MacGyver made a conscious effort to go for a hipper demographic in its sixth season, partly to keep from hemorrhaging young viewers to NBC's new Will Smith comedy "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", and season premiere "Tough Boys" clearly made that abundantly clear with its hip-hopped soundtrack and gritty urban feel. For the most part, this was a well-executed episode, featuring some interesting three-dimensional characters (particularly hard-ass Marine R.T. Hines played with spunk by Richard Roundtree...I would have liked to have seen more from this guy), a catchy song, and a nicely paced, if predictable, storyline. