MacGyver Recap

CBS' MacGyver: Is the New Mac Loaded With Enough Cool Features?

MacGyver is back, still packing his trusty Swiss Army knife and so many paper clips. Will the CBS reboot be able to hack it in 2016?

The freshman drama makes clear quite early on that Lucas Till’s Angus “Mac” MacGyver, as an operative for the Division of External Services, is a bit more physical than Richard Dean Anderson’s original mulleted problem-solver, able to handle himself decently in close0quarters combat, nor thinking twice before holding into an airborne jet’s landing gear for dear life. At the close of the first op we see, Mac “loses” his field analyst girlfriend Nikki (Revolution‘s Tracy Spiridakos) to a negotiation-gone-bad, though the eventual twist is one we’ve seen often before. (Heck, even her first words to Mac, while “held” at gunpoint, were, “I’m sorry.”)

Three months later, Mac (who lives with his oblivious best bud Bozer, played by Rush Hour‘s Justin Hires) is called back into action, with former CIA agent Jack Dalton (CSI‘s Goerge Eads), DXS Director Patricia Thornton (House of Cards‘ Sandrine Holt) and convicted hacker-turned-field analyst Riley Davis (Vampire Diaries‘ Tristin Mays), to intercept the bioweapon they lost custody of in the opening op. Soon enough, Mac lays eyes on a very alive Nikki, and ultimately corners her inside the aforementioned jet. That leads into the final action sequence, where Mac drops from a helicopter into the baddie’s transport truck, to fend off one goon and then extract the bioweapon from the bomb it is attached to — before “paragliding” up and away to safety, the deadly virus intact.

In the coda, Thornton reveals that DXS is being disbanded and reconstituted under a different name — and Mac chooses “Phoenix,” after the mythological bird featured on a pendant he has from an apparently very interesting Cairo op. Nikki, meanwhile, escapes her prison transport, using the bobby pin trick her beau once taught her. Oops.

Of course, many a MacGyver episode is judged by its clever “hacks.” Such as:
√        Fingerprint cloning (what is this, Charlie’s Angels circa 1976?)
√√√  Jamming comms with a handmade electromagnet
√        Fooling a biometric scanner using plaster dust (huh?)
√√     Deflecting bullets with 12-gauge steel cocktail tray
√        Frisbee-ing said cocktail tray to KO a goon across the room
√√√  Rigging unmanned boat to crash into baddies
√        Freeing Riley from her prison cuffs
√√√  Setting off fire alarm with tin foil
√        Conspicuously dropping a fire escape on Vinnie Jones
√        Causing landing gear malfunction
√√√  Turning truck’s canvas top into parachute (but in 30 seconds??)

What did you think of CBS’ Mac reboot?

 

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129 Comments
  1. Christian says:

    This show was godawful. Over and out by Dec!

  2. CMG says:

    Awful. Absolutely horrible. Even the theme, in which they included about 4 seconds of the original series’ theme before switching to a totally different, horrible theme song, seemed like it was a giant “screw you” to fans of the original.

  3. DJ says:

    Never expected a total remake of the original. Nice to see a show where someone works with their hands instead for their mouth or cell phone. It was fine. Give it a chance. They had to reintroduce the whole concept.

  4. kmayne says:

    pale comparison to the original

  5. herman1959 says:

    Grade C. I have fond memories of the original and wanted to like this one too, but it was just TOO MUCH! They managed to rip off Arrow, The Blacklist, and Sherlock in the first 12 minutes, then they managed to squeeze 2 hours of action into 1. Plus, the dead girlfriend who turned out not to have been dead storyline was tired. Maybe a visit from the original Mac could help..

    • Cate says:

      He doesn’t want to touch the reboot with a ten foot pole, from what I’ve read

    • Lambsilencer says:

      When I heard that Tracy Spiridakos’ charachter’s name was Nikki Carpenter, it was obvious that she would turn out to be a foe, or at least a very ambivalent character, much like the character played by Elyssa Davalos was in the original series. Too bad, I would have liked Tracy much more in the regular role as the analyst of the team.

      • sporting4231 says:

        The roles of a “team” and an “analyst” should never be in a show called MacGyver.

        • Lambsilencer says:

          Agreed. The concept of a team behind MacGyver is completely different from the original show, and it doesn’t really fit the general idea of the character. But if there shall be an analyst, I would have much preferred Tracy.

  6. Kaye says:

    I thought it was pretty good. The original was my favorite show as a child so it had a lot to live up to. It wasn’t great. But it was good. If it was just a brand new show/concept I think people wouldn’t be so hard on it.

