soon.
Production during a Pandemic
I speculated in my latest blogpost that they might slide the newly-filmed episodes between the old ones. This turned out to be true; confirming that this is why they kept the hairstyles so similar to Season 4.
I’ve always been curious about the transition between the seasons since they don’t have a clean break. Maybe they couldn’t or didn’t want to build directly upon Ex-Showrunner Peter Lenkov’s storylines before being able to go into the direction they wanted. Or they didn’t want to add an “artificial” cut (e.g. in the form of another time-jump). Maybe they’re trying to “defuse” the previous storyline a bit before venturing into new territory.
While this might make the showrunner transition a bit easier for the viewers, it creates a new problem with episodes switching in between non-covid and covid-related storylines and environments. There might be masked background actors in one episode and none in the next – but after all, stranger things have happened on TV and we might have to cut them some slack. It’s difficult (and sort of crazy) enough to keep filming during a pandemic while case numbers are still rising.
There might also be another reason for mixing old and new episodes: The higher costs when producing a TV show during a pandemic. Back in Spring, I speculated about the episode orders being potentially shorter due to safety protocols leading to higher expenses. We already know that CBS has ordered shorter seasons this year; e.g. 16 episodes each for Magnum PI and Blue Bloods. It’s worth noting that according to an article by Deadline, implementing COVID safety protocols adds up to half a million dollars to the budget per episode for a drama/crime show.
Maybe sliding in new episodes in between old ones is also a way to cover up for the new episodes being produced with lower budgets spent on stunts, for example. It’s possible that the new episodes have less action scenes (which are the main reason for high costs when producing action and crime shows) and will focus more on character development. That way, it’s less obvious with a better balance.
Season 5 Overview
Here’s an overview of all the information about the upcoming episodes so far. The infos were either provided by CBS, by the website for the Writers Guild of America West (episode titles), by social media accounts or IMDb (cast and crew info), from SpoilerTV (press releases) and The Futon Critic (airdates).
- 5×01 (filmed with production number 415):
Resort + Desi + Riley + Window Cleaner + Witness (December 4)
Written by Stephanie Hicks, directed by Avi Youabian
- 5×02 (414): Thief + Painting + Auction + Viro-486 + Justice (December 11)
Written by Peter M. Lenkov and Andrew Klein, directed by Duane Clark
- 5×03 (501): Eclipse + USMC-1856707 + Step Potential + Chain Lock + MA (December 18)
Written by Stephanie Hicks, directed by David Straiton
- 5×04 (416): Jack + Kinematics + MgKNO3 + GTO (tba)
Written by Jim Adler, directed by Ericson Core
- 5×05 (417): Golden Lancehead + Venom + Blood + Baggage
Written by Joshua Brown and Andrew Karlsruher, directed by David Straiton
- 5×06 (418): SOS + Hazmat + Frequency + Malihini
Written by Cindy Appel, directed by Yangzom Brauen
- 5×07 (419): Banh Bao + Drill + Burner + Mason
Written by Justin Lisson and Sophia Lopez, directed by Peter Weller
- 5x?? (420): Rails + Pitons + Pipe + Salt (unfinished production)
Written by Rob Pearlstein, directed by Christine Moore
- 5x?? (502): Telescope + S-218 + Amplifier + Frenemies + Fog
Written by Jim Adler and Stephanie Hicks
Remember that the episode titles and their order is not definite until an official Press Release by CBS.
Working on Episode 501
(Note: Since we don’t know the order of the episodes yet, I will continue to refer to the to-be-filmed-episodes by their production number. It might be a bit confusing, but this seems to be the best option for now.)
Filming for the episode with production number 501 started on November 11. It’s directed by David Straiton, who has already directed several episodes for the show. During the first few days, we got several BtS photos with Lucas Till, Tristin Mays, Justin Hires, Levy Tran and Henry Ian Cusick on set. They had a Porsche and several planes as their “co-stars”.
On Friday, November 13, we got a quick message by Justin and Tristin plus a group photo via CBS. In the afternoon, filming continued outside. Tristin uploaded a video (filmed by Lucas) that looks like Riley is having a picnic event in a park.
On November 17, Tristin posted a photo of her in front of a jet. The next day, she was very happy to find another tiny door (that are hidden in and around Atlanta). We didn’t get much more BtS stuff material. Justin was nice enough to deliver us a short BtS video of him with Lucas; talking about Justin’s assistant that recently reached internet fame.
On November 20, new Showrunner Monica Macer tweeted that Episode 501 is “in the can”. It took them 8 days to film the episode – which is well within pre-covid production time.
Working on Episode 502 and beyond
On November 16, Monica Macer tweeted a photo to show us what socially distanced location scouting looks like. We can assume that production on Episode 502 will start on Monday. There have been no casting calls at all since my last blog post, but they will probably film the episode that was deemed the Season Opener by TV Guide Magazine.
According to a recent Instagram post, David Dastmalchian has been visiting Vancouver. Let’s hope he finds his way to Atlanta soon to resume the role of our favorite villain.
As mentioned last week, posts on social media confirmed that some former crew members won’t work on Season 5 (e.g. Haley Porch or Levy’s stand-in Amanda Mazonkey), and Lucas’ usual Stand-In Matthew Albright also stated in an Instagram post that he’s currently not working on the show.
Season 4 Reruns
The rerun of Episode 4×12 (Loyalty + Family + Rogue + Hellfire) on November 13 brought 2.70 million live-viewers with a demo of 0.3, which is about the same as other CBS reruns. This Friday, the rerun of the Season 4 Finale (Save + The + Dam + World) got 2.803 million live-viewers in the preliminary ratings; also with a demo of 0.3.
It’s worth noting that these rerun ratings are better than what SWAT achieved for their “normal” episode premieres in the last two weeks. Compared to last year, SWAT lost about 36% in demo and 38% in audience numbers. CBS might decide to pull the show off schedule or drop it somewhere else, but I think the Friday Line-Up will be safe from any big schedule shake-ups.
On November 27, CBS has a special line-up (e.g. with “Frosty the Snowman” at 8pm), but we should get more reruns on December 25 and on January 1st.
Other MacGyver News
ICYMI: On November 12, we got a first look at the cover of the upcoming first MacGyver Novel (MacGyver: Meltdown) that should be released end of November. You can find more information here.
So far, there’s no information about a release date of the Season 4 DVD. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it will come out before the Season 5 Premiere.