CBS has apparently pulled any plans they had to release more seasons of MacGyver on Blu-ray due to low sales.
The information comes via a post in our forums by user Jano, the administrator of the German MacGyver Forums, who has relayed that one of his members wrote to CBS Germany asking when the other seasons would be released. Their reply was that no further releases were planned because of the low sales of season one.
The news is a sad blow for the fandom who had hopes of getting the full series on Blu-ray when the initial news of a full series conversion to HD was released, but is reflective of a long established trend within the MacGyver fan community where we complain about lack of merchandise and then when it’s given to us we complain about it not being exactly what we wanted and refuse to buy it and so CBS see the franchise as non-profitable and we – the fans – miss out.
However, all is not lost according to Jano, who has connected with a local German studio to produce their own Blu-ray version using the CBS masters. Jano explained that when licensing out a property to another studio, there’s an internal feedback round with official international branches first to see if any of them are interested in doing the property themselves (in which case it wouldn’t be licensed out). This wasn’t the case for MacGyver, so the license was available for the German studio to purchase and they are now in planning stages for a Blu-ray release.
“This won’t be released before next summer or fall at the earliest here in Germany (and who knows when and if in the US), but what I can guarantee you is that we’ll do our best to give you the very best Mac experience ever (including hopefully bonus materials if available through the licenser and I’m currently writing an extensive booklet about the show’s history)” Jano said. This is pleasing news considering that one of the main gripes since the first DVD release came out has been that there is bonus material included; so if they are able to get this project finished fans may well, finally, have a MacGyver Blu-ray set to be proud of.
For years it was believed that an HD conversion wasn’t even possible because the episodes had been transferred to and edited on video with the original film stock either lost, damaged or destroyed. This idea found firmer footing when the video copies were used to produce the DVD releases. But despite the apparent impossibility of the request, fans continued to ask. Several online partitions were started over the years with all having only a modest response from the fans with many comments referring to the thought that the original film stock was gone. This, however, was laid to rest when CBS announced in 2018 that they were half way through transferring the full series over to HD. The news was quickly followed by a video release from CBS which compared DVD scenes with the newly restored HD versions and the difference was staggering. Fans were excited at the thought that they would finally be able to watch MacGyver in the high quality they had become accustomed to through modern TV and digital shows and movies and many commented that they couldn’t wait for the release.
The Fans Revolt.
When it was announced that only season 1 was being released as a single season the initial excitement from fans quickly turned to criticism of CBS with allegations of greediness and contempt. This was compounded even further when reports started coming in from the first buyers that there were no extras at all in the set. The lack of extras has always been a sore point among fans and is widely seen in the fandom as CBS using the franchise as a quick money maker with as little effort as possible put into the projects they dish out to fans. It started with the first DVD sets not having extras while other shows released around the same time did have extra material. This carried on through all 7 seasons releases and even into the full series box-sets. The lack of extras on the Blu-ray was, essentially, rubbing salt into, a now, very deep wound.
Why does the film stock matter?
Film stock is the only way older TV shows and movies can be converted to HD format. This is because photographic film has an almost limitless definition – that is to say, you can project a photo to practically any size without losing quality. That feature translates to also being able to make very high-resolution scans of each frame to create HD versions of shows unlike standard definition images which don’t contain enough information to make a clear image.
One of the processes used in the absence of full episode stock is to use the daily takes, which is the footage shot each day and reconstruct the episode using the director and camera notes. This is the processed used to transfer Star Trek: TNG to HD several years ago. It’s possible that this may also have been done for MacGyver if the original episode film stock has been lost or damaged.
Will we ever see the rest in HD?
Yes. It’s important to remember that Blu-ray is not the primary reason for converting TV shows to HD. CBS are “future-proofing” their products to ensure they can be used for years to come. Converting their shows and films to HD now means they are ready to be used in whatever format and/or size future TVs and audience demand.
Poland is already seeing season 2 in HD on their public television so it would seem that CBS has already made the HD versions available for other networks to use. We had expected that the CBS streaming service would have been updated to the HD versions, but to date they still have the SD versions only so the exact plans for HD remain a bit of a mystery for now, but we do know that they CBS haven’t spent considerable time, effort and money converting this show to HD for nothing. One way or another we will see the full series in HD.