MacGyver (v) To act in an extremely resourceful manner. To utilize everyday items in unconventional ways to achieve a difficult task. I predict it will not be long before you can open your trusty copy of Webster’s and find this character has officially entered our lexicon. There is little doubt but that it is an unofficial part of it now. Crossing over from the realm of pop culture and into our language is a phenomenal achievement for a television show.
I came to the MacGyver party rather late. Like everyone else on the planet, I was certainly aware of the show and the clever abilities of the lead character. Still, with so many other shows to watch, I never saw a complete episode. Then came Stargate SG-1. This was another series I at first avoided. I thought the original film was OK but nothing I’d care to see week in and week out. One day while my wife was taking our neighbor’s dog to the vet I was bored and sat down to an episode on Showtime. I was hooked, not only on the series, but the characters, along with their alter-ego actors. Richard Dean Anderson I found most compelling. I must admit to confusing him at first with the Richard Anderson of The Six Million Dollar Man fame (Oscar). Finally I sat down to some MacGyver on DVD.
Richard Dean Anderson really is MacGyver. OK, maybe he’s not quite so handy with a paperclip and matchbook, but his own acting ability and charm make MacGyver more enjoyable than the formula that has become so renowned. They share the love of hockey. Anderson was slated to be a hockey star before injuring both legs. Both men hail from the wilds of Minnesota. The two also share an environmental crusade. These traits also coincidentally apply to Jack O’Neil.
When the series finally ended after 7 years in 1992, fans were not so happy. As with many shows there were efforts to bring the show back. The problem here is that the show wasn’t really cancelled, per se. It had run its course. Even fans like myself have to admit that things had pretty much gone as far as they could. At least that’s what we thought. Anderson returned for two made-for-television films that came out in 1994. This two-disc set offers these final MacGyver adventures to finally and truly complete your collection.
Lost Treasure Of Atlantis:
It’s an international adventure when MacGyver and Professor Atticus (Blessed) are on the trail of the lost city of Atlantis. When they find an inscription that translates to “Atlantis Rises” they decide they might be on to the find of a lifetime.
Five years later and Atticus is lecturing on his findings. He believes that the city was built on the edge of a volcano and possessed something called the Torch Of Truth. But, when the city was destroyed, the Torch was hidden in an Ark, and now he thinks he knows how to find it. But the Academy is not about to finance such a fanciful adventure. With MacGyver’s help, the quest continues. But it leads them to a military installation, and the guys with the guns aren’t very friendly. The quest goes from Greece to England. The adventure leads the team to an active volcano and treacherous tombs and catacombs.
In an interesting bit of trivia, Anderson as O’Neil in Stargate would travel to another version of Atlantis in that franchise. It should also be noted that the pilot to the Atlantis series was called Rising.
Trail To Doomsday:
MacGyver travels to England for the birthday celebration of his buddy Paul Moran (Farrell). There he gets introduced to Paul’s daughter Elise (Headey). Of course, when guys like MacGyver go on vacation, it’s not going to be a simple walk in the park. The party is crashed by assassins who kill Paul. With his dying breath he mumbles the words “sample pack”. When MacGyver looks around he discovers the terrorists have also taken Elise. When she is also found murdered, MacGyver vows to stay and get these guys. He’s joined in his effort by Natalia (Edney), a former KGB agent with contacts in London. The trail leads to a covert nuclear power plant and stolen technology and weapons. Of course, it’s a case of who to trust and some twists of identity. And then there’s MacGyver’s ingenuity. A perfectly MacGyver English adventure.
Each film is presented in its original full frame broadcast ratio. The picture is marginally better than earlier years. It still leaves a little room for improvement. There is still a small amount of grain. Colors and contrast are average, if not somewhat soft, about what you might expect from a pre-HD television show.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is about what we’ve found in the previous seasons. Dialog is always clear, and that makes me happy enough. Yeah, some of the explosive content could use a bit of boost in my sub, but it does the job with minimal distortion.
There were rumors of additional films; in fact, there still are. But Anderson got promoted to an Air Force colonel and took his show on the road … a long road to other planets in the Stargate franchise. His participation has been limited even in the last years and films of that popular franchise. Honestly, the last time I saw him as Jack, I thought he had lost a step. He just looked tired. Combine the fatigue with family obligations, and I’m not sure we’ll see MacGyver again. When he returned for a Super Bowl ad, the rumors geared up again. Unfortunately, I have pretty solid sources. There may be another MacGyver, even a major film. But, Anderson won’t be the one working with those paperclips and fishing line. You might as well pick up this last hurrah from Anderson’s MacGyver. It’ll complete the collection nicely. “You could say that, yeah.”