Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 19: Bayou


To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
The IMF team goes to Louisiana to stop a nightclub owner who is running a kidnapping and slavery ring.

Memorable Quote:
Grant, you're now officially a member of the undead.  ~Phelps

Highlight:
When it comes to voodoo story lines, I'm in.  Just ask my good friend Mama Lorraine.

Lowlight:
The big guy's Southern drawl (or whatever that was) was annoying.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Some great Dixieland jazz in the club scenes.
  • I don't see how the two goons in the alley would get the jump on Max so easily after how he was portrayed as a champion boxer in Spy.
  • I'm not sure why Pepper is so mad at Morgan after seeing him at the voodoo ceremony.  And I can't believe that a video screen would be that convincing.  And then how did they know that Pepper would attack Morgan on the porch when she did? 
  • 42:11 - goofy moment when Max and Nick show up to rescue the slave girls and they all pleasantly smile and sigh at the same time.
  • Rather than face Pepper, Morgan decides to run off the boardwalk and get eaten by alligators.  Victoria James would have been proud of that maneuver.

Final Analysis:
Not a great episode by any means, but as is the case with Live and Let Die and Walking Dead, I'm a sucker for a good voodoo plot, and the Dixieland jazz and bayou setting help make this episode seem better than it is.  Ranking it 9 out of 19.

Well, we made it through Season 1.  Having not seen this series since it first aired almost 30 years ago, I wasn't sure what to expect when starting this project, and so far I've been disappointed.  There were two strong episodes (The Pawn and The Legacy), and everything else has been either mediocre, below average, or disastrous.  Hopefully Season 2 will be at least a little more inspired, but first it will be time to resume the movie reviews with MI2, which may be Tom Cruise at his Cruiseiest. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

MacGyver Script Analysis: The Challenge

Welcome to the 7th edition of my 139 part Script Analysis series where I compare an original script with the final episode.  Today I'll be covering my 6th least favorite episode, The Challenge. Let the fun begin!

My script copy, written by Chris Haddock, is a first draft dated 1/19/89 (the episode debuted on 2/27). Despite it being only a first draft, most of the dialogue in the script matched word for word with what appeared in the final episode.  So there aren't too many differences to highlight, but I'll cover a few of them below.
  • A few naming differences:
    • Challenge Center (instead of Challengers Club).
    • Booker and Cynthia Williams (instead of Wilson).
    • Karl Erickson as the villain (instead of Larson).
  • 8:17 mark -- a quote in the episode (and script) that I must have missed in previous viewings: MacGyver's qualified. He used to work full time at the Challengers Club.  ~Booker.  Full time? I guess we can add this to MacGyver's pre-series timeline right between timber logging, car racing in Europe, and defusing bombs in Vietnam.
  • The script has a scene where MacGyver, Ray, Cynthia, and the Detective examine Booker's rear-ended car and discuss the crack packet found in the front seat. Surprisingly Erickson does not yet come to mind as prime suspect #1.
  • In the script, Ray and Rico help MacGyver look for Booker.  As in the episode, MacGyver is the one to find his body:
    • His jaw clenched, eyes shut tight to shut out the sight he's seen.  His head sinks to his chest.  He sucks in some air, raises his head up, eyes closed, tears streaking his cheeks.  His fist explodes into the wall.  He slumps down the wall to his knees.
  • MacGyver tells Ray to contact the police.  "Just tell 'em they better make it fast." Then when Smiley (one of Erickson's goons) approaches a garbage bin outside the print shop, MacGyver punches him out with the voiceover, "Time to take out the garbage," before dumping him in the bin.
  • At the climax of the episode, MacGyver flips the gun into his grip, and trembling with rage, aims it at Erickson.
    • "MacGyver -- wait!"  ~Ray
    • "You don't wanna see this Ray."  ~MacGyver
    • "Hate's gotta stop somewhere.  That's what you said!  It's the truth, isn't it?  The hate's gotta stop."  ~Ray
    • MacGyver keeps the gun aimed steady at Erickson.  The Detective moves in behind Ray.  Freezes.
    • Slowly, he lowers the gun to rest it on the desk.  MacGyver and Ray stay in position as the Detective takes Erickson and removes him, going past Ray.
    • Paul Margolis said that during the filming of Black Rhino, RDA vetoed the idea of having MacGyver shoot the rhino because of the character's anti-gun stance.  I wonder if the same thing happened here, because in the final episode MacGyver never points the gun at Larson -- instead he intends to strike him with it. I guess by the time he got to Trail of Doomsday (where he actually fires a gun near someone as part of his undercover act), RDA's "give a @#$% meter" had run out of coins.
  • In the script, MacGyver gets Ray a fishing rod (instead of a pool table).  The pool table makes a lot more sense.
The last three scripts I've reviewed have been toward the bottom of the barrel, but coming up next in Part 8, I'm happy to say that it's a top 20 episode!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #29

With only two months left until filming for Season 2 starts, the writers are working on new scripts.

