DVD Review HTF REVIEW: MacGyver: The Complete First Season

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Jan 18, 2005.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    MacGyver: The Complete First Season



    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1985 - 1986

    Rated: NR

    Length: 1045 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

    Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono)

    Subtitles: None

    Closed Captioned

    Special Features: None

    Estimated Street Price: $30 or less, USD


    Release Date: January 25, 2005

    He’s a “fixer.” He’s a soldier. He’s a freelance spy. And, he’s a genius when it comes to improvisation. He’s MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson).

    Who else can defuse a bomb with milk (lowfat)... or build a bomb with chewing gum? Who else would climb onto the hood of a car to fix the brakes... at 70 mph? Who else can pick a lock with a Swiss Army Knife? In less then 10 seconds? Behind his back?

    MacGyver is a man who doesn’t carry lots of gadgets. His knife, matches, and an empty knapsack in which to put items he finds along the way is all he needs to improvise his way out of a jam. MacGyver uses everyday objects and his knowledge of chemistry and physics to create what he needs to complete a mission. He hates guns. He hates killing. And, he’s afraid of heights (though that doesn’t keep him from achieving high altitudes).

    MacGyver first aired during a period of my life when I never seemed to find the time to watch television. I had heard of this interesting new spy show. I even managed to catch an episode from time to time. I never came to fully appreciate the series until now, however, when I could enjoy the entire first season in sequence.

    The program has aged a bit. It is definitely dated by the constant cold war references. Guest stars are often in need of acting lessons, and dialog is somewhat less than realistic at times. Setups leading to climactic moments can be a bit pretentious - but the show is a lot of intelligent fun... even after twenty years.

    As a cost cutting measure, MacGyver frequently used stock footage, and intercut bits of scenes from Paramount films. One of the most noticeable instances of this is in the episode “Thief of Budapest,” in which much of the chase from the original The Italian Job is recycled for the climax of the episode.

    MacGyver: Season One includes the following episodes:

    Disc 1: Pilot, The Golden Triangle, Thief of Budapest, The Gauntlet
    Disc 2: The Heist, Trumbo’s World, Last Stand, Hellfire
    Disc 3: The Prodigal, Target MacGyver, Nightmares, Deathlock
    Disc 4: Flame’s End, Countdown, The Enemy Within, Every time She Smiles
    Disc 5: To Be a Man, Ugly Duckling, Slow Death, The Escape
    Disc 6: A Prisoner of Conscience, The Assassin

    The Transfers
    The video on this set is less than stellar, but it isn’t a total loss. Some episodes display greater amounts of dust and dirt than others, and that is the biggest problem I see. All of the episodes have a noticeable amount. Some episodes appear rather soft, showing evidence of over-processing - perhaps some high frequency filtering. Most episodes are less soft - though I wouldn’t classify any as consistently highly detailed.

    Colors appear a bit inconsistent from one episode to the next - both in saturation and value. Most often, the color is a bit under saturated, and the values appear skewed toward red.

    Contrast is just okay, with fairly solid blacks and decent shadow detail. Whites can appear a bit muddy, never seeming to achieve purity.

    Some of the worst footage in terms of print damage is in the frequent use of stock footage in the series. Since this was often dirty footage to begin with, it is difficult to fault the transfer for that.

    Finally, occasional compression artifacts such as mosquito noise can be seen, as well as occasional mild aliasing.

    Inconsistency is the primary feature, with image quality ranging from fair to good.

    With such a laundry list of flaws, it sounds worse than it is. Overall, the video is certainly a little disappointing, but it is ultimately watchable. Recalling Anchor Bay’s recent release of “The Commish,” I can say that the video on this set is much better than that. While I’d like to see better quality than we have here, a street price of under $30 allows for a bit of forgiveness. I don’t expect a print restoration, but one hopes that Paramount will do a bit better on the encoding on the next season.

    The audio is monaural, and delivers a pretty good punch. Frequency response is pretty solid, with some decent bass response when called for. Dialog and music sound pleasing and natural.

    Final Thoughts
    Though the transfers aren’t perfect and there are zero extras, I really enjoyed the show. If you’re a hardcore fan, you may want to pick this up, as the price is right.
     
  2. Aryn Leroux

    Aryn Leroux Screenwriter

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    Scott: Thankyou very much for your review. Nothing could stop me from buying this show i don't think and the price point only helps that out. From watching the show on tvland when it first appeared there in early 2004, the first season by far had the worst image quality. So one can only hope that will translate to a better picture in future seasons.
     
  3. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    Cannot wait for this!!! It will be mine!! [​IMG]

    Thanks for the review. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jonny_L

    Jonny_L Stunt Coordinator

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    No Patty and Selma jokes yet....hmmmmmmm
     
  5. Wade M.

    Wade M. Extra

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    Of the Bouvier sisters, which one was it that loved MacGyver? And I wonder if the creators of MacGyver ever had a little in-joke as a response to the Bouvier sister's obsession? Like, a character named Sideshow Bob who used to be a clown but became a serial killer? [​IMG]
     
  6. RogerH

    RogerH Supporting Actor

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    Well since I couldn't resist I bought it this morning (I loved it years ago) so lets hope it stands up pretty well. I hope they bring the seasons out quickly like every 3 months or so.
     
  7. Aryn Leroux

    Aryn Leroux Screenwriter

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    I am going to pick mine up shortly.. I believe it was said paramount will most likely be releasing 4 seasons of macgyver this year. [​IMG]
     
  8. RogerH

    RogerH Supporting Actor

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    Thats great news... by that timetable we could get the whole series done next year [​IMG]
     
  9. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    Holy cow, 4 seasons a year!?!

