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A Family Review of MacGyver

Nancy Lublin

Originally published by Nancy Lublin on LinkedIn: A Family Review of MacGyver

About a year and a half ago, we were on vacation...and there was a broken bathroom. The fix-it-guy was using duct tape, a coffee can, a tissue box, and gravity to save the potty. Our Spanish was horrible. His English was worse. "Que pasa?" we said. And he answered "MacGyver" (but it sounded like Macgeeever.) And thus was born a new family obsession.

Over the last year, we have watched over 100 episodes of the original show. Yep. We are big big fans.

Why we Love MacGyver

MacGyver is one smart dude. With some sunglasses, nail polish remover, and a lightbulb he proved the growers were using an illegal substance on the grapes. One time, with a hospital needle and some tubing, he made a blow dart to take out the bad guys! He can catch a fish with just a bubble gum wrapper! Our kids think this guy is awesome.

Mom likes that MacGyver never uses guns. (Correction from 9 year old: well, sometimes he uses parts of guns to make cool contraptions.)

Its a kid-friendly show. No boobs. No cursing. Some good lessons about friendship, family, and having a non-quitting spirit. (Warning: my 9 year old didn't like the kissing scenes in those very early episodes.)

Also, worth noting that some big careers started on the original show: Cuba Gooding Jr, Teri Hatcher, and Mayim Bialik (as the rich kid "Lisa") all had recurring roles.

Does the New MacGyver Honor the Original?

Yes. It seems this new (Friday night on CBS) MacGyver is the grandson of the original, Angus "Bud" MacGyver. He carries a pocket knife like the original. His hair is a bit too long like the original (but no mullet.) And he still doesn't like guns. (Mom is bothered by the new MacGyver's mole on his neck and thinks he should get it checked by a doctor soon.)

Some of the old beloved characters are in this new show. The kid favorite is Jack. The Phoenix Foundation is still MacGyver's employer. Spoiler alert: Murdoc is one of the recurring bad guys.

One thing that is new? Technology! The show has integrated modern technology by introducing a new character: Riley. She "hacks all the tech stuff" says my 9 year old, but its nice to see all the non-computer stuff is still the most important part of the show.

So, Which MacGyver is Better? New or Old???

Surprise twist ending!!!! We actually like the new show more than the original. (Except Dad. He prefers the nostalgia. But whatever. The other 3 of us prefer the new one...)

Jack is really funny now. Its nice to have other characters besides just MacGyver. He is no longer solo. "He really works with other people--and we like team work," says the 9 year old.

The new women characters are awesome, says our 11 year old daughter. For example, the new Pete Thornton is Patricia Thornton...and she is smart and kicks butt. She runs the Phoenix Foundation. (9 year old chimes in: And even one of the bad guys is a girl bad guy...and is smart and tough.) The original shows had some women characters too but they were lame, whiney, not useful in a crisis, and wore impractical shoes.

In the first few episodes of this new version, they include captions on the screen explaining the gadgets. That was really helpful. Because we like learning the science stuff. We hope they keep doing that.


Our hope is that the new MacGyver never jumps the shark like the old one. Like, no flashback episodes, please. No dreams. No UFO episodes (like season 6, episode 10. Ugh. That one was a big disappointment.) And, please, no Christmas angel storyline this time.

One request? Richard Dean Andersen, we miss you! Please make an appearance in the new series. MacGyver's love of his grandfather was really awesome in the original (except for the episode when he died and Mac broke out of heaven...oy. That was another jumped shark moment.) We're hoping for Mac and his grandfather Mac to build a bomb together soon.