BtS of Season 1 (via Pius Pietrzyk)


Crisis averted
Thankfully, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) managed to secure better working conditions for script writers during weeks of tense negotiations, therefore avoiding a strike that would have resulted in TV show productions coming to a grinding halt and being stopped for weeks, maybe even months.

Production should go on as planned. As David Slack tweeted on May 2nd, he's already writing on a new episode for Season 2.


working on new scripts (via David Slack)


Reruns

There will be a rerun of Episode 13 (Large Blade) on May 26 and a rerun of Episode 14 (Fish Scaler) on June 2.

Season 2 News
As Executive Producer Peter Lenkov confirmed on May 10, Season 2 will start in September.

What are cast and crew up to?
Peter Lenkov is gearing up for the premiere of his CBS Summer Show "Salvation" in July. Justin Hires is busy polishing his career as a stand-up comedian. Tristin Mays and Meredith Eaton recently visited one of his shows.


(via Justin Hires)

Because of the DVD-Release of Monster Trucks, Lucas Till had been doing promo for this movie back in April. In a video interview with TVs Talking Pictures, Lucas also talked about filming MacGyver. He revealed that George Eads is one of his best friends, that he fell asleep several times while trying to memorize his lines and that he was stressed out 8 of 9 months while shooting because he put too much pressure on himself, trying to fill RDA's big shoes by taking on such an iconic role.

What's going to happen now?
Next Wednesday, CBS will present their 2017-2018 TV Schedule at the Upfronts in New York. Since both Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods have been renewed as well for another season, the reboot airtime schedule probably won't change.

Both Peter Lenkov and Lucas Till will be at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in June. Lenkov is listed as a member of the festival's jury while it is not clear yet in what capacity Lucas will be there.


Monster Trucks Promo (via Instagram)

There has been no word yet if there will be another promo event at Comic Con San Diego (July 20 to 23) this year.

MacGyver around the world
The Reboot is or has been airing in several countries by now; e.g. Australia, Turkey, the UK, the French speaking region of Switzerland, New Zealand or the Netherlands. The show is airing soon in Japan and in France. The premiere for Germany (on Sat.1) is set for June 19. 

The German dubbing of rebooted MacGyver is done by Ozan √únal who funnily also voiced Nicholas Hoult's character of "Beast" in the X-Men movies with Lucas Till and David Dastmalchian in "CSI Cyber". √únal otherwise regularly dubbs Emile Hirsch, Logan Lerman (in the Percy Jackson Series) or Ian Somerhalder. On German TV, he's probably best known for voicing Johnny Galecki in all episodes of "The Big Bang Theory", so this is going to be weird and interesting for me.

The Vault: Unaired Pilot
A year ago, Meg London-Boche - Assistant of Director David Von Ancken - tweeted about the MacGyver Pilot being done. Little did we know back then that the pilot would be scrapped and reshot, earning the title of being an Unaired Reboot Pilot that got rebooted.


BtS of the Unaired Pilot (via Adam Michna)

The Unaired Pilot has more or less disappeared. The IMDb page was deleted rather quickly, along with every official material that had been posted by CBS on social media. It's difficult to predict if we'll ever get to see this Unaired Pilot that shall not be named. It's probably futile to hope for it being released on the Season 1 DVD.


Author's Note: This is my last Update for the MacGyver Reboot - for now. I will probably continue posting somewhere else, but I have to set it up first and I don't know yet when it's going to be ready. (I have been writing in German on my own blog for 11 years, but I don't want to mix up blog posts in different languages.) 

A big THANK YOU to Nicholas Sweedo for letting me write on his blog. I wouldn't have dared to do it on my own. I never thought I would be able to write so many blog-posts in another language and I learnt A LOT while doing this.

A big THANK YOU for you readers as well. I never thought these blog-posts would get so many hits. Hopefully read you soon! If you need a quick fix of MacGyver Reboot News until my next Update, you can find me on Twitter.

Editor's Note: A big thanks to Andrea (Dashboard) for all her great posts and for being really nice to work with!  I decided that I wanted to distance this blog from the reboot since I don't like it and am not watching it any more.  But for fans of the reboot, Andrea really is the best person out there to follow for the latest news and information, and I'm sure that her new blog will be an awesome place to go for that!  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MacGyver Location Adventure: Los Angeles

I just got back from a trip to Los Angeles where, among other things, I visited some filming locations from MacGyver seasons 1, 2, and 7.  I took the majority of the pictures on Sunday in the company of Patrick O'Riley and Richard Wells from the Phoenix Foundation Podcast.  We recorded our thoughts along the way, so be sure to listen to that while you look at the pictures below.

I don't want to come off like your friend on facebook or instagram who posts a picture of their trip to Bora Bora with the caption "Having the best time ever!" all while you're slogging away in a dank office while the rain beats against your window pane (if you're lucky enough to have a window).  So when you see the sun and blue skies in my pictures, just know that there must have been something wrong with my camera that made it look this beautiful.  And it wasn't really 80 degrees the whole time.  You wouldn't have enjoyed this trip at all.


PILOT; GRIFFITH PARK OBSERVATORY
The observatory is up on a mountain that provides a great view of LA and the Hollywood sign.  A lot of shows and movies have been filmed here, including the climatic scene in one of my favorite movies, The Rocketeer.



EVERY TIME SHE SMILES; GRIFFITH PARK MERRY GO ROUND
The Griffith Park Merry Go Round is where Walt Disney dreamed up Disneyland while sitting on a park bench watching his children ride the carousel.  I'd still say that Every Time She Smiles has a greater cultural legacy (e.g. the debut of Penny Parker, the memorable "a trac--tor" quote), but Disneyland is a close second.


THE PROMETHEUS SYNDROME; FIRE STATION
We stayed in the car here because there was a funeral going on.



SEASON 2 LOFT
Sometimes Hollywood starlets wear the same dress to the Academy Awards, and sometimes secret agents wear the same Phoenix Foundation t-shirt to MacGyver's Season 2 loft.



THE PRODIGAL MANSION
Smile for the camera!  You need to listen to the Phoenix Foundation podcast to understand that reference.






DEATHLOCK; GREYSTONE MANSION
The Greystone Mansion and its gardens were a great place to walk around and also afforded a great view of the city.  Not pictured: a nice moment where Patrick, likely inspired by MacGyver and Danny's rescue of the golden eagle in Eagles, saved a newborn bird from being trampled on the sidewalk by scooping him up with a credit card and putting him down off the beaten path.



SEASON 1 FEDERAL BUILDING




SEASON 7 HOME
This street was very busy, much busier than it looks on tv.  On the podcast I say that being there felt like Port-au-Prince which is funny because at the time I wasn't even thinking about the neighborhood being called Little Haiti in the show.


SEASON 1 APARTMENT; VENICE BEACH
Seeing the Season 1 apartment and the Venice Beach boardwalk felt a bit like seeing the Roman Colosseum: both are currently in decline, but take a deep breath and close your eyes and you're instantly transported back to a golden age.  In the Colosseum's case, it was 2000 years ago.  In MacGyver's case, it was 1985.

Venice Beach is now an overcrowded spot with a fair share of crazies and no parking in sight, save for a $20 "valet" service where they make you park your own car.  As for MacGyver's building, it doesn't have a restaurant anymore, and it sorely needs a few coats of paint. But pop in the beginning of The Prodigal and look at that beautiful beach as MacGyver in his mustard Minnesota sweatshirt tosses out junk mail from the giant secret factory that keeps printing it, all while listening to the glorious Randy Edelman score, and go back to the golden age.



THE HEIST; HILTON UNIVERSAL CITY



At this point, Patrick and Richard were called off for another mission, and this Phoenix Agent was left to survive on his own, much like the little bird whom Patrick scooped up off the sidewalk.

THIEF OF BUDAPEST; EXPOSITION PARK
I can't begin to tell you how many times on this trip I was approached by people who mistook me for MacGyver.  All of the attention got to be kind of a burden, actually.





PHOENIX FOUNDATION SEASON 2; LONG BEACH



TO BE A MAN; VASQUEZ ROCKS
This rock park has appeared in countless movies and tv shows as a barren landscape or a far-off planet.  It's very near the airfield in Last Stand which sadly was closed when I drove up to it.  I even had my HELP coffee cup all ready to go.  Oh well, maybe next time.



