Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 46: Glitter Rock


Sam Leaps Into: 
Jeffrey "Tonic" Mole, the lead singer in a rock band.

Objective:
Avoid getting stabbed to death.

Date:
4-12-74

Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Memorable Quote:
We all live our lives behind masks, but the real point of living is to get beyond, to break through those masks, from the outside and from the inside, so that we can really communicate. Unfortunately most of us don't.  ~Sam

Highlight:
I like the whodunit element of the story, and I was not at all sure who the guilty party was.

Lowlight:
Not a big fan of rock music post 1970 (more on this below).

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • The manager is played by Peter Noone, the lead singer of Herman's Hermits.  I listened to a lot of Oldies growing up (mostly thanks to my Dad having them on in the car), and Herman's Hermits was a great band with a lot of hits.
  • Sadly for me, the wheels fall off the rock music wagon once the 60's end.  Maybe it's growing up with Oldies, my perfect pitch, my old soul, my intrinsically good taste, or all of the above, but I find most modern rock music and its derivatives (e.g. alternative, punk, metal) to be unlistenable.  There are exceptions, for instance I think both U2 and Green Day have some very good songs.  But most of the time when I hear modern rock, all I hear are people yelling.  I remember in college having to watch Pink Floyd: The Wall and thinking it made no sense while also making my ears bleed, and another college memory involves me overhearing someone in my dorm talking about Kurt Cobain.  "What band was he in?" I asked.  "Nirvana?!" the guy responded incredulously at my lack of modern musical knowledge.  What can I say, I'll take Frank Sinatra over people yelling any day.  How's that for a hot take.
  • One last anecdote to wrap up my "music" tangent: I remember as a teenager often watching Jay Leno at night with my parents (taped from the previous night), and at the end of the show when we'd get to the musical act, 95% of the time we'd listen to the first few notes and then my Dad would take the remote control and fast forward.  He would sometimes add, "It sounds better when I accidentally step on Boo-Boo's tail" (Boo-Boo was our cat).
  • The falling light during the stage rehearsal brought back some Cleo Rocks memories.
  • 22:03 mark -- a brief shot of RFK Stadium, which is strange considering the stadium is in D.C. but the episode takes place in Detroit.  
  • This is immediately followed by a scene where Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter (one of Herman's Hermits greatest hits) is playing in the background as Sam and Noone converse. Nice touch.
  • I like the "Who's on First" routine with Sam and Al related to The Who, and it's also fun to see Al rocking along on stage with the band.
  • Shouldn't the webbed hands shared by Sam and Philip have been enough to convince everyone that they were related?

Conversation:
Peter Noone.

I went to the audition for the part of one of the group who were a Kiss “Knockoff."  I read the part and said to the genius Bellisario "Hey Sir. Can I be the murderer not the bloke in the band?" The director said "No one would believe you as a murderer!" And I said "How about it Sir Bob, isn’t the idea of a who done it to have the mystery be a mystery?" I enjoyed myself and I think I did ok as a murdering, cross dressing embezzler manager having had personal experience and someone to be a la stanislavsky!!!!  My best work so far and I have to say Scott B is brilliant!!!

Final Analysis:
Decent episode -- I like the mystery and also the Philip character.  Not as big a fan of the "rock" ambience however.  Ranking it 32 out of 46.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #8

Filming continues while Executive Producer Peter Lenkov works on perfecting the pilot episode. All week, people have been posting the billboard ads and posters over social media. Also, we got two new video clips!

(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won't post any revealing pictures, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)




Working on Episodes 2 and 3
On August 15, StandIn James Grabowski was back on set for episode 1x03 and continued to work for interior filming. On the same day, Peter Lenkov shared a short video of MacGyver running like a gazelle. The sequence is probably from the pilot episode, filmed by Steven with a MacGyvered camera rig.

