There are a select few titles from the 1980’s that fall under what might be classified as “guilty pleasures”. They’re a bit campy, but with enough charm to provide an entertaining distraction from the outside world. For no other show is this more true than Macgyver. Starring Richard Dean Anderson as a charismatic leading man able to paperclip his way out of anything, this show offered seven seasons of creative yet bizarre entertainment.
In their infinite wisdom, CBS has attempted to remake the series with a modern day setting. However, like most remakes of 80’s nostalgia, this show never stood a chance. With the rise in popularity of TV crime dramas, which started in party due to the very show it’s trying to emulate, the show struggles to stand out as anything out of the ordinary.
This new version sees the role of the man armed with a Swiss army knife taken over by Lucas Till (X-Men: Apocalypse). In the opening scene, we find our hero attempting to retrieve a weapon from a dangerous villain. While it appears he successfully accomplished his mission, he is startled at his rendezvous point by an armed henchman (played by Vinnie Jones). Despite cooperating, the henchman kills his girlfriend, and leaves Macgyver for dead.
This is where the show runs into its first stumbling block. Immediately it is trying to make the audience care for Macgyver through visual storytelling that lacks any real emotional weight. The audience does not know enough about either Macgyver, his girlfriend, or their relationship to truly care about the ramifications of what is unfolding on screen. It lacks the sensation of any real consequence, which undermines its placement in the show.
From this point on, the show turns into a checklist of cliched action tropes. Without spoiling exactly what happens, suffice it to say, the show struggles to find a creative way to establish its concept. That isn’t to say it’s not entertaining. Till and his cast mates perform admirably with their characters, and the writing has moments of ingenuity. However, it struggles to stand out as anything creative or worthwhile. It seems more like an attempt to copy C.S.I., N.C.I.S., or any number of crime procedurals that have aired in the last decade, rather than a fresh idea.
The biggest shame of all is that they took a creative character piece and turned it into a paint-by-numbers ensemble drama without any charm or personality. While it does a respectable job entertaining its audience, it is unlikely to emerge as anything memorable.