MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry Winkler and John Rich were the executive producers. The show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the United States and various other networks abroad from 1985 to 1992. The series was filmed in Los Angeles during seasons one, two, and seven, and in Vancouver during seasons three through six. The show's final episode aired on April 25, 1992 on ABC (the network aired a previously unseen episode for the first time on May 21, 1992, but it was originally intended to air before the series finale).
The show follows secret agentAngus MacGyver, played by Richard Dean Anderson, who works as a troubleshooter for the fictional Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles and as an agent for a fictional United States government agency, the Department of External Services (DXS). Educated as a scientist in Physics at Western Tech ("Hell Week"), MacGyver served in the U.S. Army as a Bomb Team Technician/EOD during the Vietnam War ("Countdown"). Resourceful and possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the physical sciences, he solves complex problems by making things out of ordinary objects, along with his ever-present Swiss Army knife. He favors non-violent resolutions and prefers not to handle a gun.
The series was a moderate ratings success and gained a loyal following. It was popular in the United States and around the world. Two television movies, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis and MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday, aired on ABC in 1994. A spin-off series, Young MacGyver, was planned in 2003, but only the pilot was made. Merchandise for MacGyver includes games, toys, print media and an original audio series.
The series revolved around MacGyver, whose main asset is his practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items—along with his ever-present Swiss Army knife and duct tape. The clever solutions MacGyver implemented to seemingly unsolvable problems—often in life-or-death situations requiring him to improvise complex devices in a matter of minutes—were a major attraction of the show, which was praised for generating interest in the applied sciences, particularly engineering, and for providing entertaining storylines. All of MacGyver's exploits on the show were ostensibly vetted by consulting scientists for the show's writers to ensure a basis on scientific principles (even though, the creators acknowledged, in real life one would have to be extraordinarily lucky for most of MacGyver's ideas to succeed). In the few cases where MacGyver used household chemicals to mix up poisons, explosives or other items deemed too dangerous to be accurately described to the public, details were altered or left vague or an essential component or step was omitted.
The show often dealt with social issues, though more so in seasons 4–7 than 1–3, which were mostly about MacGyver's adventures working for the United States government and later for the Phoenix Foundation.