Looking Back at Season 1 (I) – The Hair (Part 1)

When people talk about MacGyver, they often mention certain items or character traits. Interestingly, this changes depending on the country.

In English-speaking countries, people often mention paperclips and chewing gum. In German-speaking countries, it all seems to be about MacGyver’s hair. Even in Switzerland, the mullet is mentioned before the Swiss Army Knife (maybe because MacGyver never carried a model of the SAK that was carried by actual Swiss Army Soldiers).

RDA as Original MacGyver (1985-1988)

Back in February 2016, when news outlets like Deadline announced CBS ordering a pilot for a MacGyver Reboot, the social media buzz was intense. And many people asked: Who will be the new MacGyver? What will he look like? What will his hair look like?

On March 23, CBS finally announced Lucas Till being cast as rebooted MacGyver. While some news outlets like Deadline used an old picture of Lucas from 2011 (his official IMDb portrait, originally from a promo event for X-Men: First Class), most websites like the Hollywood Reporter or Variety used a more or less recent picture of Lucas sporting long hair (from his appearance at the Catalina Film Festival in September 2015). Cue the drama.

Lucas Till at public appearances 2011 (via IMDb) and 2015 (via The Hollywood Reporter)

I was around 10 years old when I watched my first episode of Original MacGyver, and it was an episode of Season 3 (The Widowmaker). I’m a kid of the 80s, so Richard Dean Anderson’s hair as MacGyver wasn’t all that unusual to me. But I will always associate MacGyver’s hair with Seasons 3, 4 or 6 – not with the shorter and darker do he sported in Seasons 1 and 2 or the longer “beach-style-hair” in Seasons 5 and 7.

I experienced “hair-drama” before: Back in December 2007, when Robert Pattinson was cast for the first Twilight-Movie. When Summit Entertainment announced him being cast as Edward Cullen, Rob was still sporting black and a bit longer hair than usual because of his latest role in Little Ashes (2008) where he portrayed artist Salvador Dalì. So what happened? There were petitions.

Petitions by vicious fangirls (and fanboys) with thousands of signatures that demanded that “Cedric Diggory” (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005) was not the right person for this role and should be re-cast. Well. We know what happened: The first Twilight-Movie broke the record for the best US domestic opening box office by a female director (which was broken in 2015 by the first installment of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, which has been recently surpassed by “Wonder Woman”). Pattinson made four other Twilight-Movies that made a lot of money. And against the predictions back then, his career is far from over.

Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen vs Public Appearance (2007)

Back to MacGyver.

Expectations for the Reboot were high, of course. Very high. As fans of the Original Version, we knew that our expectations most likely wouldn’t be perfectly met. But one can only hope, right? There were lots of discussions about Lucas being cast (and about his hair!) in the MacGyver Online Forums as well.

I didn’t really know what to think – I had never seen a single one of Lucas’ movies back then and wasn’t able to judge his acting skills. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be wearing a mullet, of course since mullets are not deemed very cool anymore. But I was worried about him sporting long, shaggy hair in the reboot because of my dislike of RDA’s hair in Seasons 5 and 7.

RDA as Original MacGyver (1989-1991)

When it became clear that Lucas would probably keep his long hair, I did wonder if they would do some flashback-flashforward scenes (à la Arrow) to establish some of MacGyver’s backstory; especially because of the leaked character descriptions. The discussions remained speculations because although some pictures of shooting locations and the new logo were leaked (and later deleted) on social media, there was no picture of Lucas in character. Not even of Lucas NOT being in character.

We didn’t know what he would look like until the first official still was released on May 16. Let’s say the pictures weren’t very well received on social media. There were references to the Hanson Brothers and comments on Twitter that MacGyver doesn’t have time for haircuts because he’s busy saving the world.

Promo Material for the Unaired MacGyver Pilot (2016)

Of course, all discussions and fears had been for nothing when it was announced only days later that the Reboot would be rebooted with a new Executive Producer, a new script, new cast members and a new filming location (and therefore a new crew). The Pilot Episode would be reshot which probably meant a new look (and a different hairstyle) as well.

I was very excited when I got a glimpse of Lucas in the first trailer for his upcoming movie “Monster Trucks” (2016) a few weeks later. The movie had already been shot in 2013, but hadn’t been released yet due to the long post-production process. I really liked his character’s hairstyle and also the clothes. Additionally, the lead role of Tripp handling tools and car parts made him look very MacGyver.

Lucas Till in Monster Trucks (Official Still, 2016)

On the 3rd of June in 2016, Lucas appeared at the CBS Television Studios Summer Soiree. His hair was still long, but seemed a bit shorter than in the Unaired Pilot. On June 21, CBS announced the Premiere Date and – surprise! – Lucas sported a new haircut. Which looked very good and very modern-day MacGyver in my opinion.

Not even a month later, we got the first glimpse of Lucas in character on the first day of shooting the new pilot. Sporting the signature leather jacket, I couldn’t even remember what had been the problem in the first place. Well done!

Lucas Till in June and July 2016

 

End of Part 1. I will reminisce about MacGyver’s hair some more in Part 2.

MacGyver Reboot Update #29

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on May 12, 2017. 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.

With only two months left until filming for Season 2 starts, the writers are working on new scripts.

BtS of Season 1 (via Pius Pietrzyk)

Crisis averted
Thankfully, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) managed to secure better working conditions for script writers during weeks of tense negotiations, therefore avoiding a strike that would have resulted in TV show productions coming to a grinding halt and being stopped for weeks, maybe even months.

Production should go on as planned. As David Slack tweeted on May 2nd, he’s already writing on a new episode for Season 2.

working on new scripts (via David Slack)

Reruns
There will be a rerun of Episode 13 (Large Blade) on May 26 and a rerun of Episode 14 (Fish Scaler) on June 2.

Season 2 News
As Executive Producer Peter Lenkov confirmed on May 10, Season 2 will start in September.

What are cast and crew up to?
Peter Lenkov is gearing up for the premiere of his CBS Summer Show “Salvation” in July. Justin Hires is busy polishing his career as a stand-up comedian. Tristin Mays and Meredith Eaton recently visited one of his shows.

Comedy Club (via Justin Hires)

Because of the DVD-Release of Monster Trucks, Lucas Till had been doing promo for this movie back in April. In a video interview with TVs Talking Pictures, Lucas also talked about filming MacGyver. He revealed that George Eads is one of his best friends, that he fell asleep several times while trying to memorize his lines and that he was stressed out 8 of 9 months while shooting because he put too much pressure on himself, trying to fill RDA’s big shoes by taking on such an iconic role.

What’s going to happen now?
Next Wednesday, CBS will present their 2017-2018 TV Schedule at the Upfronts in New York. Since both Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods have been renewed as well for another season, the reboot airtime schedule probably won’t change.

Both Peter Lenkov and Lucas Till will be at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in June. Lenkov is listed as a member of the festival’s jury while it is not clear yet in what capacity Lucas will be there.

Monster Trucks Promo (via Instagram)

There has been no word yet if there will be another promo event at Comic Con San Diego (July 20 to 23) this year.

MacGyver around the world
The Reboot is or has been airing in several countries by now; e.g. Australia, Turkey, the UK, the French speaking region of Switzerland, New Zealand or the Netherlands. The show is airing soon in Japan and in France. The premiere for Germany (on Sat.1) is set for June 19.

The German dubbing of rebooted MacGyver is done by Ozan Ünal who funnily also voiced Nicholas Hoult’s character of “Beast” in the X-Men movies with Lucas Till and David Dastmalchian in “CSI Cyber“. Ünal otherwise regularly dubbs Emile Hirsch, Logan Lerman (in the Percy Jackson Series) or Ian Somerhalder. On German TV, he’s probably best known for voicing Johnny Galecki in all episodes of “The Big Bang Theory“, so this is going to be weird and interesting for me.

The Vault: Unaired Pilot
A year ago, Meg London-Boche – Assistant of Director David Von Ancken – tweeted about the MacGyver Pilot being done. Little did we know back then that the pilot would be scrapped and reshot, earning the title of being an Unaired Reboot Pilot that got rebooted.

BtS of the Unaired Pilot (via Adam Michna)

The Unaired Pilot has more or less disappeared. The IMDb page was deleted rather quickly, along with every official material that had been posted by CBS on social media. It’s difficult to predict if we’ll ever get to see this Unaired Pilot that shall not be named. It’s probably futile to hope for it being released on the Season 1 DVD.

 

Original Author’s Note (May 12): This is my last Update for the MacGyver Reboot – for now. I will probably continue posting somewhere else, but I have to set it up first and I don’t know yet when it’s going to be ready. (I have been writing in German on my own blog for 11 years, but I don’t want to mix up blog posts in different languages.)

A big THANK YOU to Nicholas Sweedo for letting me write on his blog. I wouldn’t have dared to do it on my own. I never thought I would be able to write so many blog-posts in another language and I learnt A LOT while doing this.

A big THANK YOU for you readers as well. I never thought these blog-posts would get so many hits. Hopefully read you soon! If you need a quick fix of MacGyver Reboot News until my next Update, you can find me on Twitter.

Original Editor’s Note (May 12): A big thanks to Andrea (Dashboard) for all her great posts and for being really nice to work with! I decided that I wanted to distance this blog from the reboot since I don’t like it and am not watching it any more. But for fans of the reboot, Andrea really is the best person out there to follow for the latest news and information, and I’m sure that her new blog will be an awesome place to go for that!

MacGyver Reboot Update #28

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project on April 28, 2017. 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 MacGyver Season 1 Finale has aired. Fans don’t have to be sad, though: Filming for Season 2 should start in July in Atlanta.

LA Wrap Party Collage (via DashboardOnFire)

(SPOILER ALERT: You will get spoilered about the Season Finale and about storylines in Season 2 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)

 

It’s a wrap! Again?
Although cast and crew had already celebrated the official wrap party in Atlanta back in March, there was another wrap party in LA on April 22. Together with some cast and crew members of Hawaii Five-0, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov took his people bowling.

