Filming for the rest of the Season 4 episodes is ongoing and we have already some BtS photos and videos taken on set to enjoy. Also, we finally got promo news; including a trailer!
(Minor Spoiler Alert: You might get spoilered about characters and storylines in Season 4 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.)
Season 4 Storyline and Promo News
We’re getting closer: Season 4 will premiere in 3 weeks! That’s still a bit of a wait. Good thing: We already got some exciting promo material! On January 7, they released a red logo with black writing; promising that we will find out what this means in exactly a month. Of course, the photo had everyone guessing about it being the new logo for the Phoenix Foundation, for HIT or another bad organization; starting chatter on social media and having the fandom all excited.
On January 10, we finally got a “real” Season 4 preview. In the 30-seconds-trailer, there’s already a lot of material packed in. In a quick pace, we see MacGyver transfer from one airplane into another, saving Riley from an out-of-control-missile (hopefully defunct) tumbling down the stairs, and the team sneaking into a party being all-dressed-up while undercover. Judging by the BtS material we’ve seen in Summer, they took scenes from the first four episodes.
According to an exclusive preview via TV Line, Season 4 will pick up 18 months after the Phoenix Foundation was disbanded and the team members were stripped of their high-level clearances. Apparently, everyone in former Team Phoenix has turned to run-of-the-mill day jobs (e.g. MacGyver to a teaching position). That “ordinary” existence is put on hold when Russ Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick), an eccentric billionaire with a shady past, comes to them for help stopping an imminent attack. Realizing they must get back in the game without the resources of Phoenix, the reassembled team is put on the trail of a centuries-old apocalyptic conspiracy that is determined to save humanity from itself.
Yesterday, we got the Press Release and a First Still for the Season Premiere Episode via SpoilerTV. The Still wasn’t all that exciting (MacGyver and Russ in the car), but CBS later uploaded 25 more Stills onto their press site which was a pleasant surprise. The synopsis doesn’t reveal too much yet and reads as follows:
Ex-MI6 agent Russ Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick) recruits former Phoenix Foundation members Mac, Riley, Bozer, Matty and Desi to hunt down a bioweapon that’s planned to be used by a mysterious organization for a devastating attack on a major U.S. city.
If CBS follows their Fall promo schedule for midseason shows, there should be another trailer and some video clips about a week before the Premiere. There have been hints about a photoshoot and some interviews, not to forget Lucas Till attending the Corus Upfronts in Toronto back in June, so there should be more promo stuff coming soon.
In other news, Production Design Company Keith Neely had uploaded several Season 4 photos onto their website a few weeks ago. While tweeting about the photos didn’t have any consequences, other accounts re-posting the photos onto Instagram while tagging the official Keith Neely Production account soon led to the photos being deleted. Let’s hope they’ll upload the photos again onto the website once they’re allowed to.
Season 4 Episode Overview
There’s still not a lot of info listed on IMDb (cast and crew), on TraktTV or similar sites (episode titles) and on The Futon Critic (airdates). Below, there’s the usual overview of the upcoming episodes with the most important infos we have so far. Just remember: Episode titles and airdates are not definite until an official Press Release by CBS. The episode filmed as 4×02 is actually the first one to premiere; meaning that “temporary” Executive Producer Terry Matalas had the honor of writing the Season 4 Opener.
- 4×01 (filmed as 4×02): Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix (February 7)
Written by Terry Matalas, directed by David Straiton
- 4×02 (filmed as 4×01): Red Cell (+ Quantum) + Cold + Committed (February 14)
Directed by Alexandra La Roche
- 4×03: Kid + Plane + Cable + Truck (February 21)
Directed by Lily Mariye
- 4×04: Windmill + Acetone + Celluloid + Firing Pin (February 28)
Directed by Eagle Egilsson
- 4×05: Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan (March 6)
Directed by Duane Clark
- 4×06: (title tba) (March 13)
Directed by Roderick Davis
- 4×07: Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey (tbd)
Guest appearances by Tate Donovan (as James MacGyver) and Peter Weller (as Mason)
- 4×08: (title tba)
Presumably directed by David Straiton
- 4×09: (title tba)
Written by Brandon Botta and Casey Tollett Botta, directed by Mike Martinez
- 4×10: (title tba)
Directed by Yangzom Brauen
- 4×11: (title tba)
Presumed guest appearances by Amber Skye Noyes and by Dawson Towery
- 4×12: (title tba)
Presumed guest appearance by Rob Giumarra
- 4×13: Save + The + Dam + World (tbd)
Directed by Carlos Bernard
- 4×14: (title tba)
- 4×15: Resort + Desi + Riley + Witness
Written by Stephanie Hicks, directed by Avi Youabian
Working on Episode 4×14
Filming for Episode 4×14 started on Monday, January 6. Justin Hires provided us with a few Instagram Short Stories right on the first day on set; showing us his “syndication smile” in between filming some scenes with Meredith Eaton in the War Room.
