Wednesday, September 4, 2013

About This Blog: Some FAQs!

What are you doing?
I will be ranking all 136 episodes in reverse order, from worst to best. 

How did you decide the rankings?
It’s less (in fact not at all) about what I think others would think, and instead is mostly (or completely) about what I think.  It’s less about if the episode is well done, and more about if I enjoyed it.  Think of it this way: if I were on a deserted island with nothing but a working television and 7 seasons of MacGyver DVDs, what episode would I want to watch first, second, and so on?

I have the preliminary rankings in mind, and I will re-watch each episode and then provide analysis in reverse order.  Since it’s been some time since I’ve seen all of these, I could be a little off.  I won’t change the rankings, though, unless it’s something egregious, like after rewatching Episode A I realize I had it ranked way too high or way too low.  

Will anything else be ranked?
I’ll rank the top 5 villians, love interests, sidekicks, and MacGyverisms to display on the right side of this blog.  It’s a working list, so I’ll add to it as I go.  Though I’ve seen every episode multiple times, I’m a little rusty on some of them so I don’t want to jump to any conclusions.

Why are you doing this?
I like to write, and this seemed like a fun thing to do at the time. 

Why do you love MacGyver so much?
First a little bit of personal history.  When I was in 4th grade, one Monday night I walked into my room and saw my sister watching a show on our upstairs tv.  She told me it was called “MacGyver” and that I might like it.  The next night, I watched a rerun (shown every weekday on USA network)– I remember the episode was “Jack in the Box”.  From that point on, I was hooked. 

Back to the question.  Everyone has a favorite tv show, movie, and book.  But have you ever felt like the author, director, or writer created the work just for you?  Like they knew you so well that they crafted this piece of art that cut right to the core of your DNA and spoke to you in a deeply personal way? 

That was MacGyver and 4th grade me.  It was my show.  It was adventure.  It was fun.  It was action without much violence.  It was science.  It was nature.  It was a positive role model.

It was even more special because it was time that I shared with my mother.  A chemist by trade, she enjoyed the show as much as I, and we bonded over many hours of MacGyver watching.  We knew all the lines and inside jokes – if I say “a trac—tor?” to her, she knows exactly what I mean. 

Great theme song?  Or the greatest theme song?
The greatest.  Next question. 

Could anyone else have played MacGyver?
No.  RDA was the only one.  He’s MacGyver, pure and simple.  You can critique the show on many levels (and I will), but RDA’s performance is beyond reproach.  From the first episode to the last, he brought it every time and created a timeless character. 

Wait, I thought you loved MacGyver.  You’re going to critique it?
I can’t help myself.  When rewatching the episodes as an adult, I notice things I didn’t notice before.  My mom likes to say, “You didn’t ask these types of questions when you were in 4th grade.”  But it’s good to question things you love, like America.

Which season is the best?
The order is 3,2,1,4,5,7,6.  A similar arc as a lot of other shows.

Where can I watch the episodes?
Two places are CBS and HULU, though they don't have every episode.  All 7 seasons are available on DVD.  

Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if he just used a gun?
Yes.  When rewatching the episodes today, the second-most common thing I find myself thinking is, “if only he had a cell phone there…”  The most common thing I think is, “WWJBD”.  In other words, what would Jack Bauer do? 

The answer is pretty easy – Jack would take out a gun and shoot the poor bastard and the show would be over after five minutes.  But whose approach is correct?  Is it right to take another life if it means saving another’s or one’s own?  A complex moral question.  I’ll just say I appreciate the unique perspective MacGyver provides.  Plus it wouldn’t be a great show if it ended after five minutes.   
Speaking of Jack Bauer, how would MacGyver do versus other legendary superheroes?
You mean in a fight?  I’m MacGyver’s biggest fan, and even I admit he’d get whooped.  Forget about not having a gun.  In single hand-to-hand combat, MacGyver wouldn’t stand a chance against pros like Bauer, Jason Bourne, or even Daniel Craig’s James Bond.  Though MacGyver’s self-defense skills do improve throughout the series to the point that he outfights Murdoc by Season 6, it is not his strong suit.  But is there anyone you’d rather have with you in a locked room with limited materials as a bomb is minutes from going off?  Of course not.  

Are you including the 2 movies in the rankings?
No, but I will review the movies after I’m done with all the episodes and decide where they would fit in the rankings.  I don’t remember them at all and can’t give them a preliminary score.

One other note: For the two-parters (Lost Love, Legend of the Holy Rose, and Good Knight MacGyver), I am considering each set as one episode - that's why it's 136 and not 139 episodes.

OK, one more note: I will not be calling him Mac, Angus, or anything else.  The name’s MacGyver, end of discussion.  Coming soon: my vote for #136 – the worst MacGyver in history!  


  1. I love your idea of starting with the worst episode first. You're right, it can only get better. Thanks for including all of the cool rankings, links to episodes and insights. I agree with you--RDA makes the character. I am looking forward to reading more!

  2. Thanks Lara! Yeah even in the worst episode and at the end of the series, RDA is still trying.

  3. Nick, I think it would be cool if you added a list of all the Murdoc "deaths" to your Top 5 Rankings page. Just a thought.

    1. Thanks Corey, good idea! I'll start on that once I get to the next Murdoc episode.

  4. Cool, they're hard to rank I'm sure but definitely worthy of another list.

  5. I've been looking for a clean MacGyver score for more than 20 years. They recently reconstructed original score from He-Man and She-Ra episodes using clean snippets from multiple episodes. I wish someone would do that for MacGyver. The theme is great, but I've heard it 8000 times. I want the score, it is genius! Any ideas or leads on where we can find this?


    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm with you - I'd love nothing more than a complete MacGyver score. If you read the comments on my Ken Harrison interview (Ken started composing on the show during season 3), there's a discussion on the lack of a CD. Ken says that he'd love to digitize his scores but hasn't done it yet due to lack of time.

    2. Hmmm...maybe you could get in touch with Ken and ask him how much to make it worth his time. We could launch a Kickstarter...we need to immortalize that music before everyone involved dies, then it's gone forever. (Of course if we don't get Randy, then you won't get God's music from Season 1.)


  6. Hi Nick,

    Happy New Year!

    Please pardon the length -- mostly agreeing w/ you.

    Late to the game here, but I'm an old MacGyver '85 fan myself -- who also started watching around fourth grade -- and has a physicist / inventor dad. So, I can relate to your backstory.

    Didn't know about the reboot until October 2018. Didn't realize the comic wasn't officially-licensed until tonight, either. Might have to check that one out.

    The reason I've been out of the loop is that to me, MacGyver was sort of like an unofficial mentor for our generations. I see it as now our role to go out, have adventures, and contribute positively to society -- in essence, for us -- in a positive way -- to kinda become MacGyver in real life, and pass on that sense of adventure, creative problem-solving, caring, advocacy and sense of mentoring to the next generation.

    So, I try to spend most of my life just living life -- putting into practice the positive aspects I learned from the show.

    But, I can certainly respect your passion for the show and your desire to critique it now. I loved the adventure, humor and life lessons. And agreed, MacGyver is THE fictional character to have on hand in a perilous situation (although I'd argue that the UK equivalent would be the Doctor of Doctor Who -- birds of a feather, imho).

    I wholeheartedly agree that RDA was phenomenal as MacGyver. Holy cow, when I watch him? The facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, posture, stunts, the cadence of his voice... Anderson's portrayal brought MacGyver's soul to life.

    Like you, I also really like the music. The theme song rocks! Totally makes me wanna get up and dance. If not THE best, then I'd say among the best. Of course, the opening montages certainly don't hurt. ;)

    And you're right about the "no guns factor" really doing a lot to contribute to the creativity of the show. I'd like to think that it made the show more accessible to us former kid fans, too.

    Anyway, impressive blog. Honestly, I'm blown away by what you hard-core fans know about the series -- and am somewhat surprised to see its popularity continuing even now, despite the datedness of the show.

    Nice to connect with fellow MacGyver fans. Cheers! = )

    1. Thanks Lynda for the nice message, and hope you enjoy the site!