Can MacGyver put together a decent remake

first_imgIt can’t be easy remaking a show like MacGyver. The original 1985 series, starring Richard Dean Anderson, has so thoroughly wormed its way into our culture that even people who never saw an episode know who Macgyver is. It was Patty and Selma’s favorite show on The Simpsons. Saturday Night Live was able to turn a parody of the show into a successful recurring sketch with its own (actually very funny) movie in 2010. That’s 18 years after MacGyver went off the air.So CBS had their work cut out for them when it came to adapting this iconic series for 2016. I get that. It would have been near impossible for this show to get everything right. And yet. Even tempering expectations as much as humanly possible, the pilot episode of MacGyver is a bland, one-note mess of a show that is way too impressed with itself.Remember everything the Lethal Weapon TV series got right? It’s almost like the producers of MacGyver watched that show ahead of time and decided to do the exact opposite. The cast has no chemistry together; the action is poorly shot, the effects look like garbage and the entire show feels like it’s trying too hard.Lucas Till as Angus MacGyver. (Photo via CBS)Some of that rests on the actor cast to play the new MacGyver, Lucas Till. He is really trying to project the easy confidence the character is known for, but nothing about his performance is easy. He comes off like the lead in your high school’s spring musical. He’s not believable as the guy who will save the day by his wits alone. He is the Gobot to Richard Dean Anderson’s Transformer.George Eads, as Mac’s partner Jack Dalton, is the only one who seems to be having any fun with the material. He’s funny, charismatic and easy-going. He should have been MacGyver. Sure, he’s a little old for the part at this point, but he has more charm than the rest of the cast put together. I’d actually believe he could science his way out of impossible situations.The action scenes aren’t even fun. As you can imagine, that’s a huge problem for an action TV show. MacGyver’s trademark hand-to-hand combat survives mostly intact, but everything else looks terrible. Even the episode’s climactic explosion looks like a cheap effect. And the shaky cam, oh God, the shaky cam. When Mac begins chasing down the man who stole a canister containing a deadly bio-weapon, the hand-held camera shakes so much it becomes a distraction. Even when they catch the guy and interrogate him, the camera can’t hold still. Did they really have that little confidence in this scene?I haven’t even gotten to the show’s biggest problem. It’s very impressed with itself at all times and desperately wants you to feel the same way. Ever heard of the storytelling rule “show, don’t tell?” This show hasn’t. Every gadget, every solution Mac comes up with is given a lengthy explanation with the name of every item he uses flashing across the screen plus some dialog about how much Mac just loves him some DIY. In case you hadn’t caught on to the basic premise of the show yet. Even the original, with its over-the-top narration and expository dialog, knew when to shut up and let MacGyver’s actions speak for themselves. This show treats its audience like they’re stupid and need absolutely everything spelled out for them.Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till) and Jack Dalton (George Eads) prepare an improvised smoke bomb. (Photo via CBS)It’s a real shame because there are moments that hint towards there being someone on the production staff that knew what the show should be. The title sequence is a fun, cheesy tribute to the original. There are a couple of decent jokes about wire-cutting. There’s a scene where Jack Dalton flies a helicopter and “Fortunate Son” plays. Yeah, it’s an overdone cliche at this point, but at least someone on the production crew was trying to inject a little bit of fun into this otherwise joyless, cynical remake.Maybe the fact that a high-profile remake premiered on a Friday night should have tipped us off as to the quality of this show. Even with those lowered expectations, it’s surprising how little entertainment this new version was able to provide. At least its timeslot makes it that much easier to avoid.last_img read more