After the first episode of “MacGyver,” our sentiment was that this was a show that tried, and mostly failed, to replicate the charm of the original. Ultimately, it felt like a series straddling the line between being an homage and a CBS procedural-by-numbers.
With the second episode on Friday night, we started to get more of a sense that the series was starting to find its footage as a fun action with a wide assortment of comedic elements to go along with it. This felt more in the vein of a “Scorpion” than any other show on the network, which to us is a good thing since you’ve got quirky characters, crazy procedural elements, and a ton of explosions to go along with it. This show is best suited being a little like a “Chuck” or ironically a “Burn Notice,” a show that certainly had quite a few things in common with the original Richard Dean Anderson series.
The main focus of Friday’s episode was not so much about the title character; instead, it was about his partner Jack and the hope to rescue his former CIA partner (and former romantic partner) Sarah (Amy Acker) in South America. As you would expect, this proved chaotic, and MacGyver had to use everything from makeshift night-vision to a mechanism to topple an enemy motorbike made out of wrenches and netting. While we do at times think that the narration is unnecessary, the witty commentary from Lucas Till during it made up for it somewhat.
Another smart move in here was including Acker in the first place, given that she was excellent on “Person of Interest” and she brought a certain touch of credibility to this show. Also, there’s a perfectly good opportunity we could see her again, and she’s got the potential to return down the road. Sarah’s engaged to another man, so that does seem to hamper any hopes at a reconciliation with Jack for now.
As for the negatives, the show still needs to find more for the super-funny Justin Hires, and we do think you could scale back some of the resources for Angus even more. Given that he is relatively young, we could benefit from some flashbacks soon to further understand how he got these skills so quickly in life. It’s almost like Oliver Queen, who became a superhero (one without powers) relatively early in life; when someone becomes so extraordinary in an era of sameness, you wanna understand why.
The episode ended tonight with MacGyver still transfixed to a certain extent on Nikki (who has an alter ego of Alice Hunter based on a passport), which we presume will be the main long-term story this season. Hopefully, we’ll dive deeper into that soon. For now, we enjoyed episode 2 far and away more than the pilot; if the remainder of the series is like this, we at least know we’re in for a fun sort of escapism on Friday nights. Grade: B.