My disdain for remakes and updates are pretty well known here. I cannot stand how Hollywood decides to just throw away any attempt at original thought and just reboot something that was popular once. Case in point, Michael Bay and… well, Michael Bay. It’s like someone is holding a doll with the head of Jason Voorhees, the razor gloved hand of Freddy Krueger, the other hand holding Leather Face’s chainsaw, the shell of a ninja turtle, and the legs of Optimus Prime. Then the therapist asks me where on the doll did Michael Bay inappropriately touch my childhood.
However, looking at the small screen, I could see a reason to update one of my favorite shows. Actually, it was all because of this 10 minute long advert for a Mercedes-Benz Citan.
MacGyver and the New Mercedes-Benz Citan
Yes, that’s Richard Dean Anderson, aka MacGyver. He’s strapped on the Swiss Army Knife one more time in an advert for a handyman vehicle from Mercedes-Benz. And who else could play the ultimate handyman but Mac?
OK, the production value is pretty much on par with a movie on SyFy starring half the cast from Stargate SG-1 and half from the guest stars list of Supernatural, but the spirit is still there. The mullet is missing but the wit and style that made MacGyver the biological father of Burn Notice is there. There’s even Mac’s voice over narration which, to be honest, shows signs of RDAs 63 years.
I’ll admit, it’s sad to see your heroes get older. Your father is mortal, Han Solo is now a septuagenarian, and MacGyver, while still able to deactivate a murderous robot and thwart knock out gas with a garbage bag, probably can’t find the TV remote or grasp the concept of a DVR these days. But, how cool would it be to see Mac back at the Phoenix foundation, taking on bad guys with really bad wigs, accents, and aim… and that’s just his arch nemesis Murdoc. It could work.
Hollywood would need to check their egos at the door, though. They tried to pull a James Bond Jr. with Jared Padalecki playing Young MacGyver, Mac’s nephew, in 2003. It was a pilot which, thankfully, never got picked up. They just don’t get it, do they?
But in my world, the one where Jar Jar Binks never existed, Indiana Jones is still riding out of the desert with his father, and Optimus Prime and G.I. Joe were only ever in the theater as cartoons, Macgyver in 201X could exist. RDA would have to be back on board and in the field, even though he is in his 60s. Yes, he’d be older than Dana Elcar was at the beginning of his run as Pete Thornton, but RDA could still do it, if he can get into serious shape. I don’t know about bringing on a child element in that the kid would be barely out of high school. The doomed continuation starred Jarred Padalecki as his nephew. However, a younger, more hot headed agent might have a good foil in the pacifist Mac showing them to use their brains instead of a gun.
Of course, the problem these days is the climate for such topics. Towards the end of MacGyver’s run the episodes began to take on an “Environmental Cause Of the Week” feel, having Mac try and save the world from ourselves instead of Latin American dictators or crazed megalomaniacs with daddy issues. How do you reintroduce a hero that hates guns and abhors unnecessary violence in the post 9/11, gun control debate American landscape? And how does he take on international issues where there is much more scrutiny and the world is under a 24/7 news media cycle microscope? Can that much suspension of disbelief exist?
The easy part is the MacGyverisms. Those are universal, though I would suggest hiring the guys from Mythbusters to test out the tricks to see if they can work. Today’s audience is much smarter than it was 20 years ago, before Google existed.
Still, a show on USA or TBS could work given the right ingredients, maybe some duct tape, a paper clip, and a Swiss Army Knife. No mullet Required.