StandIn Mikey Leo showed us what staging and/or blocking looks like - complicated, I'd say. (As far as I know, staging and blocking is done before filming to ensure the correct distances and angles. The marks on the floor indicate the positions of the actors and the cameras. Every person has its own color; some actors actually prefer to have the same color on every production.) 


via Mikey Leo

Peter Lenkov continued to post several pictures of everyday items that might help MacGyver getting out of trouble - a paperclip (what do you see?), the SAK (better than a cape), a bobby pin (not just for hair) or duct tape (not just tape). He also praised the work of the directors of photography on the show.

Location Scout Gonzo Rey shared a picture of a creepy, but interesting new location while Chris Payne Gilbert teased us with a view of the door to Stage 6.

We know from earlier casting calls and Extra Joslyn Sky that there was supposed to be a scene of a Venezuelan Market in Episode 1x02. We might have been offered a glimpse of the set and a short chasing sequence by SkyDroneCinema.

On August 21, the agency of Jonathan Fritschi shared his picture on set while waiting for his take. The background is very interesting; but even more interesting is the floor. You'll recognize it in this short action-sequence that SkyDroneCinema has posted over a week ago. It shows four armed guys storming the building and getting shot. Overall, lots of guns in Episode 2.

Henry Winkler in the Writer's Room
August 17 was a big day for the Writing Team: Television Legend Henry Winkler (Executive Producer of the original show) paid a visit to the office on the Paramount Studio Lot in Hollywood. He also took time to pose for individual pictures; e.g. with Brian Durkin, Bret VandenBos and David Slack.

Let the Promo begin: Previews
On August 15, TVLine released two exclusive preview clips. The first one shows MacGyver keeping calm while planning a Houdini-esque escape because "he's got this". (It helps that he's got a paperclip ready.)


via TVLine

While I don't think the video captures the exact soul of the original show (or the inner spirit of Original MacGyver), this mini-clip still makes me laugh. It sure grabs your attention and peaks your curiosity if you don't know what MacGyver is all about. I don't know much about TV-Show-Marketing, but I think this is very well done to get new viewers to tune in on premiere day.

The second clip shows MacGyver in danger of plummeting off a skyscraper within the next few seconds. Of course, we don't need to worry, because "he's got this!" (Although we don't get to see if he actually made it out unharmed.)

Let the Promo begin: Billboard Ads and Posters
People have been posting pictures of the billboard ads and posters all week. Many hadn't heard about the reboot before and stated their confusion; asking if this was real or not. Others shared their dissatisfaction about the poster or the reboot in general


via Daily Billboard

Apparently, the key art was done by Little Giant Studios and shot by Brian Bowen Smith and crew. Byron Nickleberry revealed that Lucas had indeed been hanging with a parachute and that the shoot had been lots of fun. The Daily Billboard Blog showed a collection of the billboards from different angles. 

Let the Promo begin: Iowa State Fair
I was a bit confused when Andrew Bridgewater tweeted about MacGyver at the Iowa State Fair. A few hours later, KCCI News confirmed that CBS had set up for MacGyver Promo on the MidAmerican Energy Stage where people could win giveaways by playing a MacGyver Ring Toss Game. It looks like people were tossing duct tape rolls and paperclips instead of rings. Interesting form of promo to appeal to a young audience.


via KCCI News

Hot Environment
David Sutton shared some pictures about his work as a scenic painter. I guess this didn't happen for the first time, but it seems some of his work just got burned to ashes on August 19. On purpose.

StandIn and Photodouble Russell Snipes had joked about it "being a little toasty at work today". We soon got to see why as Peter Lenkov posted two pictures of Lucas Till and George Eads (or their stuntdoubles, hopefully) walking through a burning set. Definitely a hot scene. Chris Payne Gilbert revealed the dresscode that day - at least for the camera crew.

Cast and Crew News
An interesting character name popped up last week on IMDb on the cast list for Episode 1x04: Penny Parker. Soon, Bianca Malinowski (Halt and Catch Fireconfirmed the news herself; tagging Original Penny Teri Hatcher in her Instagram Post.

Carlos Guerrero recently wrapped his scenes on Episode 1x02 where he plays a ruthless killer named Alfredo. He shared a picture of him posing with Tristin Mays and Lucas on set. Extra Walter Tabayoyong just started shooting this week and shared a picture with Tristin.




