Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pilot Review: MacGyver

MacGyver (CBS)
Premiered September 23 at 8pm

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by all the TV I’ve watched over the past twelve or so years, but when I’m watching an action show, I want to see something exciting. I’ve grown accustomed to stunts like turning a plane upside down to put out a fire on “Human Target,” and if I’m going to watch a show that’s purely about the thrills, it needs to include some great stuff. I’m not familiar at all with the show that inspired this one aside from a knowledge of the name and what it means, and I feel like I’ve written about shows being remade because the television landscape is completely out of ideas so many times recently. It’s not surprising that CBS, a network that loves procedurals, opted to bring this series, which originally aired on ABC, back, and if it’s going to find success, I think this is where it would be able to do that, especially on a Friday night, one that might attract the type of audience this show wants to. Aside from the lackluster action, the show suffers from having an undynamic lead. Lucas Till is reminiscent of a sedated version of Chris Hemsworth, and he lacks the charisma to be able to tackle this role. Every time he spoke about coming up with a solution to a problem with the things around him, I got nostalgic for “Burn Notice,” where a far less emotive voice would describe in considerably more compelling detail the way that he was going to turn the tables and get out of a tight spot. In the supporting cast, George Eads of “CSI” fame is quite the jokester and Sandrine Holt is trapped in a terribly bland role that doesn’t do her time spent on “House of Cards,” “Hostages,” and “Mr. Robot” justice. We also have Tracy Spiridakos from “Revolution,” who is fortunately much better at acting here but trapped in an insanely predictable role as the turncoat love interest who is obviously going to play a major part in the show going forward. I know he was just a guest star, but seeing Vinnie Jones made me wish that “Galavant” was still on the air. Oh well, it’s series like this that seem to be all the rage now. This show didn’t do much to entice me, and I’ll have little trouble forgetting all about it.

How will it work as a series? The job that MacGyver has means that he’s never going to run out of missions, and even if the plot gets stale because Spiridakos’ Nikki becomes too distracting or not distracting enough or the team is boring, there’s still the possibility that the energy level and creativity could come back in any given episode since each mission represents a new opportunity for action.
How long will it last? Well, CBS is very demanding when it comes to ratings. Besting any show in the timeslot on the network in the past eleven years certainly qualifies as meeting that demand, and outperforming every other series of the night only adds to its success. Never mind poor reviews – this show is all but guaranteed to be renewed.

Pilot grade: C-