During the mid-1980’s to early-1990’s, few television shows made as much of an impact on pop culture as MacGyver did. Even if you never watched the show, you’ve heard other people use the name, perhaps to describe using a credit card to open a locked door. The title character of the program, Angus MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) was famous for creating makeshift tools out of ordinary objects to escape or avoid perilous situations. MacGyver became such a well-known name that the Oxford Dictionary lists it as a verb, meaning to “Make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand.” The top definition for the term on Urban Dictionary is “someone who can jump-start a truck with a cactus.” If you still don’t understand “MacGyvering” or want to see it in action, then you’re in luck. After nearly two and a half decades since it left the air, MacGyver is getting a reboot series, premiering this Friday on CBS.
Once again co-produced by famed television actor Henry Winkler, the program will follow the exploits of a new iteration of Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till), an agent for a secret U.S. government agency. “Mac” uses his exceptional problem-solving skills and intellect to save American lives. The show features a wide array of colorful characters. Tristin Mays portrays Riley Davis, “a highly unpredictable computer hacker with a chip on her shoulder,” according to Variety. Patricia Thornton – played by Sandrine Holt – is a gender-swapped version of Pete Thornton, MacGyver’s boss and best friend from the original series. George Eads takes the part of Jack Dalton, the protagonist’s aviator buddy who has money on the mind. Audiences will be amazed by how MacGyver cleverly uses his surroundings to get himself out of dicey predicaments.
MacGyver is among the latest in a line of popular intellectual properties that are being rebooted or revived for this generation. This year alone, we have Ghostbusters, Fuller House, The Blair Witch, Lethal Weapon, The X-Files, Uncle Buck, Voltron: Legendary Defender, The Magnificent Seven, The Exorcist, Frequency, The Girlfriend Experience, Roots, and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. If that list seems exhaustive, that’s because it is.
Many film critics and fans have long complained about the overabundance of remakes that the entertainment industry has been putting out for the past few years. It is said that film and television companies are afraid to take risks on new projects, so they play it safe by playing to people’s nostalgia and rehashing older IP’s. Unfortunately, this strategy reflects poorly on the industry. For one, it shows that there’s a lack of originality in Hollywood. Furthermore, most of these revivals prove to be vastly inferior to the source material, repelling would-be new fans, and upsetting already established ones.
Hopefully for fans (such as Patty and Selma from The Simpsons), MacGyver will eschew from this trend. Will the new show live up to its predecessor’s reputation? Will it be able to stand on its own as a fun action series? Fans will have to wait and see until MacGyver returns to cable later this week.