Central Casting Georgia has again made several casting calls; e.g. for men and women for a retirement home scene (elderly people and conservative staff members), for men who are physically fit, intimidating and who appear to be Turkish, for attractive and hip people who appear to be Serbian (for a club scene) and for a caucasian boy and a girl between the ages of 11-14 years with braces. Interestingly, both kids will have to lean in for an awkward kiss in a flashback sequence. Another one of MacGyver's girlfriends, perhaps?

Writing, filming, editing
The crew continued filming at Underground Atlanta and MLK Downtown on Saturday. In between, the cast works on the script while Peter Lenkov is still editing the pilot episode to make it look perfect. I think we can all agree that the pressure to deliver a great premiere episode must be immense; so it's probably quite satisfying that the reboot has already inspired people on social media to share their fan art.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 45: Southern Comforts


Sam Leaps Into: 
Gilbert LaBonte, the owner of a popular bordello.

Objective:
Protect one of his ladies from her abusive husband.

Date:
8-4-61

Location:
New Orleans, Louisiana

Memorable Quote:
Of all the partners in the whole wide world that I should have to pick, and what do I end up with? The Prudent Prince.  ~Al

Highlight:
I love when Sam runs in on Jake beating Gina and calmly says, "Why don't you try that on me?"

Lowlight:
Not a big complaint, but the plot line with Gilbert's relationship to his fiancée and her leaving in the end didn't add much to the story.    

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • The producers did a good job of making this house feel like the Old South, and the "Dixie" doorbell was a clever touch.
  • This episode originally aired 5 days before the infamous "day the cable went out," a date that will live in infamy in the Sweedo household.  What am I talking about?  Read my Strictly Business post to find out.  

Final Analysis:
I didn't remember one single thing about this episode, but I enjoyed it and liked the way the story unfolded.  The Gina character was well crafted and complex, and the actor playing Jake did a good job.  Interesting that the entire episode save for the scene at the hotel took place in the bordello, but it nevertheless moved at a good pace, and the ending was clever in the way that Sam set up Jake.  Ranking it 19 out of 45.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #7

Filming continues while the cast does the interview and photoshoot cycle at the TCA Press Tour in LA. Also, we got a brand new trailer, new stills and huge billboard ads!

(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won't post any revealing pictures, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)


via Getty Images

Work, work, work
Cast and Crew were still filming for Episode 1x02 last week; shooting on the Historic Oakland Cemetery, in Midtown Atlanta and Downtown near Hardy Ivy Park. Several bypassers caught them filming while walking through the park or were able to watch the set from above. The reboot also got some impressive new lighting installations for the interior sets. For the rest of the week, production seemed to move onto higher grounds. A sky scraper setting for New MacGyver's work place, maybe?

We finally got some more information about the Ninja shooting, gun-wielding bikini babes on the tank. Turns out they're actually The MacGyverettes! Of course, we still don't know what this is all about - Opening Gambit? Mac working undercover on a movie set? Who knows. Seems we're up for a big surprise (hopefully a good one).

While cast and crew are working long days and weekends, they still find the time to pose for fan pictures or joke around a little bit. Two lucky kids even got to meet the cast on set.

Let the Promo begin: Interviews, Stills and Billboard Ads
On August 9, IndieWire posted an interview with Executive Producer Peter Lenkov about rebooting beloved shows. Lenkov revealed his rules of remakes: 1) Honor the original property. 2) Dive even deeper into the characters that fans love. He said: "The secret sauce is what MacGyver does, and I’m hoping that becomes a thing where people the next day are talking about, ‘Can you believe he did that?' I think the characters are different, and the original show was very plot-driven. Nowadays, we have to really look at why people are tuning in. They’re tuning in for the characters."

