‘MacGyver’: Why Richard Dean Anderson Disliked the Reboot

Richard Dean Anderson is a beloved television actor, thanks to his roles in both MacGyver and Stargate SG-1, among other television shows. And while Anderson looks back fondly on his time with MacGyver, the actor does take some umbrage with how the show’s reboot played out. Anderson feels as if the new MacGyver series has strayed somewhat from the show’s original intention. 

Richard Dean Anderson isn’t fond of the ‘MacGyver’ reboot

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During a Q&A panel at the Salt Lake Comic Con in 2017, an audience member asked Richard Dean Anderson of MacGyver fame how he felt about the 2016 reboot of the show. Anderson’s reply was telling — he isn’t overly fond of the direction the show creators took with the reboot. 

“I really, I don’t like it. But for a reason. Like, ego aside and all that, you know, ‘Well, why not me!’ That kind of stuff, that’s over, believe me!” he joked.

“In watching some of the episodes, it’s not a MacGyver, it’s not. I’ve become fond of describing it as a cop show with an iconic title. Because his partner’s shooting everybody and killing everybody. It just all happens way too fast. You’re asked to believe — you’re asked to fill in a lot of the blanks,” Anderson continued.

Richard Dean Anderson went on to explain that he felt as if the show skipped a pivotal portion of the process — solving the problem before audience eyes.

“Whereas what we did was, we showed you those blanks. Those steps along the way to solve a problem. They’re just going right to, you know, he picks up a bunch of toothpicks or whatever, and all of a sudden he’s got a hula skirt. … You know what I mean, you don’t see the process,” he explained.

“This is why it was, not a pain, it was a joy, but it was really complicated to shoot MacGyver. Because we had a new concept of a TV hero who didn’t use a gun to solve that problem. You saw him see the problem, see him see elements of the solution, see him collecting it, putting it together, and then you see him you know, weaving whatever toy he needs to solve that problem.” 

“You don’t see any of that on the new MacGyver. Like I said, it’s an, I guess action-adventure cop show, in my view. And I don’t wish them ill. Whatever success you can have, go for it. But I just don’t like it,” Anderson concluded.

Avoiding guns was important to the star

Richard Dean Anderson in MacGyver
Richard Dean Anderson in MacGyver | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Richard Dean Anderson embraced the role of MacGyver in large part because of the problem-solving aspect. The actor appreciated the fact that the show avoided the use of firearms as much as possible, and instead encouraged creative thinking. 

In fact, MacGyver managed to draw the ire of the NRA, but Richard Dean Anderson says that just wound up helping their ratings. 

“All it did really was help our cause, because it drew attention to us and we got a bigger audience,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald

“I couldn’t have been prouder than to be on the NRA’s hit list because … there’s some pretty despicable attitudes coming out of that organisation,” he added.