It’s pretty amazing that the reboot of this venerable 80s show — which lasted seven seasons and only ended when star Richard Dean Anderson told TV Guide, “The only reason it went off the air was that everybody was ready to move on. I was physically exhausted and had no life.”
In the new series, Lucas Till plys Angus “Mac” MacGyver, an undercover government agent for the Phoenix Foundation, a covert agency that the rest of the world believes is a think tank. An Army EOD technician, Mac prefers to use non-lethal means to stop his enemies and excels, as always, at solving problems with unique scientific feats.
The new version of the show was created by Peter M. Lenkov — who created the comic RIPD that the movie is based on — and takes place inside the same universe as his other two shows, Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-O. Lenkov also wrote Demolition Man, Son In Law and the second and third Universal Soldier films. A sad thing to report is that he was removed from all of the CBS shows he created in 2020 because it was said that he fostered a “toxic work environment,” with Lucas Till telling Vanity Fair, “I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and I am fine with hard work. But the way Peter treats people is just unacceptable. I was suicidal that first year on the show, because of the way he made me feel. But the way he’s treated the people around me — that’s just my breaking point.”
But a positive thing is that the series is actually pretty fun to watch. I wish that it had been a better experience for the people making it. Horror fans will also enjoy seeing appearances in season 4 from some of their favorite actors like Keith David, Peter Weller, Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project) and Tobin Bell. The Tenderloins (James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, and Brian Quinn), who you may know from Impractical Jokers, also appear as waiters in one episode.
This season also finds the Phoenix Foundation being rebuilt as a privately funded entity to go up against CODEX, a secretive organization that is coordinating multiple catastrophes to get the attention of world leaders. They also possess something called File 47, which is about the end of the world. Any time the team gets close to the truth, the agent from that group always commits suicide rather than reveal their plan.
There’s even an episode with Mac loses his short-term memory and must undergo a dangerous treatment that sends his brain back in time, where he meets numerous people from his past and the past of CODEX, such as Thomas Alva Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, his mother, his evil self and even Nikolai Tesla, who helps him regain his memory and teaches him the secrets of Shiva, a superweapon he’s created.
Season 4 moves at a quick clip and it’s pretty cool that there’s an underlying story arc throughout the episodes. You can catch the DVD box set, which has just been released from Lionsgate and CBS STudios.