Sci-Fi Storm

MacGyver Season 2 DVD review

by on May.29, 2005, under General News

MacGyver did everything with nothing – give him a problem and some household items, he’d create a “MacGyverism” – a device tht solves the problem. As a special agent with the Phoenix Foundation, he seems to find himself in these situations frequently. The second season of this show starring Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate SG-1) [sfs=525]comes out June 7th[/sfs] on DVD. Check out my review, and check out the official site.

MacGyver is no ordinary secret agent. He never carries a gun. His drinks aren’t shaken or stirred. And he fights for justice using the most dangerous weapon of all: his intelligence. Richard Dean Anderson starts as television?s favorite boy scout-turned-action hero: Angus MacGyver.

When an American pilot is shot down over Central America or a top-secret missile is stolen, the authorities call on MacGyver, a former Special Forces agent, to save the day. When all other means of solving problems are exhausted, a call goes out for Macgyver!

This is another of those series that I didn’t start watching regularly until after it started. I think after catching the first season episode with complex bombs on the cruise ship was when I realized this show existed. Now, it may not be scientifically accurate with all his MacGyverisms, but it certainly was entertaining. In recent years you could catch it on TV Land or Spike TV. Now it gets the retro DVD treatment.

Standout episodes: “The Eraser”, guest starring Joe Santos (The Rockford Files); “Jack of Lies”, the debut of Mac’s friend (who gets him into a lot of trouble in future episodes) Jack Dalton; “Soft Touch”, with Terri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives); and “Friends”, a clip show that has Mac contemplating retirement.

Random note: The first episode in the set, “The Human Factor”, shows some computer graphics lifted from The Andromeda Strain, notably the “side-view” diagram of the base. The third season episode, “Kill Zone”, also borrows from the movie, this time the situation.

Packaging: Thin is in. Given that full-season box sets are all the rage, but shelf space is at a premium, there has been a definite shift to thinner-profile packaging. Quantum Leap solved that with double-sided discs. This set uses the thin plastic cases, but hold two single-sided discs each. The case for discs 1&2 had cracked spokes on one side – possibly slightly crushed, but no signs of disc damage.

Each disc is screen printed and includes an episode list. Each disc is slightly different, featuring a simple item that MacGyver could turn into a weapon.

The slipcase is nothing remarkable, but holds the disc holders well with a profile of less than two standard DVD cases. 2/5

Video/audio quality: Very grainy. It does not appear that any digital mastering was done to correct this, and some compression artifacting could be seen on busy scenes. The graininess may have made compression difficult. Audio is mono/non-surround – the show did not get broadcast in stereo until later seasons. 2/5

Extras: None. This still disappoints me that these retro releases don’t include anything in the way of extras. N/A.

Navigation: Simple, non-animated menus with the list of episodes, and a picture of Richard Dean Anderson (looks like publicity head-shots from around that time). Disc 1 include a menu item to get to the preview ads for other TV show releases. 2/5

Overall: The show itself is great. You can generally watch any episodes in any order with a few exceptions, and even those only have minor references to previous episodes. 4/5

Final score: 2.5 out of 5 without counting lack of extras. Come on producers, documentaries on old series seem to be showing up all over the dial – why aren’t they finding their way onto these DVDs?

I’m a bit disappointed in the score (and I could probably have gone lower), because it belies the quality of the show itself. But I’m disappointed in the fairly basic nature of the DVD transfer. This doesn’t make it bad – it works, but it lacks the pizazz of other releases.

Richard Dean Anderson fans should definitely pick this one up and see him in his younger years. I don’t see Emerald Point N.A.S. on the DVD radar any time soon… 🙂

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