Case Number 09577

MACGYVER: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON

Paramount // 1990 // 1050 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 28th, 2006

The Charge

Braver than most -- smarter than the rest.

Opening Statement

MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) has trimmed his hair, but you still don't want to be a corrupt white guy when he's on the prowl.

Facts of the Case

MacGyver vs. The A-Team
(An ode to the ultimate face-off)

Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of MacGyver in his truck,
It's that yellow piece of crap
With the gearshift that's stuck;
The tires squeal, the dust flies
And the man emerges from within;
With narrowed eyes and furrowed brow
He waits for the battle to begin.

And now the air is filled
With the sounds of squealing brakes;
The red-black van pulls up
Mud clings to it in cakes;
The side door is flung open
There's a clattering of knives;
Eight combat boots hit the ground:
The A-Team has arrived.

The rules have been laid out
And the competitors agree;
They will each have three hours
In an abandoned factory.
At the end of the time limit
A battle will disgorge,
And our combatants will display
The inventions that they've forged.

The ref blows the whistle
And it's time to rock a roll!
Dashing to their strongholds,
The players take control.
Sounds of grinding and buzz-sawing
Do echo in the air,
And the minutes turn to hours
While they toil in their lairs.

But now it's time to quit
And allow the grudge match to commence;
What have the players crafted?
(Quick, behind the plate steel fence!)
First is the A-Team,
In a giant metal truck,
With spikes and guns and
Land mines -- Holy @#$%!

Plus there's a big-ass flamethrower
Coming out the grille,
And painted on the hood are
The words "DEATH," "MAIM" and "KILL!"
It's a fearsome abomination of
Twisted steel and pain!
Woe is he who must face it down:
MacGyver is that man!

Ahead the menace rushes,
With B.A. at the wheel,
Face and Murdock yelp with glee,
Hannibal lets out a squeal!
MacGyver stands alone,
With his hands behind his back,
And the A-Team barrels forward
Preparing to attack!

MacGyver holds his ground
And sweat dribbles down his brow,
The audience gasps in horror
While they wait for the KA-POW!
But just before the A-Team
And their horrid truck collides,
A deafening blast rocks the air,
And flames shoot into the sky!

When the smoke finally clears,
And the fire has died down,
There's nothing left of the A-Team
Except charred gold spread around.
But -- there! -- through the chaff,
MacGyver walks so slow.
In his arms a smoking tube,
The end of which now glows.

"Mac, what just happened?"
The sportscaster shouts,
"How did you sail to victory?
How did you win the bout?!"
MacGyver turns his head and grins,
A twinkle in his eye,
"I made a rocket launcher,
With a stapler, nails and lye."

"But don't you hate guns,
And despise that type of ploy?"
To which MacGyver's eyes shrunk,
And his face was drained of joy.
"Did you see that thing?
With its spikes and guns and mines?
F*** that!"

The Evidence

We're approaching the end, kids. This penultimate season of TV's greatest and most cunning adult Boy Scout brings us 21 adventures of crime-fighting, ecosystem defending and glaucoma battling -- plus a clip show! In addition, we get another dose of Zito, the deranged Hannibal Lecter poseur, a second hallucinatory visit to the Old West and the ever-reliable Murdoc (Michael Des Barres), Mac's prime nemesis who is invulnerable to fire, explosions, flying leaps off of mountains and dialogue restraint. The episodes, staggered over six discs in the usual no-frills presentation (at least we have slim cases and no dual-sided crap) are as follows:

Disc One
* "Tough Boys"
* "Humanity"
* "The Gun"

Disc Two
* "Twenty Questions"
* "The Wall"
* "Lesson in Evil"
* "Harry's Will"

Disc Three
* "MacGyver's Women"
* "Bitter Harvest"
* "The Visitor"
* "Squeeze Play"

Disc Four
* "Jerico Games"
* "The Wasteland"
* "Eye of Osiris"
* "High Control"

Disc Five
* "There But For the Grace"
* "Blind Faith"
* "Faith, Hope and Charity"
* "Strictly Business"

Disc Six
* "Trail of Tears"
* "Hind-Sight"

