MacGyver

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
MacGyver TV Poster Image
Cheerfully dumb throwback has science, heaps of violence.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's brand of "heroics" often involves taking out faceless bad guys; the conflict doesn't get much more specific than this.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The crime-fighting team in this show is intrepid and brave but use violence as their principal means. Our main hero takes a principled stand against using guns -- but only because an armed guard protects him. 

Violence

Glamorized violence: A sniper shoots four men and then quips, "Who loves ya, baby?" A man brandishes a gun, smiles, and says he's "crashing the party." MacGyver himself notably doesn't use guns; he tends to hurl objects and run from hails of gunfire, usually escaping. Only his "ex-Delta Force" teammate Jack wields guns. Characters are killed suddenly on-screen; no gore, some blood. A man convinces a suspect to give up information by punching him and threatening his genitals. 

Sex

Jokes about sex: "No one's better on a keyboard," MacGyver says about his assistant; cut to a scene of them frantically making out as she sits on a computer. A man handcuffs a woman to an exercise machine by surprise before teaching her how to open it with a bobby pin in a scene with overtones of bondage, which the woman seems to enjoy. 

Language

Mild cursing: "Badassery." "Start the damn boat!" "You son of a bitch!" Other language, non-cursing: "You guys suck." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Of-age characters drink beers to celebrate the end of a mission; no one acts drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that MacGyver is a series about a government operative who uses unconventional means to fight crime. It's more violent than other network crime-fighting shows: Characters are suddenly killed on-screen, and violence is glamorized, with characters fondling or using guns and delivering quips after they shoot and kill faceless "bad guys." Boats crash into each other and explode, characters are shot, and a government official gets information out of a suspect by punching him in the face and threatening his genitals with a drill. Mild cursing includes "damn," "hell," "son of a bitch," and some insulting language, such as "You guys suck." Flirting, dating, jokes, and visual references to sex, but no extended sex scenes or nudity. There are some science lessons to be gleaned, which makes this a potentially fun family watch for teens, but other urban myths or frankly wrong facts could confuse younger viewers. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychris d. October 14, 2016

Big Mac saves the day in this good fast paced action hit

The new macgyver is something new and different this guy is a good example of a action hero he actually uses his head and is for the most part a super likable g... Continue reading
Parent Written byWendy B. September 7, 2017

Just as good as the original -- just modernized for 2016 and beyond

We watched this show because we loved the original in the 80s. I appreciate that my 11 year old can watch it (and our 16 year old.) MacGyver is always the goo... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 1, 2016

A fantastic reboot!

This reboot of MacGyver is awesome! He's still as creative as ever! It is more violent, but it is definitely worth watching! It is aimed to older kids, th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byEric myers September 1, 2017
I love this show because it allows people to think in a way they normally wouldn't think.

What's the story?

Based on a reimagining of the 1980s TV series about a crime fighter who used science and gadgetry in crime-fighting missions, MACGYVER is an action-adventure drama about Angus "Mac MacGyver (Lucas Till), an undercover government operative. Along with his teammates Jack Dalton (George Eads), the brawn to Mac's brains, and Riley Davis (Tristin Mays), computer hacker extraordinaire, MacGyver takes on high-risk missions for the ultra-secret Department of External Services. There are a lot of terrorists and criminals out there who want to destroy the world and bend all of humanity to their will; good thing we have MacGyver and his trusty pocket knife on our side. 

Is it any good?

This cheerfully dumb remake of the classic 1980s action series excels at fun capers, but it's a bit too violent for the comfort of many modern parents. It's too bad that MacGyver and his cohorts have to take out so many tuxedoed men on boats, faceless hooded minions, and blank-faced soldiers while fighting crime, because much of the series is actually pretty amusing and would be fun for parents to watch with tweens as well as teens. The show's best gimmick is putting explanatory titles on-screen so we know just what materials MacGyver is using to make his bad-guy-foiling improvised gadgets. 

And gadgets he does make, and bad guys he does foil. For example: In the show's very first episode, MacGyver: 1). gets a fingerprint from a party champagne glass using soot and adhesive tape; 2). makes a magnet out of an iron door hinge and copper wire from an electrical cord and disrupts a guard's security earpiece with it; and 3). sets off a fire alarm with fake "smoke" made from two types of cleansers and tinfoil. And so on! MacGyver is always able to fight his way into the secret guarded back room where the weaponized virus is being kept in a glowing blue tube in the center of a mysterious chamber -- because why would you hide such an important item? Dumb fun, though keeping a lid on the violence would have made it better whole-family fare. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about MacGyver's violence. Do you think the kinds of victims depicted on the show reflect the victims of real-life crime? 

  • How far is too far when it comes to fighting crime? Do the ends ever justify the means?

  • Families can talk about how science and technology are used to solve crimes in this series and others. What kinds of careers allow you to use STEM skills?

TV details

For kids who love adventure

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