DVD Review: MacGyver (The Complete Series)

Rarely does a TV show come along that changes the vocabulary of the world. Sure they may give trendy quips that get quoted, but to truly become the defining word is a feat. A feat that seems almost normal for an amazing agent merely known as MacGyver. Before That used to be called “Jerry Rigged.” This phrase came about during World War I to describe the resourceful nature of German soldiers fighting in the trenches. But who wants to praise the Kaiser’s minions? And ultimately people began saying “jury rigged” which made no sense. Luckily in 1985, America was given a new definition when MacGyver arrived on ABC. The ability to rig up and fix anything with duct tape, toothpicks and a spork became simply known as “MacGyvered.” The word changed for the better. Now MacGyver: The Complete Series allows fans to embrace all seven seasons of the action series with a secret agent that knew how to improvise his gadgets.

Like all great secret agents, MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) wasn’t quite a CIA operative. He worked for the government’s Department of External Services. Oddly enough, Congress rarely talks about this agency. Later he moves over to the Phoenix Foundation. This is an agent with a great resume. He was a Vietnam vet who had a knack for getting into tricky situations and using amazing mechanical tricks to escape in the end. He also had a boss mullet that wouldn’t have been allowed if he was just a normal spook at the CIA. He struck a dashing figure while running from explosions and rescuing people. MacGyver didn’t have too many co-workers to screw up his missions. Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar) is his boss who mostly has his top agent’s back. Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill) is MacGyver’s wingman both on the ground and in the air. He adds a bit of comedy to tense ticking bomb situations.

The episodes do a fine job of putting people in jeopardy. The first few episodes are set up like James Bond movies with an opening of MacGyver on the different (and shorter) mission. The bigger adventures send him around the world. He has plenty of charm as he dashes in and out of danger. The key to the show is that Richard Dean Anderson (not related to Oscar Goldman’s Richard Anderson) is charming in the role. He’s not just a macho action star wanting to be Arnold, Sly or even Bruce. He’s more than running between stunts and saying quips ready for t-shirts. MacGyver was a massive hit for most of its run since it was smartly positioned right before Monday Night Football on ABC. MacGyver: The Complete Series has all 139 episodes that brought ingenuity to a one man action machine with an amazing mullet.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The series was shot on film, but post produced on standard definition video. But Richard Dean Anderson’s hair still shines in the lower resolution. The audio is Dolby Digital mono for the first two seasons and Dolby Digital stereo on the last five. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis is a rip roaring adventure in the Indiana Jones sense. MacGyver and Brian Blessed are deep in a temple looking for a clue to the sunken city of Atlantis. It opens with the classic switcheroo to free an ancient coin. Blessed thinks he’s got proof however his explorers society think he’s a loon. The only way he can restore his reputation is to find it. He needs the best man to bring along since part of the path goes through a country at war. He teams back up with McGuyver for a rip roaring adventure. The movie was shot in England. The Battersea Power Station makes a cameo. You might recognize it from the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals.

MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday is a high-tech adventure. MacGuyver thinks it’ll be an easy night at a pal’s birthday party. Along with the usual folks on the guest list arrives a group of terrorists. They kill the birthday boy and his daughter. MacGuyver wants revenge. Things get complicated when a nuclear bomb gets mingled in with the terrorists’ big plot. MacGyver ultimately has to save the world.

MacGyver: The Complete Series captures the mullet glory of the man who knew how to MacGyver anything to work. This new edition is priced a lot less than the previous complete boxset.

CBS DVD presents MacGyver: The Complete Series Starring: Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar) is his boss who mostly has his top agent’s back. Jack Dalton and Bruce McGill . Boxset Contents: 139 episodes on 39 DVDs. Rated: Unrated. Released: April 7, 2014.