Scoop: James Wan reviving 1980s action classic
After a few decades and plenty of false starts, the 1980s action hour classic MacGyver is finally rejiggering a revival. CBS is officially putting a new MacGyver series into active development.
Here’s the set-up from production company CBS Studios: “A reimagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he gets recruited into a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.”
The showrunner on the project is CBS veteran Scott Gemmill (NCIS: Los Angeles, The Unit) and executive producers include Michael Clear and Henry Winkler. But it’s the executive producer who would direct the show’s pilot that’s a particularly exciting name: James Wan, of Insidious and Furious 7 fame.
Wan has been trying to get a MacGyver feature film made for awhile now. New Line announced a MacGyver movie back in 2009, but it never quite got off the ground. Wan talked about his take on the project with CraveOnline earlier this year: “I love the concept behind MacGyver, and I love the direction that we were going with it … My initial concept was I wanted to do a young college MacGyver who went to Boston, one of the great universities, who’s really brilliant, right? He’s so smart he could never feel like he fit into a world that is an establishment. So he’s always a bit of an outsider. He’s very crafty, he’s very smart, all kinds of science and mathematics and engineering. I wanted to put my MacGyver story around something like a North by Northwest: He gets blamed for something that he had designed, something really big that’s something everyone wanted, and now someone has weaponized it and everyone’s coming after him.” Wan added that he had to give up the project to take on Furious 7.
MacGyver joins quite a long list of older shows being dusted off and revived, including The X-Files, Full House (as Fuller House), Twin Peaks, The Muppets, Prison Break, and Heroes (as Heroes Reborn).
The original MacGyver starred Richard Dean Anderson and ran for seven seasons on ABC, from 1985 to 1992. There were two made-for-TV movies in the mid-1990s. In 2003, The WB ordered a Young MacGyver pilot starring Jared Padalecki but passed on giving it a series order. Then, of course, there was Will Forte’s Saturday Night Live parody, MacGruber, which inspired its own feature film in 2010 — something the actual series never managed.
For a refresher, here are the original opening credits. Warning: They are 100 percent pure unfiltered 1980s TV, and good luck getting this theme song out of your head: