By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
How can anyone decide to replace MacGyver, a television series and character that made Richard Dean Anderson famous? I loved the original series because his resourcefulness taught me more than a thing or two in how to make use of the most common items (to keep some of my old tech alive). Even when it no longer operates, I will take it apart and keep the screws, cogs and wheels to use elsewhere. The first three episodes certainly pays homage to moments I still recall from the original and captures the spirit — the action and voice-over — but to keep that enthusiasm week after week is tough. I’m watching, but I’m not always paying attention to every detail.
Lucas Till is the perfect choice to take on the mantle and he has that charm I recall from the original. But he does not hold a candle to Anderson and that nostalgia — to which may be the problem of this reboot. Instead of being new and original, it’s banking on the familiar. As with most shows developed these days, it’s also depending on sex appeal to get viewers attention.
While I am still unsure about the recasting of Jack Dalton and Pete Thornton, both will eventually grow on me. Jack (George Eads) has Mac’s back, and Patricia (Sandrine Holt) coordinates the missions. The new Dalton feels more like a character who should belong in CW’s Arrow; he could be Speedy or even a prodigy of Oliver Queen. They behave somewhat similar. From the original series, Dana Elcar defined everything I loved as a mentor and confident of Mac’s. He is the type of uncle I wish I had. In this new series, the character has been gender-swapped. I’m okay with that idea; the new Thornton is nothing like the former and as for how well I can take to her presence in the series will require much more episodes before I can really decide. She has to reorganise the organization after one of their own turned on them. The first episode sets up how the rest of the series will go and it has me hooked. I prefer seasons with a spanning story arc than one-offs.
With this new iteration, the story is more about boys having fun. The story is updated for the modern generation, and Mac has access to today’s technology to mess with to create new gadgets out of thin air to get himself out of hairy situations. I look forward to seeing what he can do with a smartphone. They can be repurposed to be security cameras and motion sensors. When considering he has to deal with microchips more than ball bearing wheels, does he have time to solder a new toy together? No. Today’s appliances work differently. While this troubleshooter has access to recent innovations to get out of danger, I’m sure the use of duct tape and candle wax is not enough to fix a leak.
I will continue watching as long in hopes the series writers will one day consult with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters fame for new ideas to jury rig crazy inventions to save the day. I do not need to see rehashed ideas from the classic series repeated over again. The problem with reboots is with how often the producers and writers just want to rehash what’s tried and true. When compared to another program that is being worked on, I feel more enthusiastic about the concept behind the new Magnum P.I. being developed. This detective’s daughter is coming back to Hawaii to resume the family business! This series is a continuation, so why can’t we have that instead? Macguyver settled down when he realized he had a son. Although the thought of Sean “Sam” Angus Malloy taking up the mantle may not work, I think a pilot movie would have been at least amusing to see where he is now. Anderson is enjoying the retired life, and maybe one day, he might make a cameo to show that he indeed approves of this reboot or not.