|Lucas Till is CBS' new 21st-Century MacGyver.|
For decades after the original MacGyver hung up his tool belt, the character’s very name has remained as a verb in our pop culture lexicon. This fall, CBS will bring “MacGyver-ing” – meaning the creative use of science to escape a sticky situation – back to the tip of everyone’s tongue.
“We know just which touchstones to hit and boxes to check to make our new MacGyver satisfying to fans of the [1985-92] original, and yet keep it slick and modern to entice new fans, too,” says the 2016 show’s executive producer Peter Lenkov, who successfully conquered the reboot once before with Hawaii Five-0. To that end, Lenkov promises at least two “MacGyver-isms” per episode – and a reprise of the character traits that made MacGyver unique as a crimefighter.
“So many shows today solve every crime with a keystroke, but MacGyver does things differently,” Lenkov explains. “He’s a guy who can get out of any situation without having to pull a gun or throw a punch, and that’s fresh in the marketplace today. I love the fact that, unlike any other hero on TV, his superpower is his brain.”
Embodying the leading man whom Lenkov calls “the best-looking science geek you’ll ever meet” is Lucas Till, who has already earned his heroic stripes playing Havok, most recently in X-Men: Apocalypse. He’s joined by former CSI star George Eads as the quippy ex-CIA agent Jack Dalton, a character who made recurring appearances in the original series but now emerges more in the forefront as a regular member of MacGyver’s team.
Although he was born late in the original series’ run, Till had caught it in reruns, and was soon a devoted fan. With a background seemingly tailor-made for the character – Till’s mother is a chemist, and his father in the military – the actor has quickly become comfortable spouting chemical terms and working with improvised gadgets; recently, in fact, he wowed friends by sparking a flame with just a gum wrapper and 12-volt battery. It’s a party trick he learned from his dad, whom friends had long ago nicknamed “MacGyver.”
“Growing up, my dad would hijack some of my school projects that needed to be ‘MacGyvered,’ I guess you’d say. And I’d end up walking into school with a Pinewood derby car that I really didn’t have anything to do with,” Till remembers with a laugh. “My mom had been the one to take me to most of my auditions as a kid, and to understand the ins and outs of my coming up as an actor.”
“But now,” he adds, “ever since I got MacGyver, my dad has not only told all his friends, but he’s called me every day with a new idea to put on the show.”
Fridays at 8PM Eastern
Begins September 23