MacGyver is Decent Enough to Become a Staple on CBS

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MacGyver Series Premiere Plot Summary:

Angus “Mac” MacGyver is an MIT graduate, former military bomb squad expert, and secret agent. He along with his loudmouth gunner Jack (George Eads), and rogue hacker Riley (Tristin Mays) must stop a criminal (Vinnie Jones) from selling a biological weapon.

Watching the premiere of CBS’ reboot of MacGyver reminded me of eating at a chain restaurant — it was quick, it served its purpose, but it’s ultimately forgettable.

This isn’t to say that MacGyver is bad, but I’m also not ready to shout its praises from on high either. It’s the kind of fairly passable entertainment that CBS has been churning out for the past decade plus. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if MacGyver became a staple of the network’s Friday night line-up. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if it got the axe in a few weeks.

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As the show’s titular hero, former X-Men star Lucas Till is hit-and-miss. This isn’t a reflection on his performance, as Till is perfectly serviceable in the drama and action department while he’s absolutely charming when it comes to the humorous aspects of the character. The issue with Till is that every time you look at him, you think he just wandered off the set of CBS’ other “smart ops” show, Scorpion. He has such a babyface, and his character is played so young that sometimes it’s really hard to believe he’s this insanely talented secret agent, who also is an MIT grad, and a military vet. He looks more like someone who should be learning his craft, not a master of it.

MacGyver’s, however, strengths lie in the capable hands of former CSI staple, George Eads, and his chemistry with his co-stars. Eades was so stoic on CBS’ flagship procedural, so it’s nice to see him cut a loose as Jack Dalton, the wise-cracking gunman, who constantly has MacGyver’s back. Eads is given the best pieces of dialogue, and his action sequences make him look like an absolute boss.

Eads and Till have a natural chemistry, and the show could really eliminate all the other characters in the series, and just make this a buddy show.

The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable in this episode, which isn’t a good thing because the series is definitely trying to emphasize both Sandrine Holt’s Patricia Thornton (MacGyver’s boss), and Tristin Mays’ hacker Riley as vital parts of the series.

The storytelling also hinders the pilot. Everything is a bit too rushed, and a bit too convenient. There’s a “big” reveal halfway through the episode that is a really groan-inducing moment. Had this reveal been saved for a later episode it would’ve had more of an impact, but doing it in the premiere just fell flat. We aren’t invested in any of the characters yet, so having this big, emotional moment really didn’t have the impact the show was obviously looking for.

Listen, MacGyver’s fine. It’s a decent show you can put on, and push to the background on a Friday night. It’s not a game changer, nor is it a complete disaster either. It fits in perfectly with CBS’ formula for hit dramas like Scorpion and NCIS. So if these shows are ones you enjoy, you’ll dig MacGyver. If not, well then you’re really not missing anything.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be seven years old in 2016 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He currently works as a project manager in the telecom world, and is a freelance writer for NJ.com. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites