MacGyver: The reboot I didn’t know I wanted

Strickly Speaking - Kasie Strickland
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So, I’m going to start this off with a bit of a confession: I’ve been watching a lot of MacGyver lately.

Don’t judge.

The original show, which starred my then-future-husband Richard Dean Anderson, ran from 1985-1992 — just long enough to capture this pre-teen’s heart. I’ve seen every episode — multiple times — and am fairly confident, if pressed, I could build a hot air balloon out of bed sheets and an Easter basket in order to escape North Korea.

I was crushed when the show was cancelled.

What would Anderson do without the Phoenix Foundation? Well, as it turned out, he (in true MacGyver fashion, mind you) did just fine. He landed a starring role on Stargate SG-1 and swapped out his pocket knife and roll of duct tape for some high-tech gadgetry to continue saving the world.

I, in the meantime, decided we weren’t meant to be soul mates after all. I went to high school and learned to carry on with my life without him.

But, thanks largely to streaming television services, I have rediscovered my old flame. Or, at least an updated version of him.

I subscribed to the CBS All Access app for one reason: Picard. When I heard there was going to be a stand alone show about the USS Enterprise’s Earl Grey sipping, baldest Captain ever, I knew I had to see it.

(Wow, I’m just laying all my nerd cards out on the table here … )

Plus, when you order the app, you have access to all of CBS’ previously aired series as well — including MacGyver.

Win win.

I binge-watched “Mac” finagle his way out of sticky situations for a little over a week before finally, in the corner of the screen, as the end credits were rolling on the series finale, there it was: A little box saying “Other shows we think you’ll enjoy.”

It was the “new” MacGyver, because they had re-booted the show in 2016.

Inwardly, I scoffed. But, it was late, the kids were asleep and my real life not-Richard-Dean-Anderson husband was busy on the phone … Why not give it a try?

You guys, I loved it — but I’m gonna rag on it a little.

The first thing I noticed was Mac was way younger than he should be. Like, early 20s. But, maybe in the original show he was supposed to be in his 20s too and people just look a lot younger to me nowadays. Or maybe it’s because I’m almost 40 and not in high school anymore. Either way, he looked really young. Certainly not old enough to have “attended/dropped out of MIT and joined the Army to diffuse bombs” on his resume.

Then it hit me: he’s the guy from the re-vamped X-Men movies! He was the “not Cyclops” guy! You know, the one who was exactly like Cyclops but shot his lasers out of his chest instead of having to wear those dumb red glasses everywhere? The Summers brothers? Cousins? I don’t know, I’m getting sidetracked.

Anyway, I recognized him. I also immediately decided I liked him in the role.

MacGyver: check.

Next up, Jack Dalton. In the original series, Dalton was kind of a screw up. He was a pilot and Mac’s friend, but his bumbling ineptitude caused more trouble than he was worth. In the few cases where he did manage to save the day, it was usually by complete accident. But in the new version, Dalton is an ex-commando-type tough guy — complete with a sweet Texas charm. He’s funny, a little silly, but loyal and (most importantly) can take care of himself. I liked the updates to the character and I enjoyed how the writers made Mac and Jack a team, as opposed to it being a one-man-show. Also, it was nice to see George Eads from CSI do something other than lift prints and get yelled at by Gil Grissom.

Dalton: check.

Dana Elcar played Peter Thornton in the original. But, despite being named “Dana,” there was nothing remotely feminine about the character. He was overweight, balding and had a bit of a bureaucratic vibe to him. As Director of The Phoenix Foundation, Thornton was MacGyver’s boss. He’s the one who sent him on all the missions and had to deal “with Washington” — whatever that meant. Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when I learned the sultry brunette in the black dress was “Patricia Thornton.”

Ahhh, I see what you did there … Tricky. But no, I don’t like it. Come back, Dana!

Thornton: *makes buzzer sound*

Now, I’m only on season two so I can’t go too far into detail yet. (Also, I don’t want to reveal any spoilers.) But from what I’ve seen of the show so far, it’s a fun watch. I’ve enjoyed seeing the father/daughter relationship between Jack and Riley (the team’s resident computer hacker) take shape and I liked the (re)introduction of Murdock, Mac’s arch-nemesis.

Bozer, an entirely new character, also adds a sweet naivety to the show and provides some nice comic relief when Dalton isn’t around. I hope they don’t kill him off any time soon.

The show itself is up to season four now, so, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve still got some catching up to do.

Also, I think I may need to up my duct tape supply …

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Strickly Speaking

Kasie Strickland

Kasie Strickland is the managing editor for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at kstrickland@cmpapers.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion. Also, she doesn’t work for CBS, y’all.

Kasie Strickland is the managing editor for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at kstrickland@cmpapers.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion. Also, she doesn’t work for CBS, y’all.