Judge David Johnson thinks this final season of his one-time favorite show is a struggling jalopy not even its titular character could repair.
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 Fifth Season (published March 14th, 2006), MacGyver: The Complete Sixth Season (published June 28th, 2006), and MacGyver: The TV Movies (published June 18th, 2010) are also available.
The man of a thousand household bomb-making tips blow-dries his bodacious coiffure for one more season of action.
Facts of the Case
For his seventh—and final—season, Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate: SG-1) finds his iconic character of laid-back uber-Boy Scout MacGyver thrust in such adventures of battling his arch-foe Murdoc, defusing a volatile an inner-city gang situation, hunting for the Fountain of Youth with Jack Dalton (Bruce Mcgill), meeting his bastard son, tangling with voodoo priests and, yes, kicking it with King Arthur and Merlin in a two-episode dream sequence that's as dopey as it sounds.
Fourteen episodes, four discs:
So this is it. My re-experience with my favorite show growing up comes to a close with this final release (unless of course Paramount decides to kick us in the ribs and release a tricked-out super-terrific edition; these sets have had zero special features). On a global level, I think my fond feelings toward the series still remain largely intact, though I doubt it would have held my interest unless I was in junior high school. Murdoc, Zito, thwarting Russian terrorists, wasting poachers, globetrotting with a paunchy supervisor (that would be Pete as played by Dana Elcar), all of it has held up under the scrutiny of my jaded eye. Corny fun, but fun nonetheless.
Alas, MacGyver: The Complete Final Season is corny, but not very much fun. Easily the most disappointing set of episodes I've reviewed (though I hear season one is a struggle, too), the seventh installment just smells of tapped-out ideas and slashed budgets. The storylines are uninteresting, bordering on cringe-worthy (MacGyver helps a big-hearted graffiti artist save his grandmother from being evicted by sleazy developers—yeccchhh), the locations, usually a high point of the show, all appear to have been shot in or around the back lot of Paramount studios and, frankly, Richard Dean Anderson looks bored.
Out of the 14 episodes, only a few stand out, and primarily for dubious reasons: "Obsessed" brings back Murdoc in a ridiculous premise that has him scrambling for dictatorial power in one of the Americas, and ends with a predictably cliffhanger death scene (except the cliffhanger was never resolved, a screw job I still get angry about to this day); the two-part "Good Knight MacGyver" is a joke, resembling more a collection of poorly costumed D&D geeks hanging out at a public park; and "The Stringer," the final episode of the series (not counting the two made-for-TV movies) where Mac reunites with his long-lost son, while not horrible, is a disappointment as far as series finales go. The only show that held my interest was "Walking Dead," with MacGyver infiltrating a cabal of voodoo fanatics. That was pretty okay.
All the other episodes were more or less half-baked sentimental flambé, where MacGyver teamed up with some kind of lovable lout to fend off mean white dudes. Oh, then there's "The Coltons," a show devoted to the bounty hunter characters that made sporadic appearances in previous episodes, but lacking a pivotal series element: no MacGyver! It's one of those transparent spin-off launch attempts and Anderson makes brief appearances in the beginning and at the end. So really, this set is only giving you 13 MacGyver episodes.
Look, by this point the show got listless. And I would submit that the producers saw their budgets drastically reduced, evidenced by the landlocked settings and some putrid CGI—the castle backdrop in "Good Knight MacGyver" is just awful.
Yet let us not focus on the bad, but instead offer a word of thanks for the multitude of episodes that reminded us that prime-time superheroes didn't need sniper rifles or close-cropped hair to keep us entertained.
The lamest season I've seen receives an equally lame DVD treatment: a full frame transfer sporting little video clean-up, a 2.0 stereo mix and, again, no extras. Complete the collection if you must.
The accused is sentenced to his Jeep and forced to retreat into the sunset.
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