  7. KLS says:

    Even not comparing it to the orginal, it was awful. Didn’t make it to the first break (<10 minutes). It was just stupid, the voiceover, the text on the screen, the lame jokes. Ugh!

    • Dr. M says:

      Don’t worry, you could have guessed everything that happened after that. We did.

      AWFUL show. The original was intelligent, this was an insult to intelligence.

    • ameraleigh says:

      I loved the original series and was a little iffy about watching this ‘remake’ and I was right, it was terrible, the only decent acting performance was by George Eads. Lucas Till is far too young to play Macgyver, he lacked maturity and experience. The voiceover and text were extremely annoying, I know that they want to bring in and appeal to a new generation but they should have been able to do that without making it look like an instructional video.
      Also in this day and age it’s just not ‘believable’ to use all the tricks and hacks that Macgyver used in the original.

  8. Leamon R says:

    Who’s Nikki?where do I know her from? Good first episode. We’ll see how they go

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Revolution‘s Tracy Spiridakos (as denoted in the text above)

      • Ian Fae says:

        Another failed series for this lady though, just from this one episode, if this lasts half a season it’ll be doing well. She’s going to get a complex.

    • Gina McLendon says:

      Nikki Carpenter was in the original series.. Former foil and love interest of Mac’s.. . wound up working for the Phoenix Foundaion later on

  9. Sheila says:

    Thought the voiceover was overdone. And George Eads really seems to be playing Nick from CSI. But I’ll give it another week or so. Pilots are often weird.

  10. A. D. says:

    It was better than I thought.

  11. Kevin K says:

    I give the new MacGyver a C. Grew up watching the original starring Richard Dean Anderson but the reboot is a completely failure. Planning to tune in for next week’s episode that features Amy Acker in a guest starring role and after that I’m giving up for good. No complaining

  12. Jen Ross says:

    lucas till is way too young for the role. i think george eads should be the lead. he was great

    • Mike C says:

      McGyver in nappies no way….. If they had reversed the roles Dalton was McGyver and Mac was Dalton would have been sooooo much better. This show had so much potential but has been totally ruined. Prediction; show will be lucky to finish the first season….

    • Bonnie W says:

      That’s my complaint. Actor is too young!!! Wanted to like the show but was distracted by the poor casting.

  13. Hannah says:

    They cancelled Limitless for this crap. Fail.

    • Temperance says:

      I have no idea why people don’t understand that they cancel shows because they don’t make MONEY. They replace them with shows that often aren’t even greenlit until well after the slot was freed up. So no, this bad show had nothing to do with the previous bad show.

      • Sue says:

        In this case you are wrong. Limitless was cancelled very late, and had decent ratings–certainly good enough to warrant renewal. People were shocked that it was cancelled. And it was cancelled in favor of a Macgyver pilot that was so bad they replaced virtually everyone except the two leads. Cast, writers, everyone. They went back to the drawing board with nothing but a name people would recognize, and cancelled a fun, different show with an established audience in order to do so.

      • Mika says:

        Not totally true. Some of the decision is based on how strong the new pilots they believe they have versus what is currently on the schedule.

  14. A bit too glitzy. The action adventure and violence need to be toned down a bit. I liked but didn’t love the series premier. To keep me they need to tell more stories and not rely on kabooms & gun fights and stunts. Liked George Eads as Jack Dalton; different from the original but he’s got potential. The bad arse techie woman is too “done”. Seems each procedural of this type has a “wash, rinse, repeat” woman. Mac himself needs to be a little more humble, down to earth. Cocky, knows he’s charming, doesn’t endure me to him.

  15. dan says:

    The bomb in the truck looked exactly like one from the original series.

  16. Dave says:

    Mac is now a teen twink? Oookkkkay.

  17. Too cute by half
    The new macgyver is not mature enough, he doesn’t have enough to gravitas for the role.
    End of story!!!!!!!

    • John NYC says:

      Richard Dean Anderson with the long hair wasn’t exactly Nixon either. Lol

      • Gina McLendon says:

        LOL… good point!

        • sporting4231 says:

          But he was humble and self-deprecating. A real down-home, down-to-earth type. This kid was a cocky douche.

          • Gina McLendon says:

            The original Mac was actually quite cocky in the first episode. I suggest you revisit that episode to prove my point. Character development occurs over time.. give him a chance.

