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MacGyver: The Complete First Season (review)

If you never go anywhere without your trusty pocketknife and can’t look at a paper clip without grinning, then you’re probably a MacGyver fan. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — the show was a worldwide phenomenon, and how many TV characters have seen their names turned into verbs? Hundreds of years from now, when this frequently goofy but endlessly entertaining adventure series is forgotten, people will still be macgyvering quick solutions to sticky problems. The aw-shucks charisma of Richard Dean Anderson’s unorthodox freelance secret agent is obvious right from the get-go, although the show itself — in this, the 1985-6 debut season, consisting of 22 episodes — is a bit mushy and unformed, at least compared to the tighter, more complicated stories that came in later years. But many of the elements that would cement the series’ status as a classic were present: Mac’s aversion to guns, alcohol, and tuxedos; the handiness of paper clips, duct tape, and a Swiss Army knife; characters like Mac’s boss Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar), Penny Parker (Teri Hatcher, long before she was a desperate housewife) and Mac’s grandpa, Harry Jackson (John Anderson); and the social and environmental consciousness that would come to dominate Mac’s agenda later on. This barebones DVD box has the original mono sound, offers no extras of any kind, has no chapter stops in episodes, and doesn’t even list the original airdates of the episodes, but who cares? With its pro-science, anti-violence attitude, this is a guilty pleasure you don’t actually have to feel guilty about loving.

MPAA: not rated

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