Looking Back at Season 1 (XXI) – Concept for the Opening Title Sequence

Back in February 2016, when news outlets like Deadline announced CBS had ordered a pilot for a MacGyver Reboot, the social media buzz was intense. The questions most often asked were probably these: Who will be the new MacGyver? What will his hair look like? Will he still have his SAK? Will they keep the iconic title music of the Original Show? What will the Opening Credits look like?

Opening Title Concept for Season 1 (via Picturemill)

As you noticed, most modern TV shows don’t have an opening sequence anymore. But we all agreed that they surely wouldn’t dare to do this with a reboot of a TV show that had such an iconic Opening Title Theme.

The Season 1 Opening Title Recap
To recap: On September 13 in 2016, the official rebooted MacGyver Facebook account uploaded a video of the Pilot Episode set where a modern version of the Original Theme was playing. Five days later, Showrunner Peter Lenkov uploaded a video of the orchestra recording it.

On September 20, Yahoo! TV uploaded a “fanmade” version of the rebooted Title Sequence. It featured scenes from the first two episodes plus scenes from the Unaired Pilot teaser trailer while recreating the Original Main Titles and using the Original Theme. Because people had tweeted about it without sourcing it correctly, many fans (and news outlets) had assumed it was the real deal.

I still think it’s a very well-made version of an Opening Title Sequence for the reboot – probably the best I’ve seen so far.

Fanmade Opening Title Sequence (via Yahoo! TV)

Only a few hours later, Entertainment Weekly released the official title sequence. The reactions were varied, but I liked that you see MacGyver doing MacGyverisms (even though these are not the hands of Lucas Till himself).

The Opening Title Sequence Shots for Season 1 were done by Picturemill. Their portfolio has the opening titles for shows like Hawaii Five-0, The Gifted and Love, Victor or movies like The Greatest Showman, IT and Panic Room. For years, they never shared more than one single collage of BtS shots on Facebook. Finding more information about it was a pain, and I finally gave up looking for more.

BtS of the Opening Title Sequence (via Picturemill)

Generally, they could have gone the “easy” way and simply mix some scenes from the Pilot Episode together. Instead, they created extra material so I think it should have been promoted as such; putting it onto YouTube and other social media accounts plus added as bonus material on the DVD.

Interestingly, it seems that an early concept involved exactly that. About a year ago, they added some good quality BtS photos onto their website, including a photo of a printed page for the main title design. It’s not clear why CBS didn’t like that concept. So far, the reboot got a new title sequence for every season (which is rare for CBS shows with an opening sequence; especially if they don’t involve footage of the cast).

BtS photo of the Opening Title Sequence (via Picturemill)

ICYMI: In an interview for SlashFilm with Peter Lenkov and James Wan, Lenkov revealed that he was adamant with CBS about getting an Opening Title Sequence, but that it kept getting shorter every time they did a redo, because it eats up ad space (which networks aren’t happy about, of course) and they felt like maybe it’s a little retro.

Looking at the other CBS shows relased in recent years, Lenkov’s Magnum PI might have been one of the last scripted crime/drama shows to actually get a “real” opening title sequence; and probably mainly because it’s also a reboot with an iconic main title theme.

BtS photo of the Opening Title Sequence (via Picturemill)

So… what’s coming for Season 5? I’ve been wondering if we’ll get a new Opening Title Sequence or not. As mentioned above, they were willing to use parts of their budget for a new title sequence every year.

Considering the change of showrunner after four years, it’s very likely that they want to make an obvious cut to Season 4 as well – despite the first few episodes still having been written and filmed under Lenkov’s supervision.