However, the biggest problem is in the characters: one doesn't want to be involved with them, one doesn't appreciate them, one doesn't establish empathy with them. Lieutenant Michael Burnham is aloof, problematic, and yet turns into a defendant of all Star Trek values -and, she's the adopted sister of the greatest legend of them all, Spock! She doesn't make me learn how her story develops. Michelle Yeoh's Captain Georgoiou is too nice to be three- dimensional and maybe it is good that she didn't last that much. The only interesting character is the captain of the Discovery, that is Jason Isaacs' Captain Gabriel Lorca. However, Lorca is just a vengeful, bitter character just like Ahab of Moby Dick and we had that with Picard, thank you very much. Also, I am not sure there are too many who wants to know how the Klingon war-birds had cloaking technology and Starfleet didn't have. In short, the series, despite using some new tech CGI and having great set design, is not very brilliant. The effort of explaining an "incident" referred to in series "set chronologically later" is a valiant effort but the cast, writing, and characterizations are not very good. Unless they do something really radical at the remaining 2/3 of the series, it won't be a great success story, I am afraid. Besides, knowing that Seth MacFarlane's comedic take on the Starfleet universe, The Orville does everything by the book despite not being canonical Star Trek, makes it even worse for the Discovery.
Now it is 2016 and MacGyver is back. I am writing this after watching the first 11 episodes. The show still tries to be fun, sympathetic to kids and grown-ups (and as the new market targets tweens) alike, and have good tricks to make it feel genuinely MacGyver-like. However, there is something lacking in this new version.
I really love Lucas Till who plays Angus MacGyver and always believed he had to deal with roles that were beneath his level as an actor and so felt great when I heard he'd be on TV playing Angus MacGyver himself and I still believe he is the right choice for such a role. Mr Till does a really good job updating the great TV hero to the 21st century. Also, the series focuses on Mac's inventions and inventiveness, he still doesn't use guns, and, the cinematography is really in par with the best of the rest.
Good things I have to say about the series end there, unfortunately. George Eads was annoying in CSI and is still annoying here; Bozer is not well-written and after 11 episodes the audiences haven't yet seen why the character is there -he doesn't help with any plot developments, any character developments, and we are constantly told he is Mac's best friend since 5th grade and yet this fact doesn't incorporate itself into the story-line. The hacker character Riley and the boss Ms Thornton are filling some necessary spots but they could be named anything else and still fill the gap.
The worst part is that the new MacGyver tries to be upmarket but does not pay attention to details that count. As I mentioned above, the original series was not trying to be extremely high-quality and so inconsistencies were easily overlooked by the audience. The new, revamped series looks far richer in budget as can be seen the quality of cinematography. However, there are some unforgivable problems in production design. The settings are awful, especially when there is a foreign adventure.What is to stand as streets in Latvia or Turkey are just some back alleys in some North American location and they are obvious. The Latvians use road signs and SUVs as Americans do. In what appears to be Ankara, Turkey, there are posters in Arabic writing while the Turks write with Latin letters for the past century. East European storage depots look and feel American to the end as what is probably the Balkans looks more like California. In the original series, we were pretending with MacGyver and foreign lands were foreign to our imagination. In the post-internet age, the whole foreign countries settings look dated, second-rate, and it is sure that the crew didn't work on creating suitable settings. That is the biggest blow to the new series.
At the end of the day, the outrageous but likable scientific shenanigans are still cute, Lucas Till does a good enough job, but we need something better than what we are offered at the moment if the series will have a long run for the times changed and we changed with them.
It is excellently made. The budget isn't exactly great obviously and yet you don't need any big spending for this. The script, with its characters and its fiction is matchless, perfect. The secondary cast is also excellent, they support the main story with lots of laughter and beauty. Emilia Fox is great as the beautiful Sharon because she's not only beautiful but also can act her socks off. As for Sean Biggerstaff, he never stops to amaze me with his performances. I could write a lot about him, but let me just say he is one son of Glasgow who should make the city proud as hell, just like James McAvoy. These two Glaswegians, Biggertaff and McAvoy, are truly tremendous Scots actors and I wish there were true equivalents of theirs in the States...
To sum up, it's a fantastic film, fantastically made, and surely as it's a feel-good film you wouldn't expect philosophical solutions to change your life, but if the industry's name is entertainment, then it's what it does perfectly: It keeps you entertained and makes you feel great at the end, and makes you leave the cinema or the couch by the telly feeling very positive about good scriptwriting, great directing, and very good, very impressive acting. What else can you ask off of a film, really? As I said at the heading, this superb British independent film may become my all-time favourite film and that says a lot, does it not?
The subject is familiar, so there are no great surprises there. Opposites attract, and as we are in the 21st century, there must be a twist in the storyline. However, it's a generally well put-together script and the dialogs aren't to make you run away. The tension between the lead characters is well balanced, so no problem there either. The storyline with the South American student who looked older than some parents there was a bit too pushy, too in-your-face, but one has to tell a story somehow, right? Direction and photography were well adequate and better than some such films, so that too is a plus.
However, the main standing point of this film is its acting. Jesse McCartney is back in form, i.e. as good as he was nominated for Emmy awards. His phrasing, accent, facial gestures, pacing are spot on. He really shows how good an actor he is (actually, as good as, if not better than, Aaron Johnson or Sean Biggerstaff from the other side of the Atlantic) and it's a good thing that he finally is there not trying to hide his imperfect skin, feeling no problem with the bush that he has to wear as his hair, and really involved and involving as an actor. Elisabeth Harnois is also showing great talent, at times overacting or underacting, but she's a really well-thought lead.
All in all, it's a touching, beautifully told film based on a great short story by Ron Carlson. I am most glad it's finally out and I am very much pleased to see this little gem of a film. I recommend it without any doubt; go see/rent it.
However, I believe enough is enough. I want to see the gun-barrel opening credits at the beginning of the film and not in an uber-stylized manner at the end, I want to have less aesthetic concerns in all scenes, I want the Q Branch involved ("Now, pay attention, 007"), I want gadgets, I want to hear very distinctly the James Bond Theme at "Bond Moment" signature scenes, not at the end credits. I am a fan, I have all the films on DVD, and not having these in the films bother me. In Casino Royale, there was a concern about how Bond became a person whose name would mean something to anyone when he utters it; in this film, we saw many elements of his "later" persona shape up, however, I guess the third Craig film should be the one with the olden signature elements back in action, because 3 films in a row without the Bond Theme in key action scenes, Q Branch, or other Bond elements would mean a new generation of teens may grow up without knowing why Bond is that important, and I believe, I hope rather, the producers don't aim at that...
That's also an episode which shows very clearly how great an improvement the Jake Ryan story lines and the actor Cody Linley provide for the series. The Hannah - Jake relationship gives more meaning and much-needed non-absurd comic relief. The Mikayla - Hannah rivalry, the relationship of Hannah with other people and things (like the z-phone of the previous episode)don't really offer enough solid ground to the show to go forward. I hope Cody Linley is to be offered a season-long contract this time instead of the traditional "let's do the season finale with you" approach, because he has everything to save the show from going utterly silly and pointless at times.