Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 29, 1985 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
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  • After a science lab mysteriously explodes, MacGyver must rescue scientists trapped deep beneath the ground, and is in a race against time against both dangerous acid, and the Army. Not a bad introduction, but I was hoping for a bit more from the Pilot...

    'MacGyver' is strange to me. Why? Because I've been a 1980's action-adventure nut my whole life (well, almost - I was born two years before the '80s); I've always loved all of those kinds of shows. 'The A-Team' is my all-time favourite series (I even run my own detailed fan site dedicated to it – check my profile for more); I love 'The Dukes of Hazzard', I love 'Knight Rider', I love 'Airwolf', I love 'Magnum'... the list is endless. But for some reason, I never really "discovered" 'MacGyver'. Which is very strange considering my tastes both then and now.

    Here in the United Kingdom, I recall the first season or so was shown on BBC One, early Saturday evenings. I don't think I caught it then due to it clashing with whatever ITV were running at the time. Neither, it seemed, did any of my school friends – it certainly didn't become one of our playground talking points / objects of re-creation as other shows did; it never seemed to really catch on here, which is presumably why the Beeb didn't purchase further episodes. Later, the odd ITV region picked up a few later episodes, but wasn't given much of a run. So for whatever reason, 'MacGyver' somehow bypassed me first time round.

    I've watched those aforementioned other shows over and over, both from many off-air recordings, and more recently DVD releases. I still really love them, but all these years later I know them pretty much word-by-word. So as it's something new to me from that era, I finally decided to give 'MacGyver' a go, and purchased the complete DVD set. So I'll be reviewing this Pilot and the series in a sorta "first time" sense; it's one of the few shows that I'm won't be blinded by nostalgia with, so I'll try and review it evenly.

    The character of Mac is very interesting. He's a sort of one-man 'A-Team' with all of his various makeshift inventions. Actually, judging by this Pilot, his creations are much cleverer – I'll be the first to admit that, by mid-run, some of The A-Team's "builds" were by-the-numbers and served little point logically within the story. I also like that MacGyver always tries to find the non-violent solution where possible – a nice counterpoint to some of the more gun-happy shows of the era.

    The opening scene, with Mac rescuing the crashed pilot being held prisoner, is very good (though his opening narration tries way too hard to be 'Magnum' for my liking) and pretty spectacular. After that, when the main story of the explosion at the science laboratory kicks in… well, its okay I suppose, but for a Pilot, I was kinda hoping for much more. It would have been an average story if it was a regular episode, but for the first outing, I found it a little basic, and had kinda hoped that they would've pulled out all the stops for the Pilot. But reading other reviews, it seems that fans love it, so maybe it's one of those cases that I'll come to like it more on hindsight as I watch later episodes.

    Production-wise, it's not bad, but after the excellent almost James-Bond-esque opening rescue, the main story does have a bit of a "cheap and cheerful" feel compared to some of the other such shows of the era. Reading up on the series, maybe this is something that improved as the series progressed. And as others have commented, the acting isn't exactly the best.

    The theme tune is good, quite catchy, but it and the whole music set-up, as evidenced here in the Pilot, is too synthesised sounding. Something that many shows became after more affordable and (supposedly) flexible synthesiser equipment came in, in the '80s.

    All-in-all, I know I'm gonna get into this series as I watch it. But personally, after the great opening, I found this one a bit plain considering it's the Pilot n' all.
  • A great first episode, but just an average episode for MacGyver.

    What a great episode to start this series. You quickly learn what MacGyver is about in this episode. How he can use about any object he finds and turn it into something that will be able to help him. In the opening story he's rescuing a pilot who crashed in China. I never knew China looked so much like the Grand Canyon. ;) The main story, after the opening credits, is about MacGyver saving some scientists from an underground lab. (After a explosion) He also must stop a deadly chemical leak, that the explosion caused. Of course, he saves the scientists and then stops the acid leak with chocolate. A really great pilot episode for MacGyver. For a MacGyver episode I gave it an 8. (average)
  • MacGyver has to deal with an acid leak and save two people trapped!!!

    I have yet to watch a MacGyver episode that I don't like and this one is no different.

    I've recently got seasons 1 and 2 of the show and am hoping to get more soon.

    In this episode, MacGyver starts by defusing a rocket and saving a guy he didn't even know existed. Just like MacGyver to go above and beyond the call of duty.

    Then he agrees to help rescue two people trapped underground even with the danger of an acid leak. We meet his future boss Pete, who is playing some other guy at the moment. But that's how pilots are, they usually end up changing the characters a bit for the rest of the show.

    And know ones surprised when MacGyver comes through in the end!! Not only did he stop the acid leak, but saved the trapped scientists as well!!!

    A great episode that deserves a 10!!
  • Great start...

    This is the pilot episode to the classic show MacGyver. I like how before the opening credits start they show MacGyver doing something else totally different than in the rest of the episode. It was funny at the start when MacGyver made the rocket booster out of the flare gun and the other guy grabs on to MacGyver and he uses the gun and the guy asks him "what are we doing?" and MacGyver eplys by saying "I'll tell ya later". This is when they were both falling. I don't know why they couldn't have just jumped, the rocket booster was just so much cooler. The rest of the episode was great, I don't know what that scientist would have got out of blowing himself up though. Later...
  • MacGyver...saving the world with one knapsack item at a time.

    Although the acting suffers a great deal in comparison to today's standards, it was indicative of an era during its time. Setting the scene with an eye-opening monologue, corny though it may be, at the start of the episode and showing Mac putting the first of his many innovations to good use, it reveals exactly what the audience could expect from the series. Overall, I would say that this episode is a classic start to the series. I would say that the episode was for the most part very entertaining and one of the better pilot episodes of television series of the time.
  • mac has to stop a acid leak

    its a great episode great way to start the macgyver it realy shows macs charecter like how he hates guns and what kind of person he is they realy do well with the opening gambet but how he aims his knife in the opening gambit would almost be impossible but great episode
  • A Fantastic Start to a Classic Series

    MacGyver got off to a rollicking start on September 29, 1985, low ratings notwithstanding. The series was a standout among the many well-produced shows of the mid-1980s, as the opening scene on the giant rock face proved a few seconds into the broadcast. The superb quality of the production was evident throughout the hour. High adventure and narrow escapes ensued throughout the pilot episode with an elaborate plot (a total "MacGyver" original) that would set the stage for what was to come in this underrated series. The weak point, as was the case in many of the early episodes of the first season, was the acting. Even by the standards of the mid-1980's, the acting on those early MacGyver episodes was cringeworthy, including the acting of Richard Dean Anderson himself. If not for the dreadful acting, this episode might have been a perfect 10.
  • Classic!

    This episode starts with a bang, Macgyver going to an rescue. The writers did a good job with this episode, it starts off really well. It does what an adventure should be doing, getting you at the edge of your seats. This show does just that. This is really cool, the way Macgyver deals with his problems, he uses his methological skills instead of weapons of war. The action is relentless, even though the things done here are not always believable, it's the way the stories are told that matters, after all this is an adventure show not a lecture on science 101.
  • A typical pilot episode, which is quite well for a pilot.

    This episode introduces us to the character of MacGyver.
    Although there are many aspects of this, and in this episode that did not last into the main run of the show (i.e. Dana Eclar playing a different part, his boss, and a few other minor character details.) However, you are introduced to the analytical problem solving skills, and survivalist nature of MacGyver. Making do with what you have, and what you can find, which may not be what you really need. But in the end he saves the day with only seconds to spare which will come to be typical in the series, in fact it happens twice in this episode, once in the opening sequence, and once in the main. All in all it is a good episode for a pilot.