EXECUTIVE PRODUCER STEPHEN DOWNING!  SOMEWHERE IN LOS ANGELES...


So thanks to Patrick, Richard, and Stephen for being great hosts, and thanks to everyone who contributed to the Shooting Locations pages at rdanderson.com and MacGyver Online which made our job much easier.  Next stop.....Vancouver!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #28

The MacGyver Season 1 Finale has aired. Fans don't have to be sad, though: Filming for Season 2 should start in July in Atlanta.

LA Wrap Party Collage

(SPOILER ALERT: You will get spoilered about the Season Finale and storylines in Season 2 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)


It's a wrap! Again?
Although cast and crew had already celebrated the official wrap party in Atlanta back in March, there was another wrap party in LA on April 22. Together with some cast and crew members of Hawaii Five-0, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov took his people bowling. 

They all seemed to have a good time. Justin Hires posted several Instagram Live videos (e.g. with Lucas Till, Tristin Mays or Meredith Eaton). In one of the videos, Lucas revealed that he had mostly caught up on sleep since last seeing Justin in Atlanta. David Dastmalchian shared selfies of him with Lucas and with Joe Dante who had directed Episode 4 (Wire Cutter). Meredith posted pictures of her posing with Lenkov and Henry Winkler and with TristinTristin uploaded a video of Lucas preparing for his next strike. Lucas was seen shaking hands with Hollywood Legend Hal Holbrook.

Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via SpoilerTV)

Premiere of the Season Finale
The ratings for the last three episodes have also been the lowest of the season. Although they made an effort for some additional promo for the Season Finale, Episode 21 (Cigar Cutter) had the second lowest ratings of the season so far with 6.57 million viewers (along with a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo group).

Interestingly, last week’s rerun of Episode 10 (Pliers) still managed to pull in 5.13 million viewers (with 0.7 in demo).

Nonetheless, the Season 1 ratings are good. All episodes included, the show had 7.73 million live-viewers per episode, along with a 1.08 rating in the 18-49-years demo group. The reruns (10 episodes so far) had 4.45 million live-viewers per episode (with 0.7 in demo).

Season 1 Premieres and Reruns Ratings so far

(It's worth noting that it wasn't just "MacGyver" losing almost a million viewers on the most recent episodes, but other Friday shows like Hawaii Five-0 or Blue Bloods as well.)


Season Finale Promo
On Season Finale day, we got a lot of promo interviews and articles - so much that I didn't manage to cover all of it in my last Update.

Tristin Mays did an appearance on Good Day LA. Lucas did a short Q&A on Instagram for AmazonVideo. Just before the Season Finale Premiere, CBS did a live-interview on Facebook with Tristin and David Dastmalchian; including another exclusive clip and their one word to describe the Finale (devastating by David, outrageous by Tristin).

Because of the DVD-Release of Monster Trucks, Lucas had additionally been doing promo for his movie that week. In a video interview with SideWalksTV, he also talked about MacGyver and the work load, how his fan encounters changed due to the show and what's it like to work with the cast.

some set visit pics (via Randall Goltzman)

A while ago, there was a Boy Scouts Sweepstakes with Jake Goltzman winning the grand prize. He was invited to visit the set during the filming process of the Season Finale. Back in March, his father Randall had already uploaded many pictures onto Facebook. (You can see some of the pictures in this blog post.) On premiere day, CBS Austin aired a segment of Jake talking about his experience.

Additionally, cast and crew shared some more pictures of Episode 21 on social media; e.g. David Dastmalchian of Murdoc and Matty or Justin Hires of Bozer and "Dr. Zito". Stunt Coordinator Jeff Wolfe posted a picture of him with Mark Sheppard and a BtS pic of him having fun with Lucas while preparing to do a scene with "suffering" Bozer. Kirk Riley shared a BtS picture of the scene in Siberia.

Character and Storyline News
On April 8, Peter Lenkov tweeted that he and Producers Craig O'Neill and David Slack had discussed the story about how Jack met MacGyver - and teased that we'll have to wait until next season for that. 

As mentioned in the last Update, Peter Lenkov revealed that next season will see Riley and Bozer having relationships with other people. So we might be introduced to new recurring characters soon; maybe even in the Season 2 Premiere.

