MacGyver (Season 1)

posted 10 Apr 2018, 15:04 by Paul Woodward

Genre: Action / Adventure / Comedy

Stars: Lucas Till / George Eads / Tristin Mays / Justin Hires / Meredith Eaton / Sandrine Holt

Creator: Peter M Lenkov / Lee David Zlotoff

Certificate: 12

Year: 2016/17

This is a reboot of the Eighties classic TV show which stared Richard Dean Anderson in the title role. It sticks to the principal concepts of that show but is updated in many ways and has an ensemble cast fronted by Lucas Till who takes up the role of improvising science genius MacGyver who can make anything he wants out of whatever he has at hand. Till even sports a sort of Mullet in the first few episodes and even wears Eighties Mac’s trademark brown leather jacket!

MacGyver and his team work for the Phoenix Foundation a covert operations unit, battling terrorism, performing hostage rescues, gathering Intel, saving the world and all types of Spy type stuff. Unlike the original show the Phoenix foundation is connected to the US Government this time around, In the original it was a private firm set up and run by Pete Thornton. It is an adventure of the week type show, with a few recurring characters and a couple of stories which are touched upon during several episodes. It’s not much watch TV by any means, but it is entertaining and good to switch off too, it’s not overly taxing and is fun with likeable characters and Mac’s improvisations are always intriguing.

Unlike the original this time around Mac has a team, all with their own set of skills and attributes that they bring to each adventure. Jack Dalton (Eads) is Mac’s muscle, Riley Davis (Mays) is his Tech girl and his best mate Wilt Bozer (Hires) is his lab guy who specialises in prosthetic make up (you know for disguises and shit!). The writers have obviously looked at the original series and have brought things from it to this reboot, to give the show a sort of similar feel, this includes using recurring characters from that era not just as guest stars but as main cast members to, which is a nice nod to the original.

The Phoenix Foundation is run by Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt), but the mid-season cliff-hanger sees her revealed as a double agent which was quite shocking as it came out of nowhere and you felt given the name her connection to the original would have guaranteed her a regular role on the show. If this was always intended I don’t know, TV shows are notorious for ditching actors if ratings are bad or reactions to a character aren’t too the viewing public’s liking. Holt was fine in my opinion and played the role of the straight-laced boss well to counter the fast and loose attitudes of Mac and his team. Thornton is replaced by Matty Webber (Meredith Eaton) who is tough and straight laced but with a strong sense of dry humour thrown in the mix and she is less distant and more interactive with Mac and his team than Thornton was.

The show doesn’t take itself too seriously and is very comedic which makes it very easy to sit back and relax too. In the original though I seem to remember Mac was a pacifist not just someone who dislikes guns, in this show Mac and indeed the show itself is more violent and features a lot of gun play. This isn’t a criticism, the actions scenes are usually very entertaining and well shot, with obvious money spent on stunts and explosions. It does differentiate the show from the original a little bit though. Mac doesn’t use a gun in the first season, or at least I don’t remember him doing so but he is more hands on and combative. Dalton delivers the vast majority of the fighting and shooting, something the character revels in whilst dropping one liners at every opportunity.

The characters do all interact and have back stories that connect them which helps give you reasons to like them and feel invested in what happens to them. Till gives us a very laid-back MacGyver, who takes everything in his stride, Eads obviously loves his role as the teams wise cracking action man, Hires is the slightly nerdy but funny Bozer and rebellious moody hacker Davis is played well by Mays who rounds out the main cast.

Other than some names already mentioned Mac super fans will also be intrigued by the return of recurring characters like Billy Colton and his family, Penny Parker and assassin Murdoc. Penny Parker was memorably portrayed by Teri Hatcher in the original but the new Parker was non-descript and a is a real waste of one of the originals most liked recurring characters – someone needs a slapping for that! Murdoc steals the show though a thoroughly nasty piece of work who oozes pure evil and provides a great counterfoil to Mac and his team, so it’s no surprise his character pops up frequently.

Personal favourite actress Amy Acker pops up, not her most memorable role, but it’s Acker damn it, enjoy! Also keep an eye out for Tracy Spirakidos who pops up a few times in the first half of the season, this role isn’t her best either, but her character is more about motivation and a plot device tool so she doesn’t have a lot to get her acting teeth into. Anyone who has seen the short lived sci-fi show ‘Defiance’ will know how awesome Spirakidos can be!

I’m not a big fan of TV show crossovers, as usually you need to be watching both shows concurrently to get the full benefit of them and sometimes it can leave you confused or peeved if you’re not a fan of the other show. So, I gulped hard when Dalton mentions he knows a guy in Hawaii’s 5-O division when passing on some info regarding a copycat murderer to them. The crossover doesn’t happen till near the end of the season and thankfully it is an adventure of the week episode so it’s basically MacGyver in Hawaii with guest appearances from some of the Hawaii five-O cast in a self-contained episode.

If you’re looking for something comedic with plenty of action and adventure that’s easy to watch then look no further. Just don’t expect Oscar worth acting or deep intensive storytelling – this is just fun!

7/10

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