    Love the CC $25 price tag though. I went to 2 Circuit Cities at noon and both were sold out! (and they did receive them incase you were wondering [​IMG] ) So had to head over to Best Buy.

    I removed my MacGyver season pass in anticipation of this release. [​IMG]
     
  10. Jano Rohleder

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    On the one hand - sure. But on the other hand... would have loved it a lot more, if there were only two seasons a year, but those nicely done. Even "21, Jump Street" gets an audio commentary and at least some extras. [​IMG]

    I'm very disappointed that my most favourite tv show ever is released in such a lousy way. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now I'm hoping on Warner doing a better job with my second favourite show Lois & Clark.

    Jano
     
  11. RogerH

    RogerH Supporting Actor

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    Its great to have this and with the excellent price I don't mind no extras.
     
  12. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    Commentaries by RDA would be a welcomed extra. I'm curious to hear what he has to say about the character and show. Perhaps a sitin with Michael Des Barres (Murdoc) as well for his episodes. Now that would be fun. [​IMG] Ahh throw in Teri Hatcher as well, with her newfound fame it couldn't hurt.
     
  13. RogerH

    RogerH Supporting Actor

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    I just finished Season one last night I forgot how much I used to love this series. Can't wait for Season 2 [​IMG]
     
  14. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    I am going through this set now. All I can say is "Thank you, Paramount." I do not care about extras. Yes, they would be nice, but I feel so happy and privileged to own my all-time personal favorite show on DVD. It looks sounds as good or better than I have ever seen it. I just could not be happier - at least not until I have the other 6 seasons on my shelf. This show has infinite rewatchability for me, and it is one of my DVD "holy grails." No, it is not the best show ever, but is a show I have loved since I was a child. I am eagerly awaiting the release of subsequent seasons. They will be mine on release day! [​IMG]
     
  15. JasonLa

    JasonLa Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got my copy today and from my 1st look at the discs I find the following concern so far with the running times: I watched disc 1 and Theif of Budapest is only 45:33 and it matches perfectly to the syndicated copy I have where as the other 3 episodes on the disc contained ~3 minutes of extra footage not in the syndicated versions.

    I have not watched the rest of the set yet but have looked at runnning times. Each episodes is ~48 minutes give or take 30 seconds except the following: Target MacGyver 46:24, Deathlock 47:09, Countdown 46:57, The Enemy Within 47:00, To be a Man 47:05, Slow Death 46:24, The Assassin 46:30. I'm more concerned about the ones in bold since they are about 1.5 minutes shorter than the average running time.

    I will continue to check each episode in comparison to the copies I have and post my findings. If anyone has origional broadcast copies could you do a compare too.
     
  16. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    I surely hope these are not syndication versions. Unforunately, the new season I watched was Season 7, when I was like 11 years old! All the rest were re-runs on USA, SPIKE, etc. Man, I never used to miss that show. It used to be on every weeknight on USA. [​IMG]

    I hope these are not edited, unfortunately, I wouldn't know since all I have ever seen were reruns except Season 7.
     
  17. JasonLa

    JasonLa Stunt Coordinator

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    I can tell you the only one I suspect is the one on disc 1 so far since its running time was only 45:33 and it matched the copy I have recorded off of syndication. This doesn't mean for certain that they didn't write some of the episodes with a shorter length. That is why I asked if someone with origional airings could verify them too. I have found that on rare occation some episodes that reran on other channels were aired uncut but that is probably only 1 out of 100 or more episodes in my experience.

    If nobody reading the thread has origional airing please try and track them down to confirm or deny my suspition.
     
  18. JasonLa

    JasonLa Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok I finished watching the set and here are my findings and notes. Please if anyone with original broadcasts could check the ones I noted about to see if there is anything missing in them.


    Episode--difference--DVD---Syndicated copies I have.
    01-------2:31-------48:11--45:40
    02-------2:39-------48:13--45:34
    03------------------45:33--45:09 (difference is time compression no differences otherwise)
    04-------2:40-------48:12--45:32
    05-------2:21-------47:54--45:33
    06-------2:41-------48:17--45:36
    07-------2:19-------47:53--45:34
    08-------2:36-------48:05--45:29
    09-------2:04-------47:36--45:32 (reasonable to assume original one was slightly shorter)
    10-------1:39-------46:24--44:45 ****
    11-------2:27-------47:55--45:28
    12-------1:44-------47:09--45:25 ****
    13-------2:21-------47:52--45:31
    14-------1:25-------46:57--45:32 ****
    15-------1:29-------47:00--45:31 ****
    16-------3:59-------47:57--43:58
    17-------1:37-------47:05--45:28 ****
    18-------2:38-------48:08--45:30
    19-------0:53-------46:24--45:31 **** +++
    20-------2:41-------48:11--45:30
    21-------1:46-------47:17--45:31 (reasonable to assume original one was slightly shorter)
    22-------0:58-------46:30--45:32 **** +++

    ****(I'd feel better about these if compared to original airing to verify if they are uncut, however they do contain the extra footage not present in the syndicated copies I have)

    +++(Almost identical to the syndicated copies I have)

    Nearly all of the syndicated copies have shortened by about 30 seconds version of the intro theme including those marked with +++.

    All but episode 3 contained segments not in the syndicated copies I have not counting the longer intro theme.
     
  19. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I'm sorry, but although I really enjoyed the MacGyver series and watched it when it was originally on ABC and also some reruns on USA Network, I don't see the relevance of the lengths of episodes. Paramount is known for transferring complete shows from the original negatives. I'm sure the MacGyvers you got were not edited and the most complete they can be! [​IMG]
     
  20. RogerH

    RogerH Supporting Actor

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    Yeah I agree Jeff plus I doubt they were trying to make each episode identical in length.
     

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