MacGyver - The Complete Series
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Like James Bond--but without the high-tech gadgets--Angus MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) is one of those rare beings who can avert any crisis without mussing a hair. (The rest of us should be so lucky.) In the pilot alone, the secret agent dismantles a missile using a paper clip and fashions a rocket thruster out of a pistol. Is there anything MacGyver can't do? As the first season of ABC's long-running adventure series proves, the answer is a resounding no. MacGyver's secret: the everyday items he "finds along the way," like matches or gum wrappers, and the ingenuity to put them to a myriad of uses (a background in physics and chemistry doesn't hurt). Unlike Alias' Sidney Bristow, he isn't a multi-linguist, a martial artist, or a master of disguises. Wits are MacGyver's weapon of choice.
Produced by Henry Winkler (Arrested Development), The Complete First Season includes all 22 episodes from 1985-1986 (alas, there are no extras). MacGyver is joined by Phoenix Foundation director of operations Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar), who is introduced in "Nightmares." Also, his grandfather, Harry Jackson (John Anderson), makes his first appearance in "Target MacGyver," while friend Penny Parker (Teri Hatcher of Desperate Housewives) makes hers in "Every Time She Smiles" (they will appear more frequently in future seasons). Other notable guest stars include Joan Chen (The Last Emperor) in "The Golden Triangle," Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) in "Hellfire," and John De Lancie (Star Trek: The Next Generation) in "The Escape."
MacGyver ran for seven seasons and was followed by two made-for-TV movies in 1994, Lost Treasure of Atlantis and Trail to Doomsday. In 1997, after a short-lived series for UPN (1995's Legend), Anderson landed the lead in an even longer-running series, Stargate SG-1, based on the sci-fi extravaganza with Kurt Russell. --Kathleen C. FennessySeason Two
MacGyver's second season begins by following the same blueprint as the first (although the opening gambit is gone). Richard Dean Anderson is back as the eponymous secret agent. So is Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar), operations director of the Phoenix Foundation. In addition, Mac's ditzy pal, Penny (Teri Hatcher), and beloved grandfather, Harry (John Anderson), return for a few episodes. In the season premiere ("The Human Factor"), a skeptical military man says to Thornton, "So this is your main guy. He doesn't even have any gear." Responds Thornton, "That's what makes him so special." As before, Mac doesn't drink, smoke, or carry a firearm. He puts it plainly in the fourth episode ("The Wish Child"): "I hate guns." Mac would rather use non-violent means, i.e. "MacGyverisms," to fight crime. Midway through the 22-episode year, however, creator Lee David Zlotoff (Remington Steele) decided to shake up the formula by introducing two new characters. First there's Mac's college buddy, Jack Dalton (busy character actor Bruce McGill from Animal House, The Cinderella Man, etc.), who makes his first appearance in the sixth episode ("Jack of Lies"). Then there's Mac's arch-nemesis Murdoc (actor/musician Michael Des Barres from Melrose Place), who makes his in the eighteenth ("Partners").
Other notable second season guest stars include Fast Times At Ridgemont High's Vincent Schiavelli ("Soft Touch"), Murphy Brown's Robert Pastorelli ("Out in the Cold"), and Star Trek's George Takei and Wayne's World's Tia Carrere ("The Wish Child"). MacGyver also had a tendency to bring back actors from previous seasons for different roles. Second year returnees include Mean Streets' Richard Romanus ("Twice Stung"), Barney Miller's Gregory Sierra ("Jack of Lies"), and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Nana Visitor ("D.O.A. MacGyver"). As with the first season, there are no extras. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
In "Ghost Ship," MacGyver's boss, Pete (Dana Elcar), is asked to define what makes Mac (Richard Dean Anderson) so special. He replies, "You know, I've known him for eight years now, and I've never quite been able to put my finger on it. He just always comes through, no matter what." And that he does. MacGyver's third season begins with a blast from the past when Mac runs into Lisa (Elyssa Davalos), a woman he thought he had killed (unintentionally, of course). Turns out Lisa's just fine, but she did do a little time in a Russian gulag, proceeding to marry the ex-KGB operative who set her free. The two-part season opener ("Lost Love") allows Mac to make it up to his former flame with a little help from pal Jack (Bruce "D-Day" McGill), AKA "The Great Sheldrake," whose latest career move is magician.
The producers must have felt that Anderson and Davalos had chemistry as she returns a few episodes later ("Fire and Ice")--sans Russian accent--as Nikki, a different, recurring character (oddly enough, Mac fails to note the resemblance). Like Teri Hatcher's Penny, who doesn't appear in the third season, Nikki isn't a love interest, but a friend (and Phoenix Foundation colleague). While Penny will return the following year, Nikki will not. Fortunately, Michael Des Barres' maniacal Murdoc does reappear ("The Widowmaker"), but only once before Mac neatly dispatches him yet again--or does he? Other guest stars include three Kung Fu vets: The Sopranos Joe Santos ("Back From the Dead"), Blade Runner's James Hong ("Lost Love"), and Keye "Master Po" Luke ("Murderer's Sky," the season finale). The latter two appeared in previous years, but--like Davalos--as different characters (whereas Santos's Jimmy "The Eraser" Kendall was first introduced in the second season). --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Desperate times call for desperate measures--and the desperate will stop at nothing to get MacGyver's attention. In the fifth season premiere ("Legend of the Holy Rose"), an old friend releases his houseboat from its moorings--while he's in it. Four episodes later ("Halloween Knights"), an old enemy relieves his boat of its belongings. It works, of course. Mac lives to help people in need, even if those people include obnoxious archeology professor Zoë (Lise Cutter), who enlists his aid in tracking down an ancient artifact, and the mysterious Murdoc (Michael Des Barres), who does the same to rescue his kidnapped sister. Joining forces with arch-enemy Murdoc marks a break with previous seasons. Otherwise, the fifth features the same resourceful secret agent as the first four (though he’s relying on those inventive "MacGyverisms" less often as the series continues). MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) still travels the world on behalf of the Phoenix Foundation, while reporting to supportive superior Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar). As before, he goes it alone: no gun, no back-up, no wisecracking sidekick--not counting reckless rogue Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill), who drops by on occasion to shake up MacGyver's well-ordered world.
Aside from a greater interest in socially conscious causes, like the protection of endangered species, the 1989-1990 season also breaks with the past by an episode set in the Old West ("Serenity") and another set in the afterlife ("Passages"). In the former, Jack and Penny (Teri Hatcher in her final appearance) return as prototypes for their present day characters. Murdoc returns, as well--this time wearing a black hat. In the latter, Grandpa Harry (John Anderson) bids adieu. Other fifth year guests include Blossom’s Mayim Bialik ("Cease Fire," "Hearts of Steel"), The Exorcist’s Linda Blair ("Jenny's Chance"), and Jerry Maguire’s Cuba Gooding Jr. ("Black Rhino," "Serenity"). --Kathleen C. Fennessy
The houseboat is history. In the final season, MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) moves to a loft in an eccentric inner-city neighborhood. The point seems to be to paint the secret agent as less of a loner, but living away from the rest of the world seemed to suit MacGyver better. Fortunately for fans, Mac's ever-enthusiastic buddy, Jack (Bruce McGill), and surprisingly lively nemesis, Murdoc (Michael Des Barres), who faked his death in year six, come back to add a little zest to proceedings that were starting to grow stale (see "Obsessed" and "The Mountain of Youth"). Aside from Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar, now wearing dark glasses due to glaucoma), MacGyver's boss, other recurring characters include Mama Lorraine (Kimberly Scott), a voodoo priestess, and the Colton brothers (Cleavon Little, Richard Lawson, and Cuba Gooding Jr.), who return in "The Coltons," pilot for a series that never materialized (Della Reese, who plays their mother, would have better luck with Touched by and Angel). In addition, Mac's son, Sam (Dalton James), is introduced in "The Stringer," the series' fitting finale. Sadly, Elcar, who also starred in Barretta and Black Sheep Squadron, would pass away in 2005.
Instead of a full season, only 14 episodes were produced for the seventh, including the silly two-parter "Good Knight MacGyver," in which a bump on the noggin transports Mac to Camelot. As he spends more time with the Challengers Club than the Phoenix Foundation, other stories revolve around domestic matters rather than the international crises of yore. Guest stars include Shelley Berman ("Honest Abe"), Wendy Malick ("Obsessed"), Henry Gibson ("Deadly Silents"), and Dick Butkus ("Split Decision"). The final season was followed by two tele-films, an appearance on The Simpsons, and a Super Bowl 2006 MasterCard commercial in which Anderson revived his most famous character. Priceless, indeed. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- Lost Treasure of Atlantis
- Trail to Doomsday
Top Customer Reviews
The packaging: I agree with Joan. The packaging is just sad. Considering the price of the full series, they should have done a better job with it. I'm trying to decide if I should buy something to store the individual DVDs in so they don't get ruined.
The content:I can understand the frustration of the people who purchased each season when they came out regarding the additional movies. I am in the same boat with Stargate SG1 and the additional material that will be included in the new package coming out. It drives me crazy that the studios keep screwing over the fans this way. Releasing limited product only in full series is unfair to the fans who buy all along. (It also drives me crazy when they release Special Editions in Widescreen but don't include all the Special features that are in other editions...). Guess it is just the almighty dollar speaking - if they can get you to buy it as it comes out, and then spend hundreds of dollars for the full series in order to get extra features......
Quality: Just be aware it does not appear that any of the episodes were re-mastered so the quality is not the best in the earlier episodes.
Of course, I knew even as a teenager that he was a bit goody goody - ordering milk at a bar, never eating junk food, trying to reason gently with an ex-girlfriend who just tried to murder him, and yet he doesn't always wear his seatbelt - but it's all part of the fun. So are the occasional plot holes, which of course are a bit more noticeable this time around. I also seem to recall thinking as a kid that the show became less about gadgets and more about teaching life lessons in later seasons, but I now see that even the earliest episodes often had morality issues and the later seasons still had quite a bit of gadgetry to their credit. It's really a pretty consistent formula across all seven seasons.
The only problem with this set is that, if you're a fan, chances are you already bought at least a few other seasons separately. All seven of them are worth having, in any case, whether it's cheaper to fill in the blanks one by one or buy the entire set here.
Regarding "whole series" box-sets;
I think it's a good idea, but NOT an idea that truly works at the moment. My main complaint is the amount of discs and the non-standard (LARGE) boxes used for most series. Sure, it looks nice in the store and online, but it sure doesn't fit nicely on a shelf with the rest of your DVD collection. Try putting a couple "complete series" box sets on a shelf and see how quickly it starts to look ridiculous!
I prefer buying individual seasons, which fit nicely on a shelf (with the rest of my collection) and ussually have better packaging. Remember that some of the "whole season" box sets either have the discs laying on top of each other (loose) or simply sliding into little notches in cardboard (which scratches the discs).
The true answer for whole season sets will be the increased capacity of the BLU-RAY format. Less discs, nicer box (standard size), etc. Until then, I plan to buy seasons individually.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved watching this show when I was growing up and now both my kids love it as much as me!Published 24 days ago by MIchelle
My son ordered this while he was deployed last year. I'm now going to go through every dvd series he purchased because where disc #5 for season 6 should have been there was a disc... Read morePublished 3 months ago by gamer
If you like MacGyver this is the way to go for it is all here.Published 3 months ago by Mark E. Himes
Watched these with my son when he was younger - now the grandson and I enjoy them.Published 4 months ago by Teri
This is the complete series for MacGyver and contains all the episodes from all seven seasons. This show is based on one man going wherever he is needed to solve everyday problems... Read morePublished 5 months ago by rdaaamg
My son loved this show while he was growing up. He was collecting the individual seasons as he found them in the store. Read morePublished 5 months ago by lgw
We enjoyed this show when it came out and wanted our kids to enjoy a clean and interesting show. The kids enjoy seeing how MacGyver gets out of difficult situations.Published 5 months ago by Cyn003
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