The Meg is Closer to ‘Jaws’ Than ‘Sharknado’

MOVIE REVIEW When Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened in theaters in 1975, it took the world by storm. Not only was the movie hugely popular as it was genuinely scary, it actually affected society in a strange way. Audiences began to have an irrational fear of sharks even when swimming at a lake. When Jaws 2 came to theaters three years later, everyone knew the catchphrase, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” Since then, it’s been hard for movie studios to be able to drum up the same excitement with their own Jaws knock-offs. Shark movies became a joke. Even Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were met with disdain (and with good reason). But sharks are still a popular subject, just not one that we take very seriously anymore.
This brings us to next big shark movie, The Meg which judging from the trailers alone, looks like another campy knock-off movie and while it indeed is campy, it isn’t as much as you would think. When comparing movies, The Meg is closer to Jaws tha…

New ‘MacGyver’ is a Disappointment

George Eads and Lucas Till in "MacGyver", TV show review
George Eads and Lucas Till in MacGyver (CBS)
Though reminiscent of the original show, a lot has changed with CBS’ re-imagining of MacGyver. Like the old series, the new MacGyver still stars a special agent who uses his wits and miscellaneous objects to get out of tough fixes, but like EVERY CBS drama these days, there is also plenty of special computer tech too, and because of this, it just feels like another crime show spinoff.

Despite a fun story setup, CBS’ new MacGyver series is a disappointment and will probably only survive cancellation because it airs on Friday nights at 8:00 p.m., prime time for families to watch. In fact, family viewing may be the show’s saving grace. Though there are a few references to sex in the pilot episode airing tonight, they are brief, but completely unnecessary and offensive to parents. However, I suspect  that CBS wasn’t aiming to make this series a family show, which is a shame because it could be good have been a good one.

The biggest change from the original show is that Angus “Mac” MacGyver (Lucas Till) is working with a team which includes Jack Dalton (George Eads from CSI) who is the “muscle” of the show and spends half of his air time saying “Mac!” (for that matter, MacGyver spends a lot of time saying “Jack!” a lot too. Hmmm…Mac and Jack…how cute.) 

Lucas seems too young for the part of MacGyver and too cocky as well, but I do like his relationship with Jack. According to the show’s narration, the pair having been working together “for years” but MacGyver is only in his 20’s while Jack is in his late 40’s at least. Maybe it will be revealed that Jack is really Mac’s uncle?

The pair also works with Nikki Carpenter (Tracy Spiridakos) and Riley Davis (Tristin Mays) fresh out of prison, who are computer hackers who can watch MacGyver’s every move which seems to contradict the fact that what makes MacGyver great is that he is able to get out of tight jams on his own. Their boss, Sandrine Holt (Patricia Thornton) is the all business left wheel of the series. The show also gives Mac a roommate, Wilt Bozer (Justin Hires) who is clueless about what Mac really does for a living.

Now while the show is unrealistic and features over-the-top rip offs from better adventure movies, the basic premise of Mac saving the world from bad guys while creating really big explosions is still fun. But the thing that could kill this new series the quickest is the bad writing of dialogue. Let me give a few examples:

Mac: “How do I look?”
Nikki: “Yummy.”

Jack: “We’ve got to get moving. Someone’s coming down the chimney and it ain’t Santa Claus.”
Mac: “Uh, Jack. We’ve got a problem.”
Jack: “What kind of problem?”
Mac: “The kind you don’t want to be anywhere near.”
And on and on and on it goes. Banter can make or break a show and in this case, it just annoys.

If you are fan of the original show, you probably will not be thrilled with the remake but if you’ve never seen the show, you might be able to tolerate it better. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it still is better than watching Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken on ABC or the rerun of The Good Place on NBC.

MacGyver airs on Fridays at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.


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