Tuesday

TV Review: Some thoughts on the new MacGyver

I watched the first episode of the new MacGyver TV show. I was a fan of the original series starring the fabulous Richard Dean Anderson. I was not a fan of this new show. For a few reasons.

1. If I was going to send someone to be a spy and hide in plain sight in the 21st Century, I wouldn't have them wear a haircut from the 80s. You can't be a spy if you stand out like a sore thumb. As an un-stylish guy with a meh haircut, all I can say is, get a new barber.

2. He's arrogant as hell and it's annoying and grating. To write this I was looking at the wikipedia page for MacGyver and I came across this quotation: "According to Rich, every auditioning actor "hulked" his way through his audition. When Anderson eventually auditioned for the role, Winkler and Rich felt that he gave the character a human touch which the other actors could not." I think this is important. One of the things that the character and the actor Richard Dean Anderson so good is that he came off like an ordinary guy. He didn't act like he was the smartest, most talented person in the room, and throw his weight around constantly.This new MacGyver comes off as five times as arrogant and half as smart.

3. It's funny that a show where the premise is that he doesn't use a gun and uses science and gadgets to solve problems is kinda dumb. There's so little science and so little ingenuity.

4. Even stranger than that, the computer hacker character manages to do that magic thing that people on TV with computer access do which is that with a few simple keystrokes, they can do literally anything. In this case, in a matter of seconds she manages to locate a person. It's like a magic ball and means that no one TV has to investigate anything, they just banter and then jump to an action scene.

5. Does MacGyver need to have a roommate who's clueless about what he really does for a living? Whose stupid idea was this?

6. Exactly what does their boss do? She's introduced as this badass spy but ultimately does...essentially nothing. MacGyver and Dalton and the hacker make demands and she frowns and then says, okay. That's about it.

7. I do like actor Sandrine Holt, who I remember from Once a Thief and other things, but come on, you have to give her something to do and a character to play.

8. There's some sort of government conspiracy? I guess. The government wants the weapon for some reason and she's now part of some conspiracy to help or not or...I mean look, the US government is not going to turn out to be evil in this. I have no idea where this is going but honestly it doesn't seem to make much sense.

9. The character picks the handcuffs lock and then vanishes from the back of the car. Like magic. Really? We're making a show about science but there's also magic? Give me a freaking break

10. The episode ends with him and his teammates and their boss hanging out in his house drinking beer? It felt like a scene that gets added in because you need to fill a couple minutes. There is literally nothing in that scene that defines any of those characters and nothing vital to the plot.

11. Because someone will yell about #8, yes I know that MacGyver gets to name the new front organization for the secret government organization and he calls it The Phoenix Foundation, which is where Mac worked in the 80s show. But the writer could have just had the group called the Phoenix Foundation from the beginning. There was no reason for the scene.

12. I like George Eads. I really only know him as one of the supporting characters on CSI, who was there and honestly never gave him much thought. I do like him here. Maybe it's because I dislike all the other actors. I'm sure that's partly it, but he manages to take an underwritten character and add something to it (like a good actor does) and makes him interesting and entertaining. Jack Dalton on the original show was played by the great character actor Bruce McGill and I think Eads stands alongside McGill as an entertaining, fabulous character and a great character turn.

13. Honestly I think the show would have been better with Eads as MacGyver. He's the only character on this show who seems to possess a sense of humor. Because our lead characters and heroes should never smile or laugh, they must always be serious because they do serious work. Eads would have a good MacGyver. He might have been able to save this horrible script. Maybe.

14. I don't understand why shows hire Vinnie Jones to play a bland villain. It's a waste of an actor. Though they wasted every other actor on the show, so why not!

15. This was the second pilot of MacGyver. This cast made a previous pilot which the network didn't like so they wrote and filmed this pilot. Which means that while I watch this show and see poor writing and a lot of questionable choices, this was judged to be superior to the first pilot. I'm not sure if that means the first one was truly unwatchable, or if I would like it immensely more than this and I'm just out of step with what TV executives and viewers like.

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