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EXCLUSIVE: MacGyver reboot is updating storylines but won't leave OG MacGyver behind

Shanee Edwards is a screenwriter who earned her master's degree at UCLA Film School. She recently won the Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer. Her TV pilot, Ada and the Machine, is cur...

MacGyver execs spill the biggest change between the old and new show

Reboots are in fashion this fall — The Exorcist, Lethal Weapon and The Rocky Horror Picture Show are just some of the familiar titles getting remade for the small screen, so it's not surprising that MacGyver is also in the mix. But does the scrappy hunk, who's skilled at surviving any deadly situation using duct tape, tin foil and a paper clip, resonate with today's millennial-minded, tech-focused audience? OMG, yes!

MacGyver execs spill the biggest change between the old and new show
Image: CBS

The action starts right away in the first episode, as Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till, Havok from the X-Men movies), infiltrates an upscale party in search of a canister containing a 30,000-year-old virus that may soon be deployed as a biological weapon. There's lots of MacGyver-style improvisation involving analog ingenuity to bypass today's high-tech security systems followed by a boat chase, then a few major twists you won't see coming, giving the franchise a fresh feel. The show is high-energy, family-friendly fun that is sure to use its Swiss Army knife-centered plots to carve out a niche on Friday nights.

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The biggest difference between the old show that starred Richard Dean Anderson and ran from 1985 to 1992 is that MacGyver is now part of a team. Former CIA agent Jack Dalton (George Eads) plays Mac's "muscle," computer hacker Riley Davis (Tristin Mays) comes on board to solve the digital stuff and Mac's ice-queen boss Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt) is there to keep everyone in line.

MacGyver execs spill the biggest change between the old and new show
Image: CBS

In our interview with MacGyver creator, Lee Zlotoff, he told us that bringing MacGyver back in 2016 has special importance that goes beyond just trying to grind out another hit show.

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"I think MacGyver is the perfect icon for this century," said Zlotoff. "He's not about 'how quick can I reach a gun and kill the bad guy?' He's about 'How do I figure out how to use what I have to turn it into what I need?'"

In the era when there's an app for everything and our phones have become an extra appendage, MacGyver is an excellent reminder that the more we rely on technology, the more vulnerable we become when that technology fails. MacGyver uses his superpowers of problem-solving and is a role model when it comes to good old American ingenuity.

MacGyver also approaches problems with humor and humility, something Zlotoff feels is also important in modern times. "A laughing and open mind is scientifically more apt to come up with an inventive solution than a frightened and closed mind."

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Many fans of the old show are hoping Richard Dean Anderson will appear on new show, but at this point, it doesn't seem likely. Anderson wrote this note on his blog:

"And all I can say is, I'm not considering being a part of a project that has overlooked the insanely LOYAL FANS of the original character and has proceeded without considering how and why they all became and STAYED loyal fans…"

But Zlotoff is as baffled by the note as we are. "I know Peter Lenkov, who's the new showrunner/executive producer, has reached out to him on numerous occasions, and so far he hasn't wanted to play. It’s a shame. It would be nice if he did. I don't think CBS or Peter was dismissive of the fans. To the contrary, I hope Richie comes around. That's all I can say."

We hope "Richie" is up for at least making a cameo — after all, what does he have to lose? There's plenty of duct tape for everyone.

MacGyver airs Fridays at 8/7c on CBS.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

MacGyver execs spill the biggest change between the old and new show
Image: Nick
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