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Genre: TV series, TV movie
Country: United States
Starring: Richard Dean Anderson, Brian Blessed, Sophie Ward, Christian Burgess, Nicholas Farrell, Lena Headey
Directors: Charles Correll, Michael Vejar
Run time: 185 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
I have a serious soft spot for MacGyver, the TV series that did more to shape my youth than baseball games and violin practice combined. Then again, when I was a child, my TV got only three channels, and MacGyver was one of only two shows I ever watched. (The other was Wonderstruck, a Canadian TV show about actual science, unlike MacGyver which was about pseudo-science.)
That being said, I can’t look back on MacGyver with too much nostalgia, because really this was a dreadful show. I didn’t know that when I was seven and thought it was the coolest TV series of all time. I didn’t know that the plots were thin and the dialogue was cheesy and the “science” was implausible. And I wasn’t aware that twenty years later, MacGyver’s mullet would look really silly.
On June 15th, Paramount Home Entertainment releases MacGyver: The TV Movies on DVD. After the series had run its course, a little bit more was milked out of the franchise with a couple of made-for-TV movies, Lost Treasure Of Atlantis and Trail To Doomsday. They are packaged together here on this DVD, and both are silly. You know, like the show was. Doomsday is a spy story where MacGyver investigates the murder of his friend, clashing with KGB agents and the like. It starts out amazing – MacGyver is driving a hot red sexy expensive convertible. Of course, the MavGyver I remember would never drive a car like this. But there’s a solution – MacGyver is uncomfortable in the car, that has been given to him during his visit by his old friend. That way, MacGyver can keep his persona, and the film makers can slip a sexy car into the show.
Thankfully, the car blows up about halfway through the movie. There is precious little “MacGyver” action in this one, and by that I mean he doesn’t spend much time with chewing gum and his swiss army knife and a couple of teabags and a pylon building some kind of detonator. Instead, he mostly fights people and runs from other people. And eventually, solves the crime and unravels the espionnage and rocks the mullet.
The better movie in this set is clearly Lost Treasure of Atlantis, where MacGyver and some hot chick help his old professor discover the lost city of Atlantis. Yes, forget for a moment that this sounds like a rejected Indiana Jones plot line, or a cheesy and horrible Relic Hunter episode. At least MacGyver uses “science” to build things and escape from other things and do more cool stuff. You know, if the writers of this show are still in contact with each other, perhaps they can put their heads together and do something about the BP oil spill? Just thinking…even MacGyver’s silliness can’t be dumber than the stuff they’ve come up with so far.
One more thing about these made-for-TV movies that is bugging me. Remember in the very last season of MacGyver, long after the show jumped the shark, they finally revealed MacGyver’s first name? Maybe you don’t. Maybe MacGyver was a bigger deal to me at the time. But after finding out his name, he went back to simply being “MacGyver”. But in these movies, he is presented as “Angus MacGyver”! At least no one is calling him “Angus”.
As I said, I have a serious soft spot for MacGyver. And because of my nostalgic yearning for this show and all its mullety goodness, I was very excited about this DVD. And even after I watched Trail To Doomsday, which was truly awful and cheesy, I was still excited for Lost Treasure Of Atlantis. Which I think serves to illustrate one of two things. Either the power of nostalgia over a reasonably sane mind, or the incredible extent to which I am a total dork. Or maybe both.