© by Gerald So | G_SO at YAHOO dot COM | 5:30 A.M.
Over the years, there have been many rumors and at least two unaired pilots attempting to reboot the 1985–92 classic MacGyver. The version that finally aired on CBS last night comes from Peter Lenkov, who previously helped reboot Hawaii Five-0 to six seasons and counting of moderate success.
Exec-produced by Lee David Zlotoff and Henry Winkler, the new MacGyver shows some of the ol' heart, even if Mac's supporting cast has been tweaked: Meet Jack Dalton (George Eads), Mac's gun-toting, ex-Delta operator backup; and the boss, Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt).
The pilot sees MacGyver infiltrate a Lake Como party in search of a biological weapon for sale. The mission goes sideways, and Mac is forced to hand over the weapon only to see his analyst girlfriend, Nikki Carpenter (Tracy Spiridakos), shot.
After three months recovery, Mac and Jack go after the bio-weapon again, recruiting new analyst Riley (Tristin Mays) out of prison. I've buried the lede long enough: Does Lucas Till pull off MacGyver? I'd say so, most importantly Mac's sheer earnestness that inspires characters like Riley, who have even a shred of decency, to do the right thing.
I'll generalize my criticism: the show overloaded me with information, from Mac's voiceover to pop-up text telling me what Mac saw that he could use, e.g. paper clip, light bulb filament, etc. This isn't an irreparable problem. The voiceover waned in later seasons of the classic.
Tellingly, the new MacGyver was scheduled in the little-watched Friday 8:00 P.M. slot—Firefly, anyone?—but I've got nothing better to do the next few Fridays.