TV Review: MacGyver Series Premiere



The mullet is back. Kinda. Out with the old and in with the new, Lucas Till takes over the reigns as MacGyver from Richard Dean Anderson (but you aren’t supposed to remember him), and he doesn’t necessarily fit the bill as an action star. Don’t get me wrong, Till is a solid actor who did a good job as Havoc in the recent X-Men movies, but he doesn’t cut it as a solo lead action guy. While his blond slicked back modern mullet does bear some resemblance to the original MacGyver, Till’s youthful look really hinders the character. I kept thinking of him as a teenager attempting to do a grown man’s job.

The pilot starts out with MacGyver in the midst of a mission in Italy. His crew is quickly introduced. In the blink of an eye he’s using a steel plate to fend of enemies. Things don’t go very well for MacGyver as he’s shot along with his crew member Nicole and they both fall off the cliff into the water. Of course he survives. The plot is set-up. MacGyver is attempting to avenge the loss of his crew member and love interest Nicole. So the search for the culprit is on. Meanwhile, he’s looking for a virus sample that is in danger of being in the wrong hands. That’s pretty much it. There is a twist reveal towards the end of the episode that is not at all surprising.

If you weren’t well-versed in your spy techniques, don’t worry, MacGyver is here to help. He takes you step-by-step through EVERYTHING. Pointing out things such as soot, adhesive, etc. It’s like a guide to “how to watch a spy TV show for dummies.” Part of it is kinda neat that they don’t have you just assume you know all the spy gadgets and how they work. The other part of it is the expectation that the viewer is a complete idiot by having big bold letters come across the screen to highlight items, such as plaster dust.

Once MacGyver started talking about our skin containing salts and oils, I was already losing myself in this overbearing spy gibberish. It’s as if this dude can’t live his life without explaining how to use mundane objects to get out of a situation. It’s nearly a quarter of a century since the last episode of the original series aired, but does MacGyver still fit into today’s society? Is a slick and resourceful secret agent enough to get people to tune in? Especially after the likes of dozens more impressive action guys such as Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, or (insert any spy/secret agent) have done more impressive stunts.

The special effects are choppy. The difference between film explosions versus ones on a show like this are night and day. The punches and kicks look unnecessarily sped up, as if you pressed fast forward on your remote. At one point, MacGyver and his crew catch the bad guy (Vinnie Jones) and mildly interrogate him. The line I enjoyed the most out of that was when good guy Jack Dolton (George Eads) asks him, “Why guys like you are trying to convince guys like me that you’re honest?” For once someone is stating the obvious to the viewer.

After watching this show, I think I’m ready to be a scientist. Even though Till’s constant over-narration voice-over does become annoying, I may give it another shot. It barely held my interest but the events of the pilot weren’t compelling enough to suck me into it for the long run. It’s just mediocre in every sense. Nothing fresh or compelling. Is it bad? No really, it’s watchable. If it starts to tank, at least The Exorcist is on right after Mcgyver on Friday nights!

RATING: 4.5/10

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Jim Alexander is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC). He has been a staff writer at since 2014. He helped develop and host the “Correct Opinion Podcast.” Jim has written for and contributed to the Australian movie site He is the United States Film and Entertainment Reporter for BBC’s 5 Live radio show. In addition to his interest in film, he also hosts the “Bachelor Universe” blog and podcast, centered on the ABC show The Bachelor. Jim graduated with a MA in Journalism from DePaul University. He is a die-hard Chicago Bulls and Bears fan. Born in Chicago, but raised in Poland, he grew up playing soccer and remains an avid fan of the sport. He is passionate about film and strives to incorporate new and innovative ways to present film criticism. He currently resides in a suburb outside of Chicago, IL.