On August 10, SpoilerTV released more promotional pictures for the Pilot Episode and the main cast.


via SpoilerTV

On August 11, someone spotted a new billboard ad from afar - which didn't look very promising to me. The up-close-version of a new poster provided by Peter Lenkov on the same day revealed the new tag line: "No man has done more with less". It looks slightly better up close, but this poster wouldn't spark my curiosity enough to watch the pilot if I didn't already have a clue what the show was all about. It also reminds me of the first poster for the Unaired Pilot that shall not be named.


via Peter Lenkov

On the other hand, it's not so different from other posters for movies or TV shows. Some people might think it's a little cheesy, but that only fit's into some of the cheesier episodes of the original show. My problem is mainly that it doesn't seem to bring across what Original MacGyver made him our favorite TV hero in the first place.

It seems they did invest quite some money for the upcoming promo, though. Besides another version of a huge billboard ad, there are Sightseeing Busses driving through Hollywood announcing the "New Fridays" on CBS. I'm already curious what else is coming.

Let the Promo begin: MacGyver at TCA
On August 11, the cast travelled to LA with Peter Lenkov and Pilot Episode Director James Wan to do the promo rounds at the Television Critics Association (TCA). The visit included a short interview panel, photoshoots, live video interviews (streamed on the official MacGyver on CBS Facebook page), press interviews and posing for pictures with the interviewers.


via Twitter

The panel wasn't aired, but we got almost everything live on Twitter and shortly afterwards via Online Articles. Peter Lenkov started with a MacGyverism consisting of trying to power up his smartphone through a lemon. Apparently, he should have brought more lemons to make it work. (Or maybe a cactus from the Ugly Duckling episode? Maybe I should try this with my old-school cell phone since it's not smart and only needs to be charged once a week anyway.)

We had already heard a lot of what was said at the San Diego ComicCon panel last month: It's "Team MacGyver" now; MacGyver get's a family and a "bromance". Also, there definitely will be guns (although it won't be MacGyver using them.) 

Thankfully, they also shared some new information: Since MacGyver's first name is not a secret anymore, it will be used frequently in the reboot. They will incorporate the original theme, with a new theme in the main title sequence. They already have a role in mind for Richard Dean Anderson and (still) hope he says yes. Lucas Till admitted he cut his hair because of the negative reactions after shooting the Unaired Pilot (we probably won't ever know if he wanted it cut or if the bosses made him do it). There’s a nod to "Hawaii Five-0" in the pilot and Lenkov hopes they get to do a crossover eventually. The cast still does its homework and watches the MacGyver reruns in their trailers between takes.


via Getty Images

After they made everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to Lucas Till, the cast hit the TCA After Party before travelling back to Atlanta to pick up filming.

Let the Promo begin: The Trailer
On August 12, CBS unexpectedly dropped a new trailer. While it's again restricted on YouTube for an US-only-audience, CBS TV Studios was nice enough to put it up on their Twitter Account and on Facebook so everyone can see it.

I've watched it several times now, but I'm still not sure what to think of it. For the reboot itself, I'm still hovering between excitement, annoyance and bracing myself for disappointment. As for the trailer, there's a lot of action and we get to see every crew member of "Team MacGyver" - The Brains (MacGyver), The Muscle (Jack Dalton), The Boss (Patricia Thornton), The Best Friend (Wilt Bozer) and The Hacker (Riley Davis). Sadly, the introduction of the whole team in such a short time is why we don't see very much of New MacGyver himself and what makes him tick. The trailer does peak my curiosity, but it doesn't "feel" like MacGyver yet.

Cast and Crew News
TVLine provided more information about Amy Acker's role; revealing her character's name (Sarah Adler). They also confirmed our suspicions that she's no damsel in distress that needs rescuing. According to Lenkov, she's a "female version of George Eads’ Jack Dalton, and she’s pretty badass!". 


via Proper Sightseeing

Sarah Mays shared a picture on Instagram that revealed her being part of the Make-Up-Departement. Several extras shared their excitement online; e.g. Aina Dumlao (as a character named Andie Lee), Steven Stokes (Background Actor) or Tyler Ellstein (StandIn). Also, the IMDb page is slowly filling up with more names for the first three episodes.

Filming, writing, cutting
Still many more episodes to shoot until December, and the premiere is only six weeks away. SpoilerTV has revealed that Episode 1x04 will be called "Wire Cutter".

While the writers spend the nights on the studio lot working, Peter Lenkov apparently has had a long weekend of cutting to do. It's good to see that everyone is so dedicated to this project; their energy sure adds to the curiosity and excitement for the fans of the old show.

Quantum Leap -- Episode 44: Piano Man


Sam Leaps Into: 
Joey DeNardo, a piano player/"lounge lizard" and witness to a murder from three years ago.

Objective:
Save his life and the life of Lorraine, his ex-girlfriend, who he left after witnessing a murder.

Date:
11-10-85

Location:
Tularosa, New Mexico

Memorable Quote:
Ah, that was real pretty.  But I wanna know, can you cut loose?  ~Thelma

Highlight:
I didn't remember many details from this episode before I watched it but I remembered really liking Lorraine, and after watching it all these years later, I'm still a big fan!  She's my favorite leading lady so far -- she's full of warmth and charm and has a sweet yet ditzy persona.

In fact, speaking of Lorraines, I think I'd even give her the edge over Mama Lorraine which is really saying something given my love for Mama.

Lowlight:
Because I'm such a Lorraine fan, it made me sad as a kid (and still does) when Sam tells Lorraine that he doesn't want to be with her any more.  Though I do enjoy how in this scene Al is encouraging Sam to "be tough" in dumping Lorraine for her own good, and then Al is exasperated when he sees that it's not in Sam's nature to be harsh.  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • The date in this episode is the latest one so far in the series and only the second in the 1980's.
  • Fun and somewhat out-of-character Lorraine moment at the 6 minute mark when Lorraine softly mutters "you're dead" when facing off with the lady in the green dress. Little do they know that she actually is going to be dead just minutes later in the car bomb.
  • Oh no, Sam's been shot!  That's the third time so far.  He's tied Pete!
  • Strange that no one else other than Sam and Lorraine runs outside the bar after the explosion.
  • Some great musical performances in this episode including "Somewhere in the Night" (which Bakula wrote) and "Footloose."
  • Lorraine mentions a ski trip where Joey broke both legs -- that scenario rings a bell (another Pete reference)!
  • It's quite a long-range plan whereby Nicky/Carl develops a multi-year relationship with Lorraine just so he can get to Joey -- if he's that committed to finding him you'd think once he finally found Joey that he'd send 10 guys to make sure the job got done.

Final Analysis:
I'm a huge fan of this one, mostly due to Lorraine. Ranking it 6 out of 44.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 43: Private Dancer


Sam Leaps Into: 
Rod "the Bod" McCarty, an erotic dancer.

Objective:
Help a deaf woman find a career in dancing and avoid a future in prostitution.

Date:
10-6-79

Location:
New York, New York

Memorable Quote:
What are you slapping me for?  ~Sam
For almost letting her get away from me!  ~Joanna

Highlight:
I like when Sam shows Al how to say "Quantum Leap" in sign language.  It's a quick moment and one that is not integral to the plot, but it adds a nice touch and is a memorable part of the episode.  In fact my Mom and I have been known to sign it to each other if QL ever comes up in conversation.

I do wonder if they got the sign for "Quantum" correct -- it seems too simple of a sign for such a uncommon word.

Lowlight:
Nothing jumps out at me strongly.  I noticed that it's mentioned for the first time that Al went to M.I.T. (which is also where Sam went).  I'm not sure why it was decided to make him an M.I.T. grad -- in the pilot they say he was an ex-astronaut, but there's no other mention of his engineering background that I can remember.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • The previous episode, Future Boy, also took place on 10/6 (1957).
  • Debbie Allen of Fame fame directs and stars in this episode.  She is also Phylicia Rashad's sister and the showrunner of the Cosby spin-off A Different World, a show that I often watched as a kid.  Who didn't love Dwayne Wayne?
  • Bakula has some nice moves on the dance floor.
  • Excellent performance by Rhondee Beriault as Diana.  She's a great actress and also an outstanding dancer.  Calls to mind another memorable performance by a deaf actress: Mary Beth Mothersell in MacGyver's Silent World.