Within the first few days, we got several additional goodies; e.g. BtS photos by Henry Ian Cusick, by Meredith Eaton and by Lucas Till. So far, there weren’t many BtS photos by guest stars and extras, but Drew Lamkins (who might have a small part as a bad guy) posted a selfie with Lucas on January 9. Tristin Mays had quickly deleted her Instagram Stories hinting at a photoshoot being underway, but Justin confirmed in another video that there are new promo portraits coming soon. Cast and Crew already had their first nightshoot last Friday while filming at the Governor’s mansion. During the early morning hours, we got a video by Lucas showing us how “boring” the filming process is.
Working on Episode 4×15 and beyond
On January 14, Justin Hires revealed the title for Episode 4×15 (Resort + Desi + Riley + Witness) and that he still needed to learn his lines; despite the early morning hours. The episode is directed by Avi Youabian (who also directed Episode 3×14). Filming presumably started yesterday with Justin Hires and Meredith Eaton setting up for some more War Room scenes. Additionally, they filmed some wire-work scenes with stunt doubles.
Interestingly, Justin also filmed the “empty-looking” fire place set; stating that he misses filming scenes in MacGyvers house and the “gold old days”. Maybe the set hasn’t been “unpacked” since the Christmas hiatus, but it definitely looked deserted. Indeed, Justin has been filming mostly on the War Room set this season and hasn’t been spotted on location very often.
Crew, Cast and Character News
I had expected a steady stream of Casting Calls right after the hiatus, but there hasn’t been much “traffic” yet. Central Casting Georgia has been looking for some more Ballet Girls, for Auction BGs and for a Female Fit Model. They’ve also been looking for a Photo-Double for Zach Hanner and for a Stand-In for Richard Garner. Also, Tristin May’s boyfriend Jessie T Usher has a guest-role as “Vincent” in the current episode.
Interestingly, Executive Producer Terry Matalas just got assigned as showrunner for Season 2 of “Star Trek: Picard” on CBS All Access. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matalas has been pulled off the Reboot. It’s not clear yet if that means that Matalas is out completely for the back-order of the 9 episodes they’re still filming or if he’s staying involved as a producer (maybe in name only). To be honest, I’m not sure yet another EP change is a good thing. So far, we haven’t officially heard about the show getting a new co-showrunner (although on the script title page for Episode 4×15, there’s a new name been added onto the producers list).
Season 4 Storyline Predictions
The show being pushed to midseason, the personnel changes in the team of producers and writers plus the late back-order for more episodes might have several consequences. In my last blog post, I wrote an extensive section about these circumstances and how they might influence the season. Here’s a short overview – now including some revisions due to all the new information we got in the last few weeks:
- (At least) Two Main Storylines: Since the story-arc was initially written for 13 episodes, I always expected the season to be cut into two main storylines after the back-up order for 9 more episodes.
Now that Season 4 will start with a time-jump of 18 months since Episode 3×22 and the fact that EP Terry Matalas has been pulled off the show, it’s possible that there will be even 3 main storylines. The first half of the 13 initially ordered episodes might deal with the fallout and flashbacks of why Team Phoenix was disbanded. With writers and producers initially not knowing if the show gets some more episodes ordered or not, Team Phoenix is probably back to business after a few episodes – especially when considering how much BtS material we got of the cast filming in the War Room.
EP Matalas wrote the Season Premiere Episode and probably set the tone for the 13 episodes. Now that he’s already gone, they might have taken up yet another story-arc and maybe even introduce another new villain for the rest of the season.
- No Holiday-Related Episodes: There probably won’t be any holiday-related episodes. Being pushed to midseason, any premiere date between January and April was a possibility. They probably avoided having to air a Halloween- or Christmas-related episode in Spring or Summer.
That said, by using a time-jump we still might be able to get some short holiday-related scenes in flashbacks.
