Sunday, October 16, 2016

MacGyver 2016: A Below-Average MacGyver?



Even though it has received largely negative reviews from both tenured critics and TV viewers with a blog, does the new 2016 MacGyver reboot a rather pale comparison to its 1980s era original? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Despite of its moments, the 2016 reboot of MacGyver has largely received a negative reception, mostly by those who are fans of the original TV series that aired from 1985 to 1992. The new Angus “Mac” MacGyver, played by actor Lucas Till, still prefers to use unseemly ancillary objects lying about instead of guns to fight off bad guys due to his inherent ingenuity. But compared to the original Angus “Mac” MacGyver played by Richard Dean Anderson, the acting of Lucas Till on the new MacGyver doesn’t seem convincing enough via his acting that this is a person who prefers to use other ancillary objects though his ingenuity instead of guns to fight off bad guys. 

The new MacGyver does explain the scientific principles behind the unseemly contraptions he builds with ancillary objects to fight off the bad guys but Till’s acting is largely woody and stilted in comparison to Richard Dean Anderson’s delivery in the original MacGyver. Even though I’ve only seen the first four episodes, if the status quo continues in the subsequent series, I think the new Lucas Till MacGyver probably won’t last beyond a single season – but the potential is still there for improvement to make the series as good as the original. I think making Jack Dalton character (played by CSI’s George Eads) less “flakey” than in the original series, the 2016 MacGyver does have potential to go into somewhere unexplored by the original series. Although making the new MacGyver more like a Mission Impossible variant is probably one of the biggest negatives of the reboot when compared to the original. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

MacGyver Versus TSA



Even though this agency was set up way after the famed TV series ended, could MacGyver have successfully circumvented the TSA’s established airport security routine? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Given that MacGyver is white, he already has won half the battle against TSA – and that’s based on actual post 9/11 political climate in America that exists until this day. But would the famed TV super-agent MacGyver have successfully defeated the TSA if it was around back in the 1980s? 

The Transportation Security Agency or TSA was created as a response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. It is now an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States.

The TSA was created in part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, sponsored by Don Young in the United States House of Representatives and Ernest Hollings in the Senate, passed by the 107th US Congress and signed into law by the then US President George W. Bush on November 19, 2001. Originally part of the United States Department of Transportation, the TSA was moved to the Department of Homeland Security on March 9, 2003. 

Imagine a TSA agent asking MacGyver “has your luggage in your sight the whole time?” or “Did you pack your luggage yourself?” or “Any contents of your luggage that can potentially be used as a weapon?” That’s tough given that MacGyver could probably find a way to “throw” that cheap pulp fiction book that he bought in the airport kiosk to within 10-percent of the speed of light which could easily bring down a plane – never mind those paper clips that can potentially be used as a deadly weapon. Forget screening liquids, MacGyver could potentially used whatever is at hand into an unseemly improvised weapon. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Why Did MacGyver Prefer The Swiss Army Knife Instead Of The Leatherman Tool?


Though it doesn’t say in their official websites whether Angus MacGyver or the TV series creator Lee David Zlotoff had a beef with inventor Tim Leatherman, but why does MacGyver prefer to use the Swiss Army Knife instead of the Leatherman Tool?

By: Ringo Bones 

After checking out their official website, it seems that MacGyver TV series creator Lee David Zlotoff doesn’t have a beef with inventor Timothy S. Leatherman and his invention the Leatherman Tool in the hopes of finding out the reason why Angus MacGyver preferred using the Swiss Army Knife instead of the Leatherman Tool. But first and as a benefit to those unfamiliar with both tools that are both worthily capable to be used in any form of “MacGyverism” in bailing one out of a sticky situation. 

The Swiss Army Knife is known in various names in various languages of the countries using it as a standard toolkit of their military. The Swiss Army Knife is called “cocteu Suisse” in French, Schweizer Offiziersmesser (Swiss officer’s knife) in German, Sackmesser in colloquial Swiss German and Coltellino Swizzero in Italian is a brand of pocketknife or multi tool manufactured by Victorinox AG and Wenger SA. The term “Swiss Army Knife” was coined by US soldiers after World War II due to the difficulty they have of pronouncing the tool by its German name. Originating in Ibach, Switzerland, the Swiss Army Knife was first produced in 1891 after the company Karl Elsnor which later became Victorinox – the company that won the contest to produce the Swiss Army’s Model 1890 knife from the previous German manufacturers. 

In the various scenes of the TV series, MacGyver’s most commonly used variant of the Swiss Army Knife was a “Tinker” model from Victorinox but throughout the show, he used several different models of both Victorinox and Wenger brands to match particular tools used in the episodes. Or what Swiss Army Knife variant was in “vogue” during that season of the episode? 

In one episode, MacGyver uses an Orange Peele blade; probably from a Victorinox “Executive.” He may have used an older model “Explorer” from Victorinox later in the series. MacGyver also used the Sportsman variant of the Swiss Army Knife in the episode “Lost Love parts 1 and 2”, the Recruit in the “GX-1” episode and the Climber model in the “Three for the Road” episode. In the episode “Tough Boys”, he uses a Tinker - with the key-ring removed – to unlock a large padlock. 

MacGyver also had a couple of non-production Swiss Army Knife models that were obviously modified specifically for the TV series. In the Wild West era episode “Serenity”, he has a knife with wood panels to stay in setting with that period of the episode. In the “Strictly Business” episode, MacGyver used a knife with the Victorinox shield on the back handle of the knife instead of the front. But the knife seen in the opening of each MacGyver episode is a Wenger as noted by its long keychain. And even though the Leatherman Tool was probably widely available via mail-order catalogues when the first MacGyver TV series aired back in 1985, it is somewhat inextricable why MacGyver chose the Swiss Army Knife over the Leatherman Tool. 

The Leatherman Tool was invented by Timothy S. Leatherman – who later founded and became the chairman and chief executive of the Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. Tim Leatherman came up with the idea of a Boy Scout knife with pliers during a 1975 driving tour in Europe with his wife when he was unable to use his trusty pocket knife (a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife?) to fix his repeatedly malfunctioning car. It took Tim Leatherman several months afterwards to refine his idea and was then granted a patent on his first Leatherman Tool in 1980. Leatherman spent the next few years attempting to market his product to large companies with technical stall such as AT&T but was largely unsuccessful. The tool eventually gained popularity through mail order catalogues by the mid 1980s. Leatherman Tools have a 25-year no questions asked warranty and legend has it that Tim Leatherman was actually saved by his own invention back in 1989 when he used his tool to single-handedly fix his single-engine seaplane after it got damaged while performing an emergency landing in a remote part of Alaska. 

As a MacGyver fan, I find it easier to perform “MacGyverisms” via the Leatherman Tool than the Swiss Army Knife. Although the kind of Swiss Army Knives most MacGyver fans here in the Philippines can afford during the mid to late 1980s are Chinese knock-offs that easily break. Genuine Victorinox and Wenger Swiss Army Knives are far more expensive to own by the average Filipino MacGyver fan and explains why genuine Swiss Army Knives here in the Philippines during the mid 1980s are sold and displayed in business establishments that also sell genuine up-market Swiss watches like Tag Heuer, etc. Though somewhat an unfair comparison, the original genuine Leatherman Tool I got at the time was something I won for free from a radio station contest. But – after all these years - I am still dying to know why Angus MacGyver chose the Swiss Army Knife as his trusty “tool” instead of the Leatherman Tool? 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Will The New MacGyver App Bring In New Fans?

Though this 1980s era primetime TV character is only of significance to anyone over 30 years of age, but will the new MacGyver app give a new lease of life – and new fans – to super-agent Angus MacGyver?

By: Ringo Bones

According to an interview by TMZ on Richard Dean Anderson – the actor who played MacGyver - back in May 21, it seems that Anderson will receive some royalties on the new MacGyver app. But more importantly, it’s not just anyone over 30 years of age that will be more than a bit curious to check out the new app – it also raises the potential for a new generation of fans to be interested in super-agent Angus MacGyver.

Yep, it seems that everyone over 30 years of age will be the most happy to know that Angus MacGyver (though he still probably doesn’t like to be called by his first name because he thinks its “uncool”) has found a second life on the iOS App Store. FairPlay Media Limited has released a few days ago MacGyver Deadly Descent for both Android and iOS devices. The game is based on the primetime hit 1980s television show starring Richard Dean Anderson as a very resourceful and cleaver special agent who can build almost anything with whatever is at hand; though his phobia with guns caused by a childhood accident is probably his only weakness.

The game itself is nothing special in comparison to whatever’s already out there, but it is an official MacGyver release with the blessing of the series creator Lee David Zlotoff. Even though actor Richard Dean Anderson receives royalties, a significant portion of the proceeds will also go to the MacGyver Foundation, which – like the game – encourages people to solve their own problems “using only the resources at hand, particularly in the face of a crisis”. Just like the TV MacGyvers’ The Phoenix Foundation.

MacGyver Deadly Descent is a puzzle game where players must help MacGyver to stop a computer virus that is affecting the top secret D.A.W.N. Laboratories. The game features six different puzzle categories that players must solve to help in the rescue of the scientists who are trapped underground before they run out of air. Though the game is fairly straightforward, a thorough knowledge of the MacGyver TV series – and physical science in general – can be a big help.

Upon release of the MacGyver app, series creator Lee David Zlotoff even issued a message of thanks that goes: “I cannot begin to express humbled I am at the way you have embraced MacGyver as a fun and entertaining character, and how so many of you around the world have been inspired to make him a part of your lives, if not your vocabulary. Never in my wildest dreams when I was writing the pilot could I have imagined what MacGyver would become.”  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is There An African MacGyver?



Believe it or not, the African version of MacGyver had been found a few years ago. How does he compare to the American named Angus MacGyver? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Believe it or not, the African version of MacGyver had been found by TV presenter Jon Stewart in an interview with one of his hosts. Back in October 7, 2009 one of the guests on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart named William Kamkwamba who pitched a book titled The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – about  Kamkwamba’s his experience as a 14-year-old boy in Malawi who created his very own wind generator using “junk” – i.e. disused building materials. 

TV host Jon Stewart then quipped during the course of the interview that the closest America has to the 14-year-old boy from Malawi who built his own wind generator was the fictional TV series character named MacGyver who uses readily available materials to solve immediate problems he currently faces – most of then life-or-death problems needing timely solutions worthy of an action-packed TV series. Unfortunately for America, the real-life MacGyver this time is a 14-year-old boy from Malawi who made his own wind generator using disused construction materials and with an ad hoc circuit breaker made up of surplus iron nails. Maybe William Kamkwamba will from that moment on be nicknamed “Mac Kamkwamba" everytime he visits the United States. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Should There Be A MacGyver Reality TV Show?


Even though there’s been a glut of reality shows in the U.S. primetime TV scene since the Millennium Bug tried to scare us senseless, should there be a “useful” reality TV show based on MacGyver’s genius?

By: Ringo Bones

From the time the Millennium Bug tried to scare us senseless to the years when U.S. President George Dubya Bush came and went, reality shows of differing persuasions – and usefulness – had been a primetime TV staple. But should top TV networks consider a reality TV show that could not only (might) finally pull America out of an economic recession but also start an “intellectual” revolution after almost a decade where ex-President Dubya Bush made dumb sexy in 21st Century America?

For those fortunate enough to remember, there was a fictional (maybe?) chap named Angus MacGyver who almost out of nowhere made an “intellectual” revolution in Ronald Reagan’s America back in 1985 extolling the inherent American genius pioneering daring-do that made the United States the greatest nation for much of the 20th Century. “MacGyverism” even became a buzzword during the famed TV series’ subsequent seasons on using one’s inherent genius to save one’s own bacon during sticky situations. But will it make an “economically viable” reality TV show in the eyes of top TV execs in today’s America grown accustomed to Jersey Shore and other seemingly mindless soft-core-teen-porn based primetime TV realty shows?

We would never know until mainstream TV bigwig executives tries the concept for a season in a toe-in-the-water exercise if “MacGyverism” can still ignite an “intellectual” revolution in America via primetime TV like it did back in the mid-1980s. The question now is: what would we reward the winner of the said reality show that has the most MacGyver-like powers? Maybe leading a team of chemical weapons inspectors to investigate the current civil war in Syria to check if chemical weapons were ever been used during the conflict?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

MacGruber: MacGyver Zeitgeist Parody?

Given that MythBusters have proven that even though some of MacGyver's methods of saving the day - though sound in scientific principle - seldom works in real-life situations, is SNL's MacGruber just a reactionary zeitgeist on MacGyver?

By: Ringo Bones

Every avid TV viewer by now are quite familiar with a Saturday Night Live parody skit called MacGruber poking fun at the iconic TV series whose hero goes by the name of Angus MacGyver even though he's kinda ashamed of his "uncool" first name. But is the poking fun getting more like life imitating art at this point of the game?

MacGyver - as he prefers to be called - became a classic during the latter half of the 1980s where he uses - sometimes - rather esoteric from Joe Public's perspective scientific principles to save the day or to get himself and anyone in distress from certain dire sticky situations. Most unseemly action hero ever?

Unfortunately, this is where MacGruber capitalizes in deconstructing MacGyver in a rather humorous way. Surprisingly, with nary a use of a cowbell. Funny or not, it didn't manage to stop MacGruber from turning into a full-blown feature film.