MacGyver 2.0

I felt a stir of excitement when I saw the new MacGyver advertised on a poster in a bus shelter the other day. Like anything that catches your attention, I saw it again…and again…and again, until I googled to find out when it was on. Thursday night. Good.

Thursday night came. First impressions: MacGyver (played by Lucas Till) is veritably a young buck. Like maybe early-twenties? Almost positively baby-faced. He still has his almost iconic leather jacket and some evidence of a mullet, but he doesn’t present as the hardened maverick that Richard Dean Anderson gave us.

What’s more, he now works as part of a team. I always remembered the original MacGyver as a bit of a solitary character – preferring his own company to cooperative group work.  But the new Mac is almost always accompanied by Jack Dalton – a more intermittent character in the original series – but now Mac’s regular sidekick. There’s also Riley Davis – a gifted and improbably attractive computer hacker who has been given parole on conditions that allow her to pitch in at the Phoenix Foundation. And Patricia Thornton – the tough but caring Director of the Phoenix Foundation – a female reincarnation of Pete Thornton from the original series.

In the first episode, ‘The Rising’, Mac and the team are sent off to some foreign locale to recover a lethal bioweapon. The weapon is recovered but Mac’s girlfriend Nikki (Girlfriend? MacGyver?) is shot and supposedly dead. Later, it turns out Nikki is not only alive, but has sold the bioweapon into the hands of the enemy…

MacGyver’s ever ready resourcefulness is a steady drawcard throughout the episode and it’s fun to watch. As in the original show, whenever he’s about to employ his scientific knowhow, he narrates the audience through the process. The screen also divides up into neat little sections and labels each component of his assuredly game-changing scheme.

The action scenes are also well put together although they do seem to be shot at a slightly higher camera speed than the rest of the episode which I a little disorienting. The dialogue is a little less convincing and can sometimes be a little corny. But I guess most viewing are here for the action.

To sum up, this is not old-time MacGyver. It’s a new take, seems a bit more lightweight, and constant comparisons with the old will leave you disappointed. But if you take it at face value, you can go along for the ride and still enjoy it.

See Lucas Till in action as Angus MacGyver here.


If My Dog Were President…

If my dog were President…

He would require mandatory naps between 10am and 5pm.

He would require his chief of staff to put a blanket in every room in the Oval Office.

He would tax the American people in the form of socks.

He would conduct press conferences from under the bed.

He would growl at journalists and refuse to let his aides get the brown gunk out of his eye.

If my dog were President he would improve trade relations with Cuba and import twice as many cigars. Dogs everywhere would be required to learn fingerpicking on guitar.

If my dog were President he would bark at new visitors to the White House and sometimes need to be put in time out.

If my dog were president he would not build a wall on the Mexican border because he would know that cats would jump over the wall anyway.

He would dress up in a little green commander-in-chief jacket and lie on the tarmac at the airport to welcome the troops back from Iraq.

He would lie on his back and wriggle around to scratch it during decisive diplomatic meetings. He would also spend some of these meetings sleeping next to diplomats, enjoying their body warmth.

He would procure professional dog services in Washington to come in and shampoo him and clip his claws. This, too, would sometimes happen during diplomatic meetings.

He would set up kibble dispensing stations throughout the White House, and wander under the table during state banquets to sniff for food.

He would have a cat flap installed in the Oval Office and periodically nip outside to mark the grounds.

He would dictate press releases and make executive orders from on top of the couch, looking out over the White House grounds.

Meetings with staff would pause when a cat entered the room to allow the President to perform sniffing rituals.

The President would often need to be reminded about protocol regarding other people’s food. And other dogs’ food. And other cats’ good.

As President my dog would decline to drink or smoke.

As President my dog would not decline an offer of sausages or cheese at any conceivable time.

He would reform the electoral college voting system to swing heavily in favour of states with blankets.

He would microchip all members of his cabinet and pass legislation to restrict cats’ rights, beginning with cat curfews. Gaudy cat scarves to scare away native birds would be mandatory.

If my dog were President he would authorize covert missions to cat-heavy populaces where cats would be interrogated firmly but with fair treatment.

If my dog were President he would require poetry readings during the half time at the Super Bowl – favouring the romantic poets.

He would organize street mime conventions for dogs and appoint cats as judges.

He would put owls out in charge of government administration and authorize rats to reform the postal system.

Pet food company executives would be required to retrain as florists.

Cronyism would be in.