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.