Kristen’s Top 5 TV Shows: #5 – MACGYVER


When I was narrowing down my picks for favorite TV shows of all time, I knew I had to include at least one of my childhood favorites, so I decided to go with MACGYVER. The show debuted in 1985 and starred Richard Dean Anderson as Angus MacGyver, a secret agent who used science, rather than guns, to get out of almost any situation.

People seem to remember two things about MacGyver: the rockin’, explosion-filled theme song and that MacGyver himself could diffuse a bomb with a paper clip, duct tape, and his trusty Swiss army knife. As awesome as that was, the show had a lot of other things going for it too. Richard Dean Anderson was a total babe in that manly ’80s mullet and flannel kinda way. He lived on an sweet houseboat before Tom Hanks made it cool in Sleepless in Seattle. He had a sensitive side too, which is why he always chose to use his brains to get out of trouble rather than carry a gun (he was traumatized by a tragic childhood accident involving a gun). This made for a fun hour long show that had lots of action, but never got too violent. MacGyver was an action hero who you trusted would always save the day–without resorting to Jack Bauer-like acts of torture–and could get himself out of seemingly impossible situations with a little bit of ingenuity.

Like most secret agents, MacGyver worked for a mysterious agency (the Phoenix Foundation) and had a badass nemesis that refused to die, Murdoc (Michael Des Barres). He would always attempt to kill MacGyver with some elaborate booby-trap, and then apparently be killed himself, only to resurface in a later episode. Murdoc’s repeated resurrections became a running joke throughout the series.

If you’ve only ever seen the lame MacGruber skit on SNL, do yourself a favor and watch the original MacGyver. I catch a rerun every once in a while and I’m constantly impressed with the way the science behind his MacGyverisms holds up all these years later. Even shows on the air today, like USA’s Burn Notice, seem to have taken some inspiration from MacGyver, so if you’ve never seen the original, be sure to check it out.

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