MacGyver (TV Series 1985–1992) Poster

(1985–1992)

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Good God, I miss MacGyver...
Clint Ford10 July 2002
Okay, here's yet another one of my famous nostalgic-experience stories from my youth.

I'm writing this in 2002. I was born in 1976, so that means when "MacGyver" premiered in 1985-- I was nine years old. My father and my older brother used to watch it, but it never really kept my interest as I was too young to understand and appreciate the intelligence and physics of everything. MacGyver-- along with "Hill Street Blues"-- was blown off by me when it started... only to be embraced whole-heartedly by me in my teen years.

When I re-discovered "MacGyver", I was in junior high, and had begun watching it on a daily basis in syndication on the USA Network. It came on at a great time-- 5pm. I was out of school by 3:30 every day, and had plenty of time to get home to watch it 5 days a week. True, I saw the same episodes over and over again, but I loved it so much, I didn't care.

One of the best things about this show is that MacGyver was the perfect role model for young guys who grew up watching the show. He didn't smoke, he didn't drink, he gave his rewards to charity, he never swore or got angry, he hated guns, and he used his WITS to get himself or others out of trouble.

--and "MacGyver" used an aspect not seen (to my knowledge) since the days of Sam Spade... the show used "Film Noir"-- basically, you hear the person's thoughts in a voice-over while they're doing what they're describing.

Now, I can appreciate the biggest complaint about this show: some people don't like it because it's unrealistic that a man could make an explosive device with a lightbulb, a paperclip, and some cleaning supplies. Yes, some of the "MacGyverisms" were eye-rollers... especially in the series finale-- when he and his newly-found son escape out of some kind of pit by strapping fire extinguishers to their backs and setting them off. Yes, that's stupid. But come on, people! This is SEVEN YEARS of thinking up MacGyverisms! They can't ALL be gems! But most of them were REALLY clever and REALLY worked!

I know for a fact that this show inspired me to be a better, more-helpful person to others... and to use my mind to remedy situations. I've tried to watch "Stargate SG-1" with Richard Dean Anderson... but it just makes me sad, because I want to see the long hair and the brown leather jacket with the red plaid interior lining.

From what I understand, "MacGyver" is only playing at 10am Monday through Friday on WGN (a Chicago station) nowadays. USA dumped it (jerks) and I haven't seen it since. But I'm dying for another reunion show. I miss Jack Dalton. (Bruce McGill) I miss Pete Thornton. (Dana Elcar-- who's gone blind from Gloucoma, bless him) Both are fine, fine actors who added greatly to the show.

But... sadly, all good things must end. It's been off the air for years, but I still think about the show all the time.

If you've come here for a review to see if the show's worth watching, it absolutely is. Let your kids watch it. It's a wonderful influence, and I think you'll really love the outcome you'll get from letting them watch it. Hey, watch it yourself. You'll probably get hooked too.
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A True Treasure!
Christoffer Ericsson22 January 2002
As a kid, I was brought up with a couple of TV-heroes that I adored over all, and that I wanted to be just like. One of these heroes was special agent/survival-expert Angus MacGyver, a guy that, unlike other action-series heroes, didn't grab the nearest firearm when things got hot. For him, an used paper clip, the wrap from a bubblegum, a spring from the bottom of a rusty old bed and his trusty Swiss army knife (which has become MacGyver's trademark) would do the job.

The thing with MacGyver is that it's original. Rare to any other series today, it focuses on the brain instead of brute force, which is actually a good thing, considering that television today is heading for a more "brains-off, action-on"-attitude. Angus MacGyver hates weapons and therefore never uses them, but instead, combining limited resources, he finds simple and elegant ways of dealing with the problem at hand. And the best part is, that (atleast in theory) MacGyver's inventions would really work, making it even more fascinating (even though some of them are not to be recommended to try).