- Changes in recurring guest-stars: It’s possible that some of the recurring guest stars aren’t available for the production of the rest of the episodes – or that their characters have already been written out in the first half of the season. I expected this to be the case for Tate Donovan (as James MacGyver) or Peter Weller (as Mason) who have only been sighted once on set so far, but also for actors who haven’t been sighted on set yet like Reign Edwards (as Leanna) or Lance Gross (as Billy Colton). There’s also the possibility of bringing back a guest star despite the storyline for this character being “finished” in the first half of the season or in a previous season.
The decision to have 4×01 starting with such a long time-jump only fuels this prediction because the writers (and producers) now can change the history of the characters and the relationships between them however they please; getting a “blank slate” to start anew without having to show us how it happened.
FIrst example is the relationship between MacGyver and Desi. The last few episodes hinted at a beginning romance between these two characters. If they decided to go on with it, we might see Mac and Desi in an already established relationship; living together in Mac’s house. It’s an easy (and also lazy) way to skip over the usual building of romance and trust between two characters. Instead of “wasting” screentime on the two going on dates and kissing for the first time for several episodes; being unsure if dating a co-worker is the right decision by the middle of the season and discussing if they should move in together by the end of the season, they can get right into the main storyline without having to deal with all this “romantic stuff”; robbing the “MacDesi” fans of experiencing the slow burn and dance-around-each-other-part that many TV shows love to deliver.
Likewise, if they came to the decision to have another romantic interest for MacGyver instead, they can just tell us they dated and broke off or that the first date never led to anything more. In fact, they can add whatever romantic history between any of the characters without having to show us the beginning (or the potential ending and the characters dealing with it) since it all happened off-screen – only to bring it back later when it suits them to add tension.
It also means that the writers don’t have to deal at all with characters played by actors that aren’t available this season. lnstead of trying to find explanations for Leanna’s absence, they can just tell us that Leanna and Bozer broke it off a long time ago. That also means that they can introduce new characters (e.g. a new girlfriend for Bozer) whenever they want or bring back characters without coming back to their storyline happening last season (e.g. Murdoc or Helman who might have broken out of prison months ago). Also, the time-jump is a very handy tool to “deal” with the absence of Jack Dalton. They could have someone mention Jack being retired at some farm in Texas; happily married and/or with kids.
- Fluctuation in Quality: The back-order for the additional episodes to make it a full season was rather late. I doubt it’s easy to provide 9 more scripts as quickly as possible so the crew can start on location scouting and preparing sets and costumes. I hope I’m wrong, but I expect the second half of the season to be of a bit lower quality with a rushed feel to it and unnecessary plot twists to fit in a second story-arc.
Considering that co-showrunner Terry Matalas has probably already been pulled off for the rest of the season, I don’t just expect a difference in quality, but also in tone and style and the choice of guest-stars since Matalas brought a lot of people he had already worked with during the show 12 Monkeys.
Best of TV Awards: Round 1 Voting still open
The Reboot is competing in the “Best of TV Awards” held by Canada Graphs.
Reminder: In Round 1, you can vote as many times as you want. If the show is not available to choose from the list, you can add a new entry nominee into the “other” box at the bottom of the category. Your choice will be added as soon as several votes have come in. These are the categories to keep an eye on in Round 1:
- Best Recurring Actor/Actress (George Eads, Tate Donovan, Reign Edwards)
- Favorite Show
- Best Guest Actor/Actress (David Dastmalchian, Michael Des Barres; closed)
- Best Director (Brad Turner for Episode 3×13, closed)
- Best Episode (Episodes 3×11, 3×13, 3×22; closed)
- Favorite Character (Mac, Jack, Riley, Bozer; closed)
- Best Writing (closed)
- Best Stunts (closed)
- Best Non-Human Character or Prop (Sparky; closed)
- Best Couple (Bozer + Leanna; closed)
Season 3 DVD and other merchandise
The Season 3 DVD was released on January 14. If you haven’t done so, you can order it via Amazon US at a great price (it’s still on sale with 50% off).
Sadly, there was no information about the contents to be found. It wasn’t before January 9 that we even got a glimpse of the back cover. So of course, we already suspected that the Season 3 DVD would turn out to be the same “naked” version as the one for Season 1, and we were right. The US version of the Season 3 DVD doesn’t contain any Extras or special features.
Although expected, this is a big disappointment; considering CBS put Extras on all their recent DVDs and Season 3 had been aired as a Fall show with decent ratings last year. There’s no information yet about the DVD release overseas, so we can only hope that the international distributors will be kinder than Lionsgate.