MacGyver: Metal Saw – Action Packed Fluff (Review)

Lucas Till as Angus MacGyver

In this iteration of MacGyver, Angus is less of a peacenik and more prone to severely damaging his adversaries. But for all the gunfights, explosions and clever manufacturing the body count is, overall, pretty low. In essence  this reboot is a combination of action packed plot filled out with more than a little fluff.

It is, however, a very enjoyable way to spend an hour.   (Less if one takes out the commercials.)  Like  FOX network’s Lethal Weapon, MacGyver is a revisit  to an ’80s favorite.  If they can just get rid of the annoyingly intrusive screen titles, that explain what each ingredient is when Mac makes something, this will be a bit of competition for the other network.

In many ways this new spy series feels a little closer to The A Team. Another popular ’80s action series that featured bullets flying at absurd rates and no “kills” whatsoever. No bodycount was expected for the fluffy action/adventure series and it seems that MacGyver 2016 may be using that template.

(Although to be fair, if memory serves, the original MacGyver had an almost non-existant bodycount as well.)

However, far from being snarky about this new version; these  really are not complaints. Rather, they are observations. Except for those oh so annoying screen titles. (Are these for the millennials who watch? Do they need written confirmation of what Mac is saying in the voiceover? Answers in the comment section below, or if over a certain age, on a postcard please.)

In “Metal Saw” Jack’s old flame has been captured in South America by a crime lord.  The team go down to extract the agent, Sarah Adler (Acker) and her evidence against the crime lord.  Cue some manufactured solutions by Mac and a bit of gunplay.

Riley, who has broken parole yet again, is almost caught by the bad guys but is saved by big boss Patricia Thornton who arrives in the nick of time. By the end of the episode the Phoenix group have caught the bad guy, gotten all the evidence and saved Sarah Adler.

MacGyver has also found out that Nikki is apparently not “Nikki” at all. He finds a burner phone and a passport hidden behind the plug socket in her apartment. The name on the document is Alice Hunter.

MacGyver is enjoyable if not a bit simplistic however  it  does lack the pretentious nature of Scorpion as well as a big name co-star to pad out the cast.  It does offer up some familiar faces as guest stars though.

Thus far the show has featured Vinnie Jones as Nikki’s nasty accomplice in episode one and the beautiful and talented Amy Acker in episode one.   Not too bad, as guest stars go.

The show also features more than its fair share of strong female characters.  Riley, Patricia Thornton and the elusive Nikki are all powerful figures that do not need to be coddled or assisted. Even Sarah Adler, although she is a prisoner, gets the drop on MacGyver when he enters her cell.

MacGyver has managed to be fairly international so far. The start of “Metal Saw” took place in North Korea and ended in a very tiny DMZ stand off. Later the action moved down to South America.

This series is pretty close to mindless escapism.  A reboot of a popular ’80s action/adventure series that was wildly popular.  If they can just lose those screen titles (Yes we are aware we have mentioned this three times,   but it really is that annoying.) MacGyver might just be a keeper.

The show airs Fridays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest starring  Amy Acker as Sarah Adler.

MacGyver For Kids? CBS Premiere a Bit Simplistic (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

In terms of ratings the new MacGyver reboot was a smash hit. Viewing the season one premiere, however, was a bit of a mixed bag. This was a show that was either going to be a massive hit or face plant early on.

Overall, after watching the pilot, it feels a bit like MacGyver for kids. A tad simplistic with its onscreen prompts reminding the audience about the ingredients our hero is using in this CBS re-imagining.

The original show, also created by Lee David Zlotoff, featured a MacGyver who did not look quite so young as the new protagonist.  Not to say that Till is a bad choice though.  Co-creator Peter M. Lenkov seems to have shaken the show’s format up a bit by losing the narrative homilies. 

MacGyver “2.0” does seem to be sticking with the “middle of a mission” theme from the original and this works nicely.  The pilot episode, “The Rising” starts with Angus in a tuxedo getting ready to steal something from a party.

His girlfriend and colleague Nikki is on comms as is Jack, MacGyver’s backup and escape driver.  The theft shows Angus’ ingenuity at solving problems twice. Once by getting a required thumbprint and again by using plaster dust to trick a five-finger lock into opening.

While these are fun and clever, they are  nothing that has not been seen before. (Even the 2002 film Scooby-Doo showed Daphne doing the “plaster dust” trick with face powder.) It is here is where the series infers that the audience is comprised of children who might have problems following along.

Each item used by MacGyver points out, ever so helpfully, what they are. Subtitles with plus signs indicate the ingredients in the device that Angus creates.  A tad intrusive and not altogether necessary. It feels a little like “Action Adventure for Dummies.”

Still despite this,  the episode moves along at a cracking pace. Not giving the viewer too much time to overthink the plot or the storyline.  This is, despite the trappings of clever creations to bypass almost any problem, a pretty simplistic series.

This case involved a “30,000” year old virus that will kill millions.  Nikki, who is shot presumed dead, turns out to be a greedy wench who throws over MacGyver for a cool $5 million.

She is aided by Vinnie Jones  who can surely just phone these evil henchmen performances in by now. Jones can do these villainous roles in his sleep and has specialized in played baddies for years. Another example of the simplicity of the pilot.

Till is a convincing MacGyver, even if he does, from certain angles, look about 12.  Eads fluctuates between being annoying and funny as Dalton and Holt makes a good boss-lady.

Mays may also look a bit young but she does bring a certain amount of believability to her role of computer hacker extraordinaire. It appears that Spiridakos will return as Nikki later on. She may be Angus’ achilles heel which could  make her the  perfect nemesis.

Overall, the first episode was action packed and entertaining, even with the “idiot cards” telling the audience what each item was.  Seriously chaps, a paperclip, even one straightened out, still looks like a paperclip.

MacGyver was fun to watch, although it did tend to hop about plot wise.  Till’s Angus is not quite so “nonviolent” as Richard Dean Anderson’s spy was in the ’80s but he works pretty well regardless of this small change.

The series airs Fridays on CBS. Stop by and check it out.  If you have watched it, what do you think. Is Lucas Till  as good as Anderson was?  Answers on a postcard please, or in the comment section below.

Cast:

Guest starring  Vinnie Jones  as  John Kendrick 

The Flash: Mark Hamill to Reprise Role on CW Reboot

The Flash: Mark Hamill to Reprise Role on CW Reboot

It has been a pretty exciting season thus far for young Barry Allen, aka The Flash, aka, Grant Gustin on CW with this comic book reboot, a crossover with Arrow and now news that Mark Hamill is to reprise his role on the show will no doubt make fans of the 1990’s version of the speedy superhero very happy. Back when Allen’s pappy, Henry Allen, aka John Wesley Shipp was much younger, around 20 years younger, Shipp was The Flash, aka Barry Allen in the original CBS series. Along with Shipp’s version of the fast hero, Mark Hamill played his nemesis the Trickster in the series that only lasted one season.