Judge David Johnson has some advice for Murdoc: just shoot him in the head!
Our reviews of Fan Favorites: The Best of MacGyver (published March 4th, 2012), MacGyver: The Complete First Season (published February 23rd, 2005), MacGyver: The Complete Second Season (published July 6th, 2005), MacGyver: The Complete Third Season (published September 6th, 2005), MacGyver: The Complete Fifth Season (published March 14th, 2006), MacGyver: The Complete Sixth Season (published June 28th, 2006), MacGyver: The Complete Final Season (published November 24th, 2006), and MacGyver: The TV Movies (published June 18th, 2010) are also available.
He acts fast and thinks faster.
MacGyver was my favorite show of the late '80s/early '90s. Having reviewed Season 2 and Season 3 previously, I was a bit disappointed to realize that my beloved series has not aged well. Though there was still hope: a trend of steadily cooler episodes as the seasons progressed. Let's see if this fourth installment continues the up tick.
Facts of the Case
Season Four of MacGyver continues the tradition of self-contained episodes, with the only running theme being Mac's employment by the omnipresent Phoenix Foundation (which, if MacGyver were set in a dystopian future, the Phoenix Foundation would be the ruling corporation, subverting all to its tyrannical will) and his unbalanced friendship with Pete Thornton, who he's always rescuing from capture.
This season is also the shortest of the four, clocking in at only 18 episodes. Throughout our time with MacGyver this go-round, we'll reconnect with guest-star mainstays such as Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill) and Penny Parker (Teri Hatcher, looking foine), as well as the always loveable Murdoc (Michael Des Barres) and a brand new villain who will pop up every now and then in future episodes. All 18 episodes are broken up among five discs:
MacGyver: the bane of evil white guys all around the world. Seriously, it seems like all the terrorists and evildoers and thugs that Mac encounters and eventually incapacitates with a branch are comprised of balding, middle-aged white dudes. Hey nothing's wrong with that, but if you're Caucasian and in your forties, and have hatched a diabolical plot to blow up a city or sell crack to street kids—watch the #$%& out! MacGyver's on the case!
Of the three seasons of MacGyver I've reviewed, this one is easily the most entertaining and closer to the fond memories I have of the show. Yes there is still lots of cheesiness at play here, and the life lessons MacGyver imparts to troubled youth/his pal Jack/the ex-girlfriend/Pete Thornton are as heavy-handed as ever. But there are some great episodes in the bunch, and that lifts this season above its predecessors.
And the body count is much higher in season four than anywhere else. True, MacGyver never directly causes someone's demise, but the villains are much nastier and eager to dispatch any extra that crosses their path. I was actually surprised at some of the violence at play here (e.g. in "Deadly Dreams" some poor schmo gets a fire-axe to the chest in vivid detail). But that makes the comeuppance MacGyver dishes out that much more satisfying ("I see your fire-axe and raise you a cross-wired fuse box that will blow up in your face! Boo-yah!!!")
So here are a few of my favorite episodes from season four. See if these sound familiar:
• "Cleo Rocks"
• "Deadly Dreams"
• "The Outsiders"
• "Gold Rush"
• "The Invisible Killer"
• "Easy Target"
And to be fair, here are the turkeys:
• "The Secret of Parker House"
• "Unfinished Business"
Overall, this is the best season yet, and captures a lot of the fun I had with this series back in the day. I think the formula for determining quality MacGyver seasons is looking at his hair: the longer the mullet, the cooler the episodes. Season four has Richard Dean Anderson's coiffure sprouting some serious legs (which pales in comparison to the Mississippi Mudslide he had going in the last season; that thing qualified for U.S. citizenship).
The same bare-bones treatment accompanies these discs that characterized the previous releases: an under-performing full screen transfer backed by an okay 2.0 stereo audio track. No bonuses make Penny Parker cry…
As always, Anderson carries this show with his charisma and that gosh-darned squeaky-clean Grade-A American Boy Scoutishness he's got going on. This set features some classic episodes and is easily the hardest-core MacGyver we've seen thus far. Recommended.
Not guilty—hey, where'd he go? Did someone leave a paper clip on the table?
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Scales of Justice
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