I’ve not seen the original tv series in years – I’m guessing the 80s politics of the whole thing would probably make my head explode now – but the Richard Dean Anderson incarnation of MacGyver was right up there with The A-Team in the young Miss Cregg’s essential childhood weekend viewing, so I didn’t really need much persuasion to give the first episode of this reboot a go. Fool me once, though…. Getting me to watch episode two would probably take thumbscrews and a blowtorch.
My God. I’ve watched a lot of terrible tv over the years, but not since the heady days of Vexed have I seen something as utterly wretched as New MacGyver’s opening scene: bland, blond twentysomething “Mac,” a smug, seemingly omni-talented young Gary Stu with a face like Son of Action Man and a haircut like Mum of Barbie, sidles his way out of a flash car on the shores of Lake Como, adjusts the sleeves of his spotless white tuxedo, and asks his adoring (spoiler: or maybe not) girlfriend/ analyst/ my God, girl, you can do better: “How do I look?” At this point, I wonder if things can possibly get worse. Then girlfriend/ analyst etc replies “Yummy!” and I have my answer.
That’s the tone set, then: stroke-inducing levels of smirking (I have never seen so much smirking in my LIFE, and I’ve watched Shondaland shows) are the order of the hour, as this junior photofit of an action hero dashes about fighting unnamed goons and making DNA kits out of elastic bands or whatever, while girlfriend/analyst etc and BFF/brother in arms, played by actual adult George Eads (Dude. Why?), alternate between hi-fiving his awesomeness and trying to convince the viewing audience this gurning chucklehead is a cross between Batman and an entire team of Navy Seals.
I know I’ve said it before, but: MY GOD.
As for the plot, I can’t imagine anyone caring what happens to any of these grinning fools – any sympathy I might have for girlfriend/ analyst etc or George Eads for being stuck with the insufferable “Mac” is immediately extinguished by how much they seem to love him – but, for what it’s worth, it’s hi-energy, hi-stupidity “bantz”-tastic procedural-by-numbers: blah blah biological weapon, blah blah Vinnie Jones?!, blah blah girlfriend’s dead, blah blah girlfriend’s not, blah blah cheesy roommate, blah blah stern-but-not-really boss, followed by blah blah save the free world with a paper clip. What’s particularly annoying is that a lot of this could have been cheesy, entertaining fun – replacement analyst Riley for instance is actually a decent, watchable character, or she would be if she weren’t surrounded by asshats – but the dialogue is so tooth-achingly embarrassing in its attempt to appeal to the kidz, it’s more like being stuck in an endless episode of Blind Date than high-watermark-for-this-type-of-thing Blindspot. Long story short: New MacGyver is unspeakably, mortifyingly bad tv and I hated it.