Final Analysis:
Solid episode.  I'm not a big dance enthusiast, but I liked the story and all of the dance scenes which is a credit to this episode.  There were no big highlights but also no obvious lowlights either. Ranking it 17 out of 43.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #6

Cast and crew are busy working on the second episode - too busy to post on social media?

(Spoiler Alert: To avoid spoilers, I won't post pics that are too revealing, but you will get spoilered by reading this post or by clicking on the links provided!)



via SpoilerTV

Working on Episode 1x02
Since production started on Episode 2, the posting of set-pictures by cast and crew has significantly lessened; especially by Executive Producer Peter Lenkov. Several people hinted that there are strict rules about posting information. Nonetheless, we still got some interesting pictures.

Tristin Mays shared a picture of Lucas Till hunting Pokémon on his cell phone. He's lying on a gurney - his surroundings implying a hospital scene. She posted another picture from set together with George Eads and Lucas; probably trying to fix a car.

Peter Lenkov showed us a new possible Easter Egg on August 4 - a pizza box from "Zlotoff's Pizzeria". Also, MacGyver and Jack get caught by the bad guys, yet still find a reason to fistbump on this episode's mission. According to StandIn Mikey Leo, this scene plays on the North/South Korean border and involves gunfire and explosions.

Location Scout Gonzo Rey shared a picture of a nice looking vintage car (Chevrolet Bel Air?) on a set in the woods - we'll see if MacGyver needs to bulletproof this one, too. Hopefully, it won't get destroyed - as Brandon Aquino revealed, the car looks also very nice from behind.

On August 5, Peter Lenkov revealed how Jack Dalton always manages to sneak past the bad guys. Is growing a beard what it takes to save a CIA agent? Or will Jack also make use of his gun? Judging by the picture she tweeted a day later, Amy Acker's character certainly looks pretty capable of saving herself without any outside help.

Impressive Equipment
On the 3rd of August, SkyDroneCinema showed us their "weapon of choice": an impressive camera that is most likely handled expertly by Camera Operator Tiko Pavoni.


via SkyDroneCinema

The Crew built quite the construction for filming in the Metropolitan Art and Business District on August 4. 

On August 5, FlyWorx shared pictures of a drone on set. I don't know much about drones, but this one looks pretty... big. And expensive. 

In an Instagram post from July 26, Steven showed how he had MacGyvered a steadycam camera stabilizer to wear on his back so he could run in front of Lucas Till while filming an action scene (probably for the pilot episode). MacGyvering equipment together is done all the time on sets, but it's nice to see that the crew on the reboot is as creative as MacGyver himself. Can Steven also keep up when New MacGyver is driving his motorcycle?

Cast and Crew News
It seems that Writer John Turman (Hulk, Rise of the Silver Surfer) has joined the team; probably the writer's crew.

Several Extras shared their involvement in the second episode; e.g. Joslyn Sky (Venezuelan Super Market Scene), Carlos Guerrero (as a character named Alfredo Barrios), John J Shim or G-Rod, who showed a short sequence of his stunt prep work on Instagram. Jonathan Fritschi revealed he had a great time on set while working with Tristin Mays.

Central Casting Georgia has again made several casting calls; e.g. for Extras portraying villagers in a Malaysian town, for young professionals and for golfers. It's safe to say that New MacGyver covers a lot of Asian ground in the first few episodes.

While Original MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson has no interest in taking part in the reboot, other actors that participated in the original show certainly wouldn't mind; e.g. Jason Priestley (from the episode "Blood Brothers").

via FlyWorx

Fall TV Previews
If you're living near New York or LA and don't want to wait until the TV premiere, you might get to see MacGyver two weeks early: There's a Fall TV Preview Screening at PaleyFest.

Working on a Sunday
As there are still at least 11 episodes to shoot, the crew also works on the weekends - as shown by StandIn Mikey Leo or by Location Scout Gonzo Rey. Set Days still start early. At least they get some help by decorative butterflies, by eating vitamins of fruity beasts from the catering crew and by drinking some MacGyver-themed red wine after wrapping.