Judge David Johnson asks you this: What do Mayim Bialik and poached black rhinos have in common? The answer: Everything.
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 Fourth Season
(published December 6th, 2005), 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.
Shark ahead! Prepare to jump!
The fifth season of ABC's vaunted Alpha Boy Scout drama finds its titular
character (Richard Dean Anderson) beefed up and sporting a mullet that demands
to be taken seriously. But beware of telltale signs of idea drought!
Facts of the Case
Application for Employment at the Phoenix Foundation
DATE OF BIRTH:
Three slips down from Billy's Live Bait Shack.
Dr. Zito, a deranged, manipulative psychiatrist and
Murdoc, a deranged, manipulative professional assassin. Oh, and white guys
One or two weekends a year and every other Christmas
I volunteer at the "Challenger's Club," a non-profit organization
located in the inner city that is currently being sued by the Boys and Girls
Club of America for copyright infringement. I am also active in the Northeast
Chapter of "Swiss Army Knife Rescue and Relocation."
LOOSE CANNON ASSOCIATES THAT MAY JEOPARDIZE SENSITIVE MISSIONS:
have a friend named Jack Dalton. I believe he may be mildly retarded. He also
has a tendency to piss off Central American drug cartels and violent rebel
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT GUNS?
I hate guns. Hate them. I have
never, ever fired a gun at someone in my life. They are crude, violent, and lead
to the deaths of innocent bystanders. I have never carried a gun, nor will ever
carry a gun. Ever.
HOW ABOUT BOMBS?
Bombs are awesome.
WHAT STRENGTHS WOULD YOU BRING TO THIS POSITION?
I think fast on my
feet, can disarm all types of explosive devices, know how to mix household
chemicals to a) render a grown man unconscious, b) create a diversionary
smokescreen, or c) put together a fine tasting coolatta. I am loyal, patient,
and generous and will always do the right thing. I have fantastic hair and a
wide assortment of leather jackets. Women want me and men want to be me. I am
excellent with children and have successfully negotiated peace terms between
violent Middle Eastern nations who have engaged in centuries of blood-soaked
war. Finally, I can repair a car's brake system while the vehicle's going 70 mph
and I'm on the hood.
Besides my floating house? None.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT POACHERS?
LOGGING CREWS WHO OVERLY CLEAR-CUT FORESTS?
APATHETIC CONSTRUCTION SITE MANAGERS WHO TAKE BRIBES AT THE EXPENSE OF
Burn in Hell, sons of @#$%&!!!
WHAT DEPARTMENTS IN THE PHOENIX FOUNDATION WOULD YOU BE MOST INTERESTED IN?
(PLEASE UNDERLINE YOUR CHOICE)
Department of Nautical Research and
Department of Middle Eastern Nation-State Peace Brokering
Department of At-Risk Urban Youth Counseling
Department of Advanced
Nuclear Weapon Design
Department of Advanced Nuclear Weapon Disarmament
Department of Education
Department of Rain Forest Preservation
Department of International Volcano Control
Department of South American
Death Squad Mediation
Department of Robot Slave Emancipation
Department of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Smelting
All of the
• "The Legend of the Holy Rose, Part
• "The Legend of the Holy Rose, Part II"
• "The Black Corsage"
• "Second Chance"
• "Halloween Knights"
• "Children of
• "Black Rhino"
• "The Ten Percent
• "Two Times Trouble"
• "The Madonna"
• "Live and Learn"
• "Log Jam"
• "The Treasure of
• "Jenny's Chance"
• "Deep Cover"
• "The Lost
• "Hearts of Steel"
• "Rush to Judgment"
Mac is back on the attack, and this season finds him involved in crazy, new
adventures (searching for the Holy Grail) and the same-old same-old (saving the
Challenger Club yet again from financial ruin). And while there certainly is a
mixture of old and new, as I watched this fifth set of feats of daring-do, the
looming reality was clear: the writers were running out of ideas.
The season kicks off with a big two-parter episode, where MacGyver and the
most annoying sidekick he's ever been paired with ever take off on a global romp
looking for the Holy Grail. Only, it's not the Christian Holy Grail. It's some
kind of New Age, eternal life bestowing, cup of goddesses. Elements from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
are liberally lifted, and MacGyver escapes from a near-death situation in the
most improbable manner to date: he shuts down a swinging pendulum blade of death
with his left shoe. The whole affair culminates in the bad guy getting
perforated with an ancient laser beam.