      • Andrea says:

        True, but Richard Dean Anderson was around 35 when he was doing MacGyver. I haven’t seen the anything but clips for the new series, but Lucas till’s Mac is very young. Original Mac’s grivitas also came from the fact that he was a humble guy who didn’t call attention to himself. NuMac seems like he knows he’s “too cool for school.” Plus, I echo the fact that Old Mac never had a team. Sometimes Penny or Jack would show up to help, but that was it. Nothing that I’m reading makes me want to view the episode on my DVR because it’s not McGyver. It’s a new action show that borrowed an iconic name but forgot the premise of the original. If anything, it sounds like a Scorpion spin-off.

        • John NYC says:

          So the current casting should should have been for someone in their late sixties given the the thirty years passing since the show was canceled. Bold choice.

          I’m willing to give this variation a chance.

  18. Nthsghost says:

    I went i with very low expectations and hopeing for a suprise. It was even worse than the liw expectations. I know however pilots can be over produced and poorly directed. Second and third episodes can be far better. So 1,2,3 stikes your out, lets hope it improves.

  19. Pete Lovegrove says:

    Absolutely awful?, take it off the air really soon!

  20. jrex says:

    Not bad, but not strong either. Rather predictable. I’ll give it a shot and hope it improves quickly. Just hope they dispense with Nikki becoming some recurring nemesis as implied by the ending.

  21. Rob aka Mediancat says:

    Aggressively mediocre. The acting wasn’t bad, but the script and effects were ludicrous, even for a show of this type. C-.

  22. btm says:

    Over its seven-year run, Richard Dean Anderson played MacGyver from the age of 35-42, and it really showed. Experience was important in order for that character to be believable to the audience. At a young looking 26, Till doesn’t look the part, and he’s not going to get seven years to grow into the role. You can’t miscast the lead and survive.
    .
    George Eads as Dalton, while very different from the excellent Bruce McGill, is good. I usually like Sandrine Holt as well. Their tech support is also good. The oblivious roommate is a hackneyed trope.
    .
    Structurally, I’m not a fan of turning a show depicting a lone wolf operative (whose only tie to the rest of the world was an avuncular mentor in Thornton) into another CBS team-based procedural. Unless the show looks a good bit different from its pilot, I’m not sanguine about its chances, even with the low ratings bar that is Friday night.
    .
    How did they manage to screw up the theme song so badly? You had one job to do, and that was just to remaster the original a bit.

  23. ThatBob says:

    Seriously, are they going to flash “paperclip” on screen every damn time? What is this, Sesame Street?

  24. Snoots57 says:

    Peee-ew! This stinks!

  25. No says:

    Kill it, kill it now…. It’s a piece of crap.

  26. Chad says:

    Horrible, horrible horrible.
    Complete failure. It wasn’t the same at all as the original.
    Way to fake, not enough of the original style of macgyver.
    Tired plot, stolen techniques and themes from other TV shows. , bad jokes,
    Complete waste of time.

  27. Bun Ho says:

    Are you KIDDING me! This was a VERY disappointing version of MacGuyver. Lucas Til is simply NOT a “young Richard Dean Anderson”. He lacks the personality and the quirks which made us love the character. The plot was recycled from a dozen other previous programs – not one new or innovative idea in the entire hour. And will someone explain to me WHY the Pete Thornton character is now an ASIAN Female?

  28. JosiahBartlet4President says:

    That actor looks twelve.

  29. Cfolliot says:

    I’m a huge fan of the original, and I was shocked to find that I didn’t hate this version. It has a LOT of room for improvement, but I’m on board to see where it goes, for now. The number one negative I have is the damn “shaky cam” action scenes! That has GOT to go!

  30. John NYC says:

    Fun ride. I’ll see how it goes.

    Pilots….

  31. PatriciaLee says:

    During a scene, the husband said, “That’s clever. I like that.” A show that makes the [husband] viewer feel smart, what’s not to like? I think it’s cute, and we are on board. At the end of the show, the husband nodded in approval of the new name, “Phoenix…The Grand Funk had an album by that name.” Now, to see if they get enough of the younger ‘demo’ to survive. The dust onto the palm print was genius, and I loved the fingerprint made on tape with charcoal blown on it, then folded over, allowing it to be put into the pocket. Genius! Such a positive way to include all viewers. We lip service diversity, but give no support to a show that is available to all? Listen to the commenters that say give it a chance, please.

  32. tahimar says:

    DOA. RIP

  33. Carol C says:

    I know the reviews have been bad, but I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected.

  34. Paloma says:

    They lost me very quickly when in his voiceover he introduced himself as “Angus McGuyver.” In the original series McGuyver hated his first name. Never used it and I think it was only mentioned once in the entire series run. Richard Dean Anderson would have said “my name is McGuyver.”