BtS of Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via Kirk Riley)

I've been wondering if they've already filmed the entire Cairo backstory for continuity and why they haven't already done so while filming the pilot. Breaking down the Season Finale cliffhangers with Entertainment Weekly, Lenkov stated that "The idea is that next season we’ll get to see another piece of that story, how they got out of that part of Cairo." He also revealed that we will discover at the end of the season who MacGyver's father is. I'm really curious who they're going to cast in this role.

What's going to happen now?
Kevin Marshall (Stand-In for George Eads) was still shooting inserts on a Villa-with-Pool-Location on March 31. So far, we don't know what these scenes were for - unless the MacGyver Reboot has a crossover with the new show "Dynasty" or the overworked crew confused their social media hashtags.

For now, most of the cast is probably enjoying some free time. Meanwhile, Lenkov is busy preparing for the Finale of Hawaii Five-0 and the crew in Atlanta is working on other TV show pilots.

via Randall Goltzman

Note that there is a strike of the Writers Guild of America looming on the horizon. It's unclear yet how a strike would influence the production of the reboot. The last time this happened (in 2007/08), production ceased for all scripted television programming for months. Many TV shows had shortened seasons due to a lack of scripts, were postponed, cancelled or had to switch to non-union writers in order to resume production.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 18: Submarine


To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
The team heads to Hong Kong to apprehend a corrupt U.S. Admiral who uses a computer virus to wreak havoc on naval vessels.

Memorable Quote:
Let's get out of here. This is the kind of place where you catch a nasty virus.  ~Phelps

Highlight:
The opening scene where the sub sinks is well filmed.  There appears to be a little stock footage mixed in, but nevertheless it's a job well done.

Lowlight:
The entire second half of the episode -- more on this below.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • In real life if Grant and Shannon had barged into a foreign airport's security office and just took their prisoner, there'd be a little bit of pushback.
  • You know it's a bad sign of things to come when the scene where the 15 guys breathing in gas from a lawn sprinkler and start falling like dominoes is the more credible part of the episode.
  • Once the action shifted to the submarine, the episode did more than just go off the rails -- the train crashed headlong into the canyon and burst into flames. Where in Hong Kong did they get access to a full length sub complete with an accompanying soundstage? And not even 1000 Steven Spielbergs could have executed this plan including the flashing lights, water coming in, illusions of an exploding ship, rescue at sea, remote control contacts, and much more, all while each team member is playing multiple roles.
  • And from a plot standpoint, I had no clue what was happening on the sub. I was especially perplexed at the Admiral banging on a keyboard as he's getting deluged with water and somehow that gave the IMF team what they needed.

Final Analysis:
Mamma mia!  I never thought anything would be even close to as bad as The Devils, but this one just about gets there.  Ranking it 17 out of 18.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 17: Reprisal


To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
A prisoner in a mental institution devises a system of breaking out with the help of a corrupt guard. The prisoner seeks to murder those who were involved in his capture, all while wearing a Jim Phelps mask with the goal of framing Phelps.

Memorable Quote:
Your mission, which I feel you must accept, will be to find the person who is framing you and stop him.  ~Voice on Disc

Highlight:
Interesting idea to have an "evil Jim Phelps" on the loose.

Lowlight:
The IMF team's tactics make no sense here.  Once they realized he was breaking out of prison, why not install their own camera in his cell or station someone outside the prison?  After Acker calls Phelps before he murders his second victim, why not send someone back to the prison to wait for him to come back?  And at the very end when Acker walks on stage dressed as Phelps (and the team knows it), why not jump him right there and take his mask off?  That would be enough proof without subjecting the poor woman used as bait to possibly getting strangled.

The plot would have been better if the IMF did lock down the prison but his escape system was so slick that he got out anyway.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Definitely a "whoa" opening that took me by surprise.
  • Peter Graves seems like a friendly, Mr. Rogers type, but I gotta take him to task here. You'd get more of a reaction from a corpse than you get from Graves when he learns that his former teammate has been killed and that he is the prime suspect.
  • How did Acker hook up the camera, laser, and fake footage of himself?  And why wouldn't he just stay out of jail once he gets out the first time?  I guess his actions aren't supposed to be rational since he's a crazy man.
  • When Acker leaves the cell, wouldn't the prisoner in the cell next door say "WTF?"
  • Lisa's got some stones in the way that she confronts Acker in the prison and then meets him at the theater with no sign of nervousness whatsoever.

Final Analysis:
Despite some above critiques, this episode was pretty decent, especially compared with the rest of the episodes so far this season.  The plot was interesting with its Deadly Dreams vibe, and it held my attention.  Ranking it 4 out of 17.