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.


  1. Thanks again. Interesting that the cast is watching episodes of the original between takes. Sounds like an exhausting project for everybody involved and while there are some warning signs of things that might not work so well for me, I think it will at the very least have some entertainment value as a stand-alone series even if it pales in comparison to the original.

    1. Yeah I agree that it looks like it will be fun to watch on its own, but it doesn't feel like MacGyver from watching the new trailer. In a fantasy world where I was given all the power to remake MacGyver exactly that way that I and I alone wanted to, I'd make it pretty close to the original (e.g. he lives in a houseboat, works for Pete at the Phoenix Foundation, has wilderness adventures, the same music, etc.). I would be excited by the prospects of keeping the show basically the same but having new actors, modern technology, and modern filming -- and I'd feel this way because the original show is my clear favorite of all time so of course I'd want to change as little of it as possible. But I also don't live in the world of ratings, studio heads, and network bosses, and so the version that I just described isn't getting made in today's world.

      That Indiewire article with Peter Lenkov was great and I really appreciate his perspective and his attempt to honor the original series (something that was missing in the first pilot). Whether or not it recaptures the magic, his heart is in the right place.

      Mark, what are some of the warning signs that you noticed? I said this after the first trailer and I still think they need to be careful about not turning MacGyver too much into a caricature (like the comment about tin foil), and while I'm not against some witty banter, I wouldn't mind seeing a more serious tone. I think the stunts in the pilot have the potential to be pretty good (especially with James Wan's experience).

    2. The primary warning sign for me is the "MacGyver by committee" approach, where multiple characters are playing off of each other all hour every week. The central conceit of the original show was a one-man tour de force who was front and center in everything that happened. He may have had semiregular friends and acquaintances who worked their way in and out of some episodes but they were never treated as equals to the lead character. Even on the new "Hawaii Five-O", there are plenty of episodes where McGarrett and Danny aren't working together the entire show, presumably to either give one of the actors a week off or to be able to produce two episodes at the same time. I'd hate to see that situation emerge on the new "MacGyver", where it's even a consideration for Jack Dalton and Wilt Bozer are dealing with a problem together while "MacGyver is off on jury duty for the week" or something like that. It might seem like a small thing but the omnipresence of the lead character was unique to the original series and I'm not sure that's gonna hold with the whole "Team MacGyver" thing.

      Not sure about this whole "MacGyverette" thing either. I think we're generally on the same page though...looking forward to this as a stand-alone series that has great entertainment potential but being extremely skeptical that it will rise to the level of the original in our hearts.