"The Holy Rose" sets the table for what will be a buffet of
MacGyver oddities. The series makes some changes in the way it does business,
and the storylines reflect a more out-of-the-box mining for new adventures. Is
this good or bad? Well, that's the $10,000 question. There are some personal
favorites on these discs ("Halloween Nights" and "Two Times
Trouble"), but the overall batch, I think, is showing signs of narrative
grasping, no episode so reflective of this than "Serenity," where
MacGyver dreams he's in the old west. And once you've done one wacky dream
episode, King Arthur and Merlin aren't too far behind.
Let's pop the hood and take a broad overview of the fifth season:
No more MacGyver voiceover.
Previous seasons featured Richard
Dean Anderson setting the stage for the episode, delivering a droll bit of
narration over the opening credits. For example: "I love eagles and trees.
So when my good friend Bernadette DelFluvio called and asked me to speak at her
annual Save the Eagles and Trees Breakfast, I couldn't say no. So I took some
time off, packed my bags, and headed to the southern Appalachians for a quiet
weekend of talking about eagles and trees. Or so I thought." Nope, no more
of that. This season, we're launched straight into the action and, I have to
admit, the charm of the show is hurt by this excision.
Lots more killing.
The fatality rate skyrockets in this season.
Where smiting one's enemies was largely taboo in shows prior, MacGyver's nemeses
often end up with a toe-tag this time around. No complaints here, but it's
obvious producers were going for an "edgier" MacGyver. And the methods
of dispatch are noteworthy: impaled on a boatload of sawed-off rhino horns,
dumped into a pit of venomous snakes then blown up with a grenade (!), and the
aforementioned laser rape. My favorite: the climax of "Logjam" gives
us, probably, the lengthiest MacGyver fight scene in the history of the show, as
he and a corrupt Japanese black market logger (I'm assuming there is such a
thing) beat the snot out of each other up and down a sawmill, culminating in a
Spielbergian battle on a conveyor belt and the villain nose-diving from like 200
You've got the Grail quest, the old west
dream sequence, and "Passages," the finale, where MacGyver is tossed
from a parking garage and lands on a car, putting him in a coma. While barely
scraping by on life support, he has a vision of the afterlife, apparently
nothing more than a big steamship, and meets his deceased parents and his
beloved grandfather. There you have it: one day Mac is helping drug-addled youth
discover the joys of physics, the next he's going to Heaven on the Love
Back to the boat o' corpses:
MacGyver decides he's not ready to shuffle loose the mortal coil just yet (after
having a vision of Pete getting capped by a corrupt Egyptian diplomat, which he
of course saw through a magical viewfinder) so he tries to leave the good ship
purgatory, but the ship's personnel lock him and his grandfather in the hold.
Well, not even the afterlife can hold MacGyver, who uses his trademark ingenuity
to break free in his most metaphysical escape ever.
But my favorite of the season is a sequence on another boat (this time in
the real world) where MacGyver incapacitates his foes in the most inconvenient
and outlandish ways possible: he traps two guys in a cabin by attacking them
with an inflatable raft, for another thug, he pulls a life jacket over the guy's
head and knocks him out, and the last opponent is hooked to a crane through his
belt buckle and suspended over the deck. When you don't use guns, I guess you're
forced to be more creative when eliminating foes, but there must have been
something heavy somewhere he could have swung at their heads!
Always the best episodes in my opinion are the
Murdoc-centric ones. "Halloween Knights" pairs the two enemies
together to best the leader of H.I.T. (Homicide International Trust!) and rescue
Murdoc's sister. It's a fun show and the bad guy gets wasted at the end,
but the wardrobe supervisor's decision to have MacGyver run around in giant
jester pants for the duration of the episode was a miscalculation. Murdoc also
makes an appearance in "Serenity" as the hit man hired to take out
MacGyver, who, along the way, caps Cuba Gooding Jr.'s ass.
Pistol Pete Thornton.
Pete Thornton is the shiz-nit!
I enjoy MacGyver's adventures, and this season sports some of my favorite
episodes. But it is folly to deny that the series started showing signs of
creative aridity. The presentation is typical of past sets, with episodes
arriving in their original full screen aspect ratio with varying degrees of
picture quality and a complete lack of extras.
The only thing guilty is that mullet—of sheer awesomeness!
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