Admittably, some of the episodes may not feature the best acting according to modern-day standards, and some of the ideas and solutions may be slightly used up, but seeing as the series aired in the mid-80's, I don't find it in anyway disturbing, rather the opposite, I find MacGyver to be a true treasure among the TV-series of today, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys wit, humor and a good time spent getting surprised by the geniousness of MacGyver's contraptions!
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another great show from the 80's
Dan Grant21 September 1999
When I think of the 80's, shows like the Dukes of Hazard, Dallas, The A Team and MacGyver bring back memories. They were fun and with the exception of Dallas, the three others all had one thing in common. They all solved things with very little violence. Even though it may seem that there was some, The A Team always made contraptions that would get them out of trouble, but no one died. The Dukes always fought their way out of trouble just long enough for Roscoe to come arrest the bad guys and with Mac, well he would just make a radio receiver out of a paperclip grass and a shoelace or he would make a dart gun out of bubble gum and toothpick. I honeslty believe that this this was the toughest man in the world. Put him up against the Terminator and he would have found a way to dismantle his CPU without ever touching it. He would make something to shut him down. And that's what was so pure about MacGyver. He never really used violence to solve problems, always his head. And he never got carried away either. He never panicked. He just stayed cool and he always managed to save the day. I love this show and I wish they would bring it back, even in sydication where I am, but we don't have it here and that is a shame because it is a great show and one that I miss.
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Greatest show of all time!
doodlegirl13_200023 January 2005
This show was excellently written and cast. Richard Dean Anderson was by far the best person for this role and he brought the character the attitude and look that added to his "no drinks, drugs, or guns" outlook that was inspirational and enjoyable for all ages. It'd be refreshing to see another show like this come along, but I don't believe it will.

MacGyver focused on the incurable do-gooder who couldn't say no to someone in trouble, and he always had a scientifically sound, absolutely brilliant solution. He was always as optimistic as possible, and he wasn't one to immediately jump in bed as is the norm for most television. His compadres always added to the action/adventure/comedy, and throughout the season you learn new things about the characters that add so much more depth to the story.

Quirky, smart, clean, nostalgic and full of age-less values... (the mullet and leather jacket didn't hurt either) MacGyver will be around forever, and well it should be.
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8/10
A fun piece of TV history
tomimt19 March 2006
MacGyver is synonym for resourceful and creative. If you look those words from the dictionary, you'll see MacGyvers photo and a text: dude, who can make anything out of a roll of duct tape, dental floss and some loose pieces of stone.

That's the whole basic idea for a show. MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) is a secret agent, or something, who uses his brain before his brawn always coming up a clever solution on dispatching the baddies without the need of using a gun. Though he might do explosives now and then. ;) Mac's boss is Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar), boss of Phoenix foundation, that seems to dabble in a bit of everything, just like Mac. Another regular character is Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill), Mac's adventurous pilot friend who is often in trouble or is gonna get in one in order to help his friend.

What astonishes me is, that MacGyver has lasted the test of time reasonably well. Sure, there are lots of episodes, that feel a bit campy these days, but in all the series is still very watchable. And this comes from a person, who saw MacGyver for the first time back in 80's as a little kid (I was little under ten when it started in the TV here) and saw the series again in my mid twenties.
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Still a Classic!
cowS_cowS_cows2 November 2003
This is still one of the greatest shows ever! I remember watching this show when I was a kid, and still try to catch the reruns. There are still classic MacGyver references made about building a bomb with a toothpick, some string, a stick of gum, and a few household chemicals if the right proportions. This was just a good show, not overly complicated, but with good values and likable characters. Richard Dean Anderson is likable as MacGyver with Dana Elcar as his boss and best friend. Always a classic!
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10/10
My Most Favorite TV Series of All Time
lizzie112512 November 2004
This show had a kind, intelligent, athletic, good-with-his-hands fellow from Minnesota (bonus: he is good-looking). I cannot ask for much more than that. The show was funny, good hearted and adventurous all at once. It should have gotten Emmy nominations but I think it was unique for the time. Now, shows that are similar are finally getting recognized.

