Fiction, so the saying goes, requires a willing suspension of disbelief. In the case of ABC’s “MacGyver,” there are large bridges that lack enough suspension to do the job. Even so, the series is now in its fifth year, which indicates that America’s favorite tinkerer must be doing something right.
Of course, television’s MacGyver is one of a kind, and Richard Dean Anderson gives him a boyish humanity that is not without appeal.
Central to the show is MacGyver’s ability to jimmy-rig himself out of any tight situation without the use of firearms or harsh chemicals.
In this season premiere, a 2 parter, audience sees him build aircraft from bamboo, cement mixers and duct tape; escape a “Pit & the Pendulum” death trap through the clever use of shoes; reassemble a ruby laser with devastating effect, etc.
What makes it all work is Anderson. He injects such a strong dose of gee-whiz into MacGyver That it’s all almost okay. Odd? Yes. But almost okay.
The plot revolves around lovely archaeologist Zoe Ryan (Lise Cutter), who talks MacGyver into searching for a legendary hidden temple filled with precious jewels, the secret of eternal life and other assorted staples of contemporary adventure.
As is de rigueur for this type of plot, ther are bad guys who want to reach the temple before the good guys because . . . well, because they’re bad guys.
Eventually, everyone is kicking about Western Europe searching for treasure in an excursion reminiscent of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” only with hand tools.
C’est bizarre, n’est ce pas?
Teleplay by Stephen Downing flows nicely. Acting all around is credible. Direction by Michael Caffey (Part 1) and Charles Correll (Part 2) is smooth and steady. — Dani.
“MacGyver,” Variety, Oct. 18, 1989.