They all seemed to have a good time. Justin Hires posted several Instagram Live videos (e.g. with Lucas Till, Tristin Mays or Meredith Eaton). In one of the videos, Lucas revealed that he had mostly caught up on sleep since last seeing Justin in Atlanta. David Dastmalchian shared selfies of him with Lucas and with Joe Dante who had directed Episode 4 (Wire Cutter). Meredith posted pictures of her posing with Lenkov and Henry Winkler and with Tristin. Tristin uploaded a video of Lucas preparing for his next strike. Lucas was seen shaking hands with Hollywood Legend Hal Holbrook.

Episode 1×21: Cigar Cutter (via SpoilerTV)

Premiere of the Season Finale
The ratings for the last three episodes have also been the lowest of the season. Although they made an effort for some additional promo for the Season Finale, Episode 21 (Cigar Cutter) had the second lowest ratings of the season so far with 6.57 million viewers (along with a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo group).

Interestingly, last week’s rerun of Episode 10 (Pliers) still managed to pull in 5.13 million viewers (with 0.7 in demo).

Nonetheless, the Season 1 ratings are good. All episodes included, the show had 7.73 million live-viewers per episode, along with a 1.08 rating in the 18-49-years demo group. The reruns (10 episodes so far) had 4.45 million live-viewers per episode (with 0.7 in demo).

Season 1 Premieres and Reruns Ratings so far (put together by DashboardOnFire)

(It’s worth noting that it wasn’t just “MacGyver” losing almost a million viewers on the most recent episodes, but other Friday shows like Hawaii Five-0 or Blue Bloods as well.)

Season Finale Promo
On Season Finale day, we got a lot of promo interviews and articles – so much that I didn’t manage to cover all of it in my last Update.

Tristin Mays did an appearance on Good Day LA. Lucas did a short Q&A on Instagram for AmazonVideo. Just before the Season Finale Premiere, CBS did a live-interview on Facebook with Tristin and David Dastmalchian; including another exclusive clip and their one word to describe the Finale (devastating by David, outrageous by Tristin).

Because of the DVD-Release of Monster Trucks, Lucas had additionally been doing promo for his movie that week. In a video interview with SideWalksTV, he also talked about MacGyver and the work load, how his fan encounters changed due to the show and what’s it like to work with the cast.

Season Finale Set visit pics (via Randall Goltzman)

A while ago, there was a Boy Scouts Sweepstakes with Jake Goltzman winning the grand prize. He was invited to visit the set during the filming process of the Season Finale. Back in March, his father Randall had already uploaded many pictures onto Facebook. (You can see some of the pictures in this blog post.) On premiere day, CBS Austin aired a segment of Jake talking about his experience.

Additionally, cast and crew shared some more pictures of Episode 21 on social media; e.g. David Dastmalchian of Murdoc and Matty or Justin Hires of Bozer and “Dr. Zito”. Stunt Coordinator Jeff Wolfe posted a picture of him with Mark Sheppard and a BtS pic of him having fun with Lucas while preparing to do a scene with “suffering” Bozer. Kirk Riley shared a BtS picture of the scene in Siberia.

Character and Storyline News
On April 8, Peter Lenkov tweeted that he and Producers Craig O’Neill and David Slack had discussed the story about how Jack met MacGyver – and teased that we’ll have to wait until next season for that.

As mentioned in the last Update, Peter Lenkov revealed that next season will see Riley and Bozer having relationships with other people. So we might be introduced to new recurring characters soon; maybe even in the Season 2 Premiere.

BtS of Episode 1×21: Cigar Cutter (via Kirk Riley)

I’ve been wondering if they’ve already filmed the entire Cairo backstory for continuity and why they haven’t already done so while filming the pilot. Breaking down the Season Finale cliffhangers with Entertainment Weekly, Lenkov stated that “The idea is that next season we’ll get to see another piece of that story, how they got out of that part of Cairo.” He also revealed that we will discover at the end of the season who MacGyver’s father is. I’m really curious who they’re going to cast in this role.

What’s going to happen now?
Kevin Marshall (Stand-In for George Eads) was still shooting inserts on a Villa-with-Pool-Location on March 31. So far, we still don’t know what these scenes were for – unless the MacGyver Reboot has a crossover with CW’s new show “Dynasty”, it’s possible that the overworked crew used the wrong social media hashtags.

For now, most of the cast is probably enjoying some free time. Meanwhile, Lenkov is busy preparing for the Finale of Hawaii Five-0 and the crew in Atlanta is working on other TV show pilots.

via Randall Goltzman

Note that there is a strike of the Writers Guild of America looming on the horizon. It’s unclear yet how a strike would influence the production of the reboot. The last time this happened (in 2007/08), production ceased for all scripted television programming for months. Many TV shows had shortened seasons due to a lack of scripts, were postponed, cancelled or had to switch to non-union writers in order to resume production.