    Of course they changed up so much that it lost the original gestalt that made it what it was. McGuyver was a friendly loner. He went into almost every situation alone and with almost no gear and came up with clever hacks using local materials and his Swiss Army knife to get himself and whomever he had to rescue out alive. He rarely had a team. Jack Dalton showed up from time to time to get McGuyver into trouble.

    McGuyver is not James Bond or Jason Bourne, he was his own brand of hero.

    • Paloma says:

      My spelling if off… I meant to write MacGyver over and over.

    • Dana Elcar says:

      Exactly what I was going to write. Macgyver never killed anyone either. He always disabled them with as little violence as possible. New Macgyver killed men with a boat in the first 10 minutes. Im guessing Nikki will become the new Murdoch nemisis. Daltons was an old pilot friend not a team mate. Macgyver works alone not in a team. This isnt CSI, NCIS, 007, Mission Impossible or any cop show. I know they are trying to make the program their own but copying off other shows wont make it original like the old Macgyver was. Rant over.

    • Gina McLendon says:

      A modern man would not be embarrassed by the name Angus… it’s the 21st century now ;)

  35. John Kenny says:

    They chose a little boy for the role. Not working for me. Shallow dialog will get boring fast.

  36. Started out like a James Bond movie. Don’t go there, please. I loved the nod to the late Dana Elcar, who had a major role in making the original a success.

  37. Mike C says:

    McGyver in nappies no way….. If they had reversed the roles Dalton was McGyver and Mac was Dalton would have been sooooo much better. This show had so much potential but has been totally ruined. Prediction; show will be lucky to finish the first season….

    • Lilly77 says:

      I agree. George Eades would have been much more convincing in the McGyver role. Lucas Till is just too young to be believable.

  38. Tammy Farrell says:

    Why didn’t they play the real theme song?

  39. Mark says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode of the original, so I don’t have that to compare it too. Still, I found this rather dull and silly. I might be back for next week, but we’ll see how I’m feeling next Friday.

  40. QYW says:

    Have been a MacGyver fan since the show aired the first time. I thought this would be a disaster and was pleased that it is not. It’s different, so was Hawaii Five-O when it started and people moaned about that. I’m coming back next week–I never judge a show by it’s pilot…

  41. arianeb says:

    Between the plot and the soundtrack of the pilot, this show obviously wanted to be “Mission Impossible” (the big twist in the episode was right out of the first “MI” movie), but the rights were too expensive and already in use by Tom Cruise, so they bought much cheaper rights and made their Mission Impossible remake, and threw some MacGyver “tricks” in to try to convince people they are remaking the cheaper TV show instead

  42. Pat says:

    I know that some of the commenters did not care for this show, but I have to say for myself, that I really liked it. How I see it is the 21st century up-dated version of MacGyver with a small splash of James Bond.

  43. I was surprised about it and that hottie Jack Dalton, no Bruce McGill but a hottie never the less will tune in

  44. Chad says:

    I blame Michael Bay for this. What? He had nothing to do with it? Well, he made it cool, or at least acceptable, to take beloved 80s properties, add a few kilotons worth of explosions, and basically ruin them for the next generation. My 10-year-old son, who loves the original (RDA) MacGyver but complains of some episodes being slow/boring saw through this horrid reimagining of what was a campy, fun if somewhat dated and cheesy show.

  45. George H. says:

    The new MacGyver was trying too hard to be MacGyver that they overdid being MacGyver. Plus, the one-liners were so wooden as was the acting at times.

  46. Wesley says:

    I was a huge fan of the original Macgyver. Basically, I just tuned in this week so I’ll know what the hell is going on next week when Amy Acker guest stars. The first ep was okay, but the quality of this show will have to be much better to keep me around for week three.

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  48. Gabe says:

    If this could get cancelled ASAP, that’d be great. Holding The Amazing Race (that’s already filmed anyway!) is so stupid when it’s audience has been fairly loyal, especially for a move to Friday. I hope Macgyver tanks in that slot.

  49. Jamie says:

    My expectations were low, so I didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it either. I gave it a C.
    Personally, I don’t like H5O, but from what I’ve seen of that show, I think this pairs well with it. And there’s not much competition at 8, so I’m betting it will do ok. I doubt I’ll be back, though.

  50. Kathy Bergeron says:

    Was never a big fan of the original, but rather liked this. My husband liked the RDA version which is why we tuned into the reboot. We will keep watching for a while, though it is going to hinge on the lead’s ability to hold my interest. It does stretch credulity though!