Hit or Sh**: CBS’s MACGYVER

In this Crossfader series, our intricate and complex rating system will tell you definitively whether new television pilots are worth your valuable time. We call it: HIT OR SH**.

macgyver

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The expected audience for the network television drama has grown really old. That’s the only possible explanation for the greenlighting of MACGYVER. Only the remaining baby boomers could possibly be so technologically illiterate and easily impressed that they could find MACGYVER compelling. There are exactly zero original frames in this show, the acting is thoroughly wooden, and it’s just so goddamn boring. Like their friends at FOX and LETHAL WEAPON, CBS is placing its chips on America’s memberberries addiction.

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Still got six weeks

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For those of you who didn’t bother to find out what TV your parents used to watch, the premise of the show is that MacGyver is a badass who doesn’t need a gun because he builds weapons out of his environment. They signal this during the show via obnoxious floating text that hovers in front of the object it’s describing. The first of these scenes has MacGyver (Lucas Till) take a fingerprint with soot and tape (which ends up being unreadable) and the second has him set off a smoke alarm by putting tinfoil in chemicals. I’d think a lighter and a rag would accomplish that with less fucking floating text, but I guess they needed to spend that graphics budget on something. These are supposed to be the scenes that make the show original, and two thirds of them were entirely pointless.

Till turns in an acceptable performance as MacGyver, but he doesn’t do nearly enough to carry the megatonnes of dead weight that are the script and his fellow spies. His sidekick Jack Dalton (George Eads) has some of the most canned delivery I’ve ever seen on television, the director of operations Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt) is a clone of M from James Bond, and the hacker/tech expert/wild card-type Riley Davis (Tristin Mays) only exists to provide technobabble that moves the plot along. She’s the most convincing proof of the fact that this show is meant for the 65-80 crowd; her technobabble is so poorly written that even art students like me can tell that what she’s saying makes no sense at all.

mr robot rami

She hacks every webcam in the world in one scene… Didn’t it take MR. ROBOT at least a season to do that?

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I tried my very best to approach this show with as empty of a head as possible. I excused the cliché writing, I excused the predictable plot, and I excused the utterly nonsensical side characters, because based on my understanding of the show, the entire purpose is that this MIT graduate with military training solves crimes with his mind rather than a firearm. But every “genius” manipulation of local resources is matched by a standard issue fight scene complete with gratuitous shaky cam. If MacGyver’s supposed to be a mindful badass, why does he end up having to do the same shit as every other dumb jock in his genre?

Even if it’s meant to be taken as thoughtless thrills that allow us to turn our brains off and enjoy some fireworks, MACGYVER completely misses its mark. It manages to be terrible in almost every aspect, but does so in a way so thoroughly bland that it doesn’t even benefit from the trainwreck effect. There is no reason to watch this show.

Verdict: Sh**

MACGYVER airs on Friday on CBS

Dan Blomquist

Dan Blomquist is a guest contributor for Crossfader and writes about important things sometimes, but mostly about television. He believes that memes are the future and that free will is an illusion.

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