The first five seasons were really the best; the last two seasons went for surreal moments of going into Mac's dreams and back in time. But, overall, it was always worth watching.

Once this baby is on DVD, I am doing all that I have to to own it!! Hopefully, someday soon....
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The Best Action-Adventure on TV
Gislef28 January 1999
From '85 to '92, MacGyver filled a necessary gap on television: that of the action-adventure hero. Basically MacGyver is the Indiana Jones of the 80's, which the show itself acknowledges (MacGyver goes on several archaeological expeditions, including one for the Holy Grail!). Added benefits were the hero's reliance on mechanical improvisations, his aversion to guns, and the large cast of supporting and recurring characters. The episodes tend to get a bit preachy with their "Message of the Week" in the 4-6th seasons, reflecting star Richard Dean Anderson's own personal beliefs.
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Good old action series.
Brian-2727 June 2001
All of us at one time or another have enjoyed "MacGyver". The series always had the most drama and excitement around. Richard Dean Anderson played this role to perfection. I recently watched two episodes one in which Teri Hatcher in rescued in the old west. I watched an episode in which Kim Zimmer is held hostage only to be rescued by MacGyver. Catch the reruns on WGN.
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10/10
Macgyver...Quite simply the best show on Earth
kyle zimmer23 August 2006
I'm 16 years old but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate one awesome show. Macgyver is simply put, the most unique and amazing idea for a show I've ever seen. He used no guns, no cussing, minimal violence (just what was necessary to get the job done), and was always teaming up with some sort of organization trying to help society. The show never gets tiring to watch...well I still haven't seen all the episodes yet but I'm working my way through the DVD collection.

There is one thing that's going on nowadays that I really don't like...all the Macgyver stereotypes that are so off the mark, it upsets me. Example:

"Macgyver can make a bomb with a piece of gum, a pencil and a paperclip."

That is the most incorrect statement I've ever heard. When you find the episode with that in it, come to my door with the episode in your hand and we'll watch it together and see who's right. It saddens me to see that sort of thing happen these days. For one thing it's incorrect and for another, it's discrediting all the amazing ideas Macgyver had for getting out of tight situations. Sure Richard Dean Anderson himself didn't come up with the ideas, but I'm sure they had some pretty smart scientists working behind the scenes.

All in all this is one fantastic show that I will continue to watch for years and years to come. I recommend it to anyone interested in watching an extremely entertaining show that sets a good role model for anyone from small children to middle-aged adults.
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Secret Agent Handyman ! (The Brainchildren of 1985)
elshikh41 February 2009
This is original. A James Bond for kids. Or a boy scout yet in the spaying business. Whatever the definition of it, (MacGyver) was a pure gold from the 1980s.

For being the actor who was unafraid to use his glasses during the audition, showing a lack of pretension that the show makers wanted in their lead—(Richard Dean Anderson) made it to be the title character. And how he portrayed it fine as innocent and intelligent secret agent that became one of the most memorable characters in TV history. We were waiting him, on the Egyptian national TV (channel one), every Wednesday night. Since the opening credits' catchy tune (electronic and nice), we gather craving what kind of scientific tricks he would come up with this round. It is a real cult favorite, and – strangely – the show which I've never met anyone hates !

At first, the episodes were close to the American super spy's adventures. Therefore it was ordinary at one point to watch (MacGyver) landing from a fallen plane in a hanging-to-a-parachute convertible car (kissing a dashing young girl beside him while that too !). It's the fanciful propaganda yet through unique character of unarmed hero where "mind is the ultimate weapon". But this character itself, so its marked resourcefulness, prevailed eventually as the attraction's core more than any "save the world" kinds of Bond plots. Even (Dana Elcar) as (Pete) was having the most childlike face ever been for intelligence boss.

When the Cold War drew to a close in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, (MacGyver) became like a social reformist who deals with family issues more than secret agent with ticking bombs, to watch him just saving a troubled kid from killing himself and stuff. At that phase of the show, there were these episodes where the lead traveled into time, by mysterious dreams, to live some different adventures in other lands and times (since his very time became that boring !). Yet these episodes managed to be magnificent as well.

The excellent episodes are many. For instance, I can't forget "Phoenix Under Siege" when (MacGyver) was fighting an evil man in one building in such limited time (pre-Die Hard). Or "Target MacGyver" when he unites with his grandfather to face some evil gunmen in a deserted cowboy city with just simple wiles. Or "Good Knight MacGyver" where he goes through time to live a hellish night in the age of King Arthur.

Back when the show was on, I remember reading that some people accused it of presenting lies more than scientific facts at times (something got to do with generating electricity by cactus !). But anyway, we just believed the show as a show.. A very engaging and entertaining one too. And the important meanings that we've learned from it were : Always be prepared. It takes a lot of study first to be a hero. So many wonders can be made by one Swiss army knife. And yes, brains can beat brawn.

Sure you'd ask : why there are no shows like (MacGyver) anymore ? But with whole 7 seasons the saturation was inevitable. Though, this spirit and these thoughts became old fashion nowadays. I believe that making a show for both kids and grown-ups, that enjoys and teaches them in the same time, turned out to be a lousy idea now in the 2000s, especially with the forensic medicine's too many bloody shows that may originate 3 types of generations later : forensic doctors, serial killers, and serial killers' victims !

Finally, I want to assure a little point of view. I used to list the shows that I watch, and then chronicle them by their production's date. So, if you knew that (Amazing Stories), (Moonlighting), (The Equalizer), (Spenser for Hire), or even (North and South) and (The Colbys) were all products of the same year of (MacGyver)'s start (1985).. Then you must admit : that was a happy golden age for the TV.

Are the 1980s cool or what ?
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Great show, great story
sasazg-13 June 2010
Although I am only 28 years old, this 1980s show brings wonderful memories. I remember back in high school during the 1990s I was captivated by the this MacGyver character, his battles against arch enemy Murdock, and I was wishing there were many more shows like this, even today. This show was intelligent, creative, non-violent even though it had fair amount of fights, but it wasn't about killing a whole bunch of people like many shows today have stories that evolve in that direction.

I was fortunate enough to buy all seven seasons of MacGyver and even today I enjoy watching them. Richard Dean Anderson did a great job with the portrayal of this somewhat legendary character.
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10/10
Such great memories!
Joshua Warren11 August 2009
I've grown up with Macgyver, and since I was a kid I've loved it! Now this is one of the rare 1980's action series, were the hero doesn't just pick up a gun and start shooting at his enemies. In fact MacGyver never kills at all, and this I found very inspiring as a kid as well as now.

And the fact that he does not always simply knock out the bad guys with his fists, he use his brain and ingenuity. Truly "His mind is the ultimate weapon". And the fact that all of his "inventions" work in real life (although I wouldn't recommend trying some of them) just makes the show even more incredible and also to some extend: educational.

In many ways Richard Dean Anderson created the persona for MacGyver and I think that most would agree with me, that if any other actor were to portray him, it just wouldn't be MacGyver at all.

Now MacGyver is the kind of hero that no one can hate, and that we all should look up to. The show is both very entertaining and morally inspiring. This is and will always be my favourite TV series.
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The best television series ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Indyfan8210 November 2003
MacGyver is definitely the best television series ever!!! This show was a totally different show from all the violent action heroes proliferated in both movies and on TV. MacGyver actually used his brain and showed viewers that there's a better way than using guns. All of his tricks on the show are totally backed up by science. It's true that some elements were left out on the show, but this is only because the producers of the show were responsible and didn't want children to emulate anything that might be possibly dangerous. MacGyver was a hero who said "ow" when it hurt from throwing punches, because he was a very human character and it made him a more real character you could relate to. He also rarely cursed, (by the 2nd. season onward, he never cursed at all), he did not use guns, he did not drink alcohol, he did not smoke, and he was always helping someone whenever they were in trouble. He is a great example of a true hero. MacGyver is an overall clean show that still delivers plenty of great action, adventure and excitement, as well as teaching viewers a bit about science along the way. MacGyver ROCKS!!!
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In Loving Memory of Dana Elcar: 1927-2005
juliafwilliams11 June 2005
It is with great sadness that I have learned that Dana Elcar, who played Pete Thornton on MacGyver and whose real-life battle with glaucoma was incorporated into the program, has passed away at age 77.

Mr. Elcar distinguished himself as a well-known character actor, appearing in a multitude of television programs and about a dozen or so movies.

Mr. Elcar went public with his glaucoma battle during the course of the program, and it was decided that his character, Pete Thornton, would fight a similar battle. Eventually, the glaucoma left Mr. Elcar totally blind, requiring him to use special computerized equipment for script readings.

He will be greatly missed.
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10/10
Eleventy-Ten Stars
laclone2 November 2013
Okay, an eleventy-ten star rating is a bit excessive. But the MacGyver series, taken as a whole, deserves the highest rating one can possibly give any TV series because of what it did for generations of young minds everywhere.

Not only did the term 'MacGyver' come to replace 'Rube Goldberg' in social culture as the using of ones wits, education and ingenuity to come up with a working solution to any problem, the show taught millions of young minds the world over, the value of getting a good education.

Learning everything you could in the various fields of physics, chemistry, electronics, mathematics, history, the arts and others, suddenly became fun and enjoyable, with real-world applications!

I don't imagine that there aren't too many scientist, engineers, and other great brains of today, that weren't at least partially inspired by the adventures of MacGyver in some small way.

Many TV shows can entertain, but very few can inspire. For that alone, MacGyver gets my highest marks (of course, I had to use some chewing gum, a bottle cap, and a piece of glass to do it, but it worked.).
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10/10
A little dated but still a classic ...
Dukhat26 June 2006
I loved Macgyver as a kid, so I had high expectations when I re-watched the series again through Netflix. I've seen the first 6 Seasons so far and have enjoyed all of them quite a bit. Of course, TV has progressed a lot since the late 80's so a lot of viewers might dislike the show for various reason. Some such reasons include the lack of character development: Macgyver is basically the same guy each show and so far, virtually all the episodes are stand-alone adventures. Another reason might be the slow pacing. A lot of the episodes revolve around Macgyver developing a new relationship with a person and then having some sort of adventure with them. But since the series is heavily episodic, these relationships are always reset at the end of the episode for the most part: notable exceptions include Macgyver's bumbling best friend-Jack Dalton, boss/friend-Pete Thornton, and arch-nemesis Murdoc. Another problem with the continuity is the fact that Macgyver uses so many actors for different parts, many times for episodes one after another.

Now with all this being said, I still love Macgyver quite a bit, even if I have to acknowledge the show's limitations. Within each 44-minute episode, you'll get a pretty engaging, adventure story (later seasons have a lot of added drama as well), and usually more than a few clever Macgyverisms-were Macgyver finds a clever way to escape situations. Macgyver always being the same is also an advantage because viewers can always expect him to be a great, caring role-model in each and every episode. Its an oldie, but still a classic.
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10/10
MacGyver, my childhood hero
ultimatebabe198021 November 2006
Every Tuesday my family would gather around the much-loved soapbox to watch attentively what MacGyver was up to that week. It was so much a part of our lives that people back home had MacGyver haircuts and once my little brother who was just four was so afraid of an episode that my dad had to explain that it was just a TV show but my brother was not convinced so my dad lied that he had even taken part in the show and that outside of it he was our real dad. Almost twenty years later, it is still a family joke. Nevertheless i think that in South Africa, in a time when we were experiencing harsh racism my family was able to enjoy few things and one of them was MacGyver. Moreover today as a journalist who faces crime reports ever so often, i find that message of anti-firearms in the series would be beneficial to today's society that is plagued by gun violence. I would love to see another episode of MacGyver and hopefully someday there would be a reunion. After the series was taken of the air, being a creative thinker i used to often come up with lots of endings but these days all i can remember is Richard Dean Andersons hopeful smile and truly the series made me believe that the ultimate weapon is one's mind.
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The Best TV Series Ever Created!
hmarq27 July 2001
MacGyver is a great TV series that I have enjoyed since the very first episode. Even though the first few seasons were more enjoyable than the last couple (mainly because of the plots), this show is still better than today's television shows. With basically no sex and no gory violence, this show is good for people of all ages. In fact, I began watching this show in 1985 when I was only four years old. This show helped reinforce my love of science as I grew older, and I still enjoy watching reruns of this show today. It is difficult to find shows wherein the main character cares about other people and is not out to seek revenge on everyone who does him/her wrong. Richard Dean Anderson was perfect for the role of MacGyver and the rest of the cast also added to the show (the casting staff did a great job). It is too bad that the show ended after seven years, and I would enjoy seeing another MacGyver movie come out (if it was like the first few seasons). I also enjoy seeing Richard Dean Anderson in other shows and movies that he has done after MacGyver, which include Stargate SG-1, Pandora's Clock, and Past the Bleachers (all of which he did/does an excellent job in). This show was very innovative (where else could the main character use duct tape, a Swiss Army Knife, and other common items to get out of desperate situation?). Although not everything could have been done quite as easily as MacGyver did them, MacGyver was relatively realistic (with the exception of a few shows) and is still interesting to watch. My favorite episodes are Countdown, Soft Touch, Out in the Cold, and Blood Brothers, all of which are very creative. Everyone involved with this show did a great job!
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10/10
All Time Classic....
tassosdel17 October 2012
I am a fun of the MacGyver series. I watched when I was 12 years old. I watched when I was 22 years old. And I'm watching now that I am 32 years old!

After a lot of TV seasons suddenly a channel started showing again random episodes of MacGyver. I just stuck in front of the TV and watched again like it was the first time! This series is authentic and never gets old! What can you tell from a series that invented a new word to the dictionary (Macgyverisms) and after 25 years and more there are references to the series from most popular TV shows and movies….! Anyway a great show to watch.
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10/10
Pure unadulterated fun!
jameswd5518 December 2010
I judge movies/TV shows by how much they entertain me. Macgyver is a series that thoroughly entertains me even after all these years. Richard Dean Anderson appears to me to be a wholesome and genuine person just like his character in this show. This show is a wonderful escape from reality which I need. I know that the things MacGyver does are largely unrealistic. You need to approach this show as an escape from reality and enjoy the ride. This is pure and simple fun and is not meant to be technically correct or plausible. This is just pure fun and feel good TV. Why should we always seek to attain a realistic view of the world? Hang on and enjoy the fun.
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9/10
One of the best shows ever.
kylemcd772 April 2002
As a kid growing up in the late eighties early nineties MacGyver was my favorite show and was a must see for practically everyone I knew. The many creative ways MacGyver got out of situations was very creative

Overall the show was very exciting and well made and looking at re-runs today it's still a brilliant show. Definitely one of the best shows of all time.
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10/10
MacGyver the show
cocacolafanatic27 June 2006
I just wanted to say how great the show was and I use to watch it all the time. It amazed me how great he was making things out of nothing really. I liked it so much that I named my younger son after the show and also took his middle name in real life for my son's middle name. So my son is named MacGyver Dean. It was amazing how he can do things in the middle of no where and how he always came out of things without a scratch.

Wish that show was still on but I guess I will have to settle for the DVD's that are out at the store now and I am collecting them. So when my son has kids I can show them why he was named MacGyver. He can do a lot also.
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