Improvisation is the Plan in Second Season of MACGYVER on DVD

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MacGyver Season 2

MACGYVER was one of those classic 80s shows that are often imitated but never duplicated. Attempts to make movies of THE A-TEAM never took off, and remakes of KNIGHT RIDER just didn't have staying power.

But this new iteration of MACGYVER, named for the titular lead character who can cobble together miracles from junk found laying around, is different. For one thing, it doesn't try to exactly copy the original series. Okay, yes, some of the characters are taken from the old series -- certainly Angus MacGyver, portrayed by LUCAS TILL (MONSTER TRUCKS), Jack Dalton (YOUNG JUSTICE's GEORGE EADS), as well as the villainous Murdoc -- done oh-so-creepily by DAVID DASTMALCHIAN (THE FLASH, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP). And, yes, it's all about an extra-governmental think tank agency that sends in a team to pull off impossible retrievals and rescues.

But this version of MACGYVER feels different. It's a team that feels like a family led by the secretive and assertive Madeline Webber (BOSTON LEGAL's MEREDITH EATON). Adding talent to the team are spy-in-training Will Bozer (JUSTIN HIRES) and super-hacker Riley Davis (TRISTAN MAYS, SUPERGIRL, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES). And if the team wasn't already big enough, the first episode of this third season adds yet another player, master interrogator Samantha Cage (ISABEl LUCAS).

Each episode follows a formula that works. You open with Mac and another team member, usually uber-Texan Jack Dalton, in the middle of an impending death, with Mac feverishly working to pull out a win. We jump from this straight to the next case, often without knowing how the escape got pulled off, only left content in the knowledge that they did indeed escape. The episodes are, for the most part, self-contained adventures, with subplots threading through them that arc across the season. The chief subplots of this second season include the ever-present threat of Murdoc, a sociopathic assassin who wants his son back -- and Mac dead! Above even that, however, is Mac's search for the father that abandoned him when he was 10, following a trail of clues and encountering a web of deceptions.

The series excels at being fun to watch, combining action and humor like the best 80s adventure series. What's more, the show emphasizes on more than one occasion that this is more than a team -- it's a family, and they relate to each other that way, making them a more cohesive unit. My only real regret is that they did not pull in RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON to play the role of MacGyver's estranged father, even though TATE DONOVAN (THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE) pulls off the role admirably.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0