Recently, CBS ordered a pilot for a remake of the beloved 1980s procedural action-drama MacGyver. The original series starred Richard Dean Anderson as the titular genius who could make a weapon, defense mechanism, or any number of other gadgets out of household items and, occasionally, just random old junk. Not much is known about the remake that CBS is working on, with Lee David Zlotoff aboard as series creator, but the whole mishigas got a new twist this morning when it was announced that Lionsgate, who are backing the series, are also planning the remake as a movie.
The movie is only in the developing phase right now, but we know that Zlotoff will be spearheading that development alongside Neal Moritz, one of the key producers behind the Fast & Furious franchise. And as interesting as a big action spectacle based off of an idea steeped so thoroughly in the power of invention could be, one has to wonder just how much of all of this is just for the sake of a familiar, shallow sort of nostalgia for the 1990s, the same kind that allowed Dreamworks Animation to make an entire animated feature based off of those troll dolls with the neon hair you could actually comb.
This is all ignoring the fact that we’ve already seen a great remake of MacGyver. If you’ll remember, a few years ago, Jorma Taccone directed a full-length film adaptation of the great SNL sketch MacGruber, which played off of the MacGyver character, and starred and was written by Will Forte. That film, inarguably the only SNL adaptation to come within spitting distance of Wayne’s World, was about as good as any remake could hope to be. And my suspicion is that the Moritz remake will be more of a remake like The Equalizer: a grim, unenjoyable, and foolishly self-serious rendering of cheesy subject matter that whittles fascinating ideas down to good vs. evil nonsense.