If you've been following at home, I've reviewed these MacGyver sets from Season 2 on. Back in the day I was a mega-fan, dedicating my allotted one hour of nightly TV viewing time to the adventures of Mac and Pete (Dana Elcar) and the omnipresent Phoenix Foundation. Watching all these seasons sequentially in a relatively short period of time has revealed interesting ebbs and flows within the show's creative life-span. The trend I found was this: as Richard Dean Anderson's mullet expanded in length and coolness, the MacGyver episodes grew more outlandish. While not the least bit scientific -- and no doubt sneered at by MacGyver himself if he, you know, existed -- this data-gathering held a little bit of truth. Look at last season, where the mullet was truly unleashed, and MacGyver was searching for the Holy Grail, shooting bad guys with lasers, teaming up with his arch-enemy Murdoc to take on the Homicide International Trust (H.I.T.), thwarting multiple terrorist plots, confronting a schizophrenic and leaving a surprising number of corpses in his wake. Crazy @#$%. As we transition to this season, we find MacGyver is sporting a more conservative hairdo. How does the Mullet Theory of Narrative Progression play out now? Quite well, actually.

What struck me most about this season was how much it reminded me of earlier, more subdued seasons. The edgier stuff has been reduced, with the majority of the episodes falling in the "after school special" spectrum. My favorites:

* "Tough Boys"
The theme song is super-cheesy (but admittedly catchy) and the plot is predictable, but Richard Roundtree's in it and that's pretty dope.

* "Lesson in Evil"
Zito is a derivative character, but his episodes are fun. This outing has him challenging MacGyver to a riddle, culminating in a nice finale.

* "Eye of Osiris"
Last season seemed to be crawling with more adventure-ish episodes, but this season has only one. Here, MacGyver is after the lost tomb of Alexander the Great, pitting him against an evil Eurotrash archaeologist and booby-traps that would make Indiana Jones go, "Where have I seen that one before? Oh yeah, in all my movies!" Extra points for great usage of a department store mannequin at the end.

* "Strictly Business"
I've always thought the Murdoc episodes were the most entertaining, no matter how ridiculous it is to see the character bounce back from certain death. By this point, Anderson and Des Barres are having a lot of fun playing off their characters, both seeming to try and top each other's scenery chewing. Good fun and with an opening scene that looks like it was set on Krypton.

Honorable mentions:

* "Faith, Hope & Charity" has MacGyver teaming up with two old ladies to defend a farmhouse against bumbling mobsters a la Home Alone and has a nice comic feel to it.

* "Humanity," forces Mac to befriend a hardened Romanian soldier.

Beyond those shows, not much else clicked with me. Throughout the season MacGyver battles land developers ("The Wasteland"), an electric company trying to screw over Native Americans ("Trail of Tears," gag), teen alcoholism ("Twenty Questions"), homeless persecution ("There But for the Grace"), spousal abuse ("Jerico Games"), corrupt growers using too much pesticide ("Bitter Harvest"), even fake extraterrestrials ("The Visitor"). I guess what bugged me the most about this season was the need for MacGyver to teach us lessons all the time. I get that's part of the Boy Scout routine and all, but sometimes a brother just wants to see some action. Where are the terrorists?!? I ribbed last season for its over-the-top flair, but after this milquetoast helping, I wish some of that edge had crept into the writer's stable. It may be ludicrous, but it was entertaining, unlike a lot of these shows which I found harmless and lame.

Before I go, I have to mention this: more than any other season, this one featured some of the weakest MacGyver inventions. If any segment of the show displayed real creative starvation it was this. A gallery of the lowlights:

Faced with a bad guy with an Uzi, MacGyver opts not to wait for the mad gunner to run out of ammo, but instead, thread a fire-hose through a ladder and blast the dude in the face with water. Hey, it worked.

Mac and his new Romanian soldier pal are walking through the woods at gunpoint. The Romanian offers to blow them all to kingdom come with a grenade, but MacGyver decides to toss this fishing pole thing into the grass and yank on the line to distract the moronic guards who are too busy admiring the foliage to notice he threw a fishing pole thing into the grass.

When a mob boss forces his way into the house MacGyver and his two senior citizen friends are trying to protect, Mac unleashes the dreaded Reverse Vacuum Cleaner Tomato Bisque Spewer, from which no man can escape.

Closing Statement

With one season to go, I'm thinking my beloved series may have peaked a while ago. Season Six did very little for me, as big a fan as I am. Aside from some notable exceptions and the somewhat touching weaving of Dana Elcar's real-life glaucoma condition into the story, I was snoozing.

The Verdict

The accused is ordered to let that magnificent mane hair grow out a bit.

Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 0
Acting: 85
Story: 75
Judgment: 77

Perp Profile
Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 1050 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0088559/combined

* Live and Learn: A MacGyver Fan Site
http://www.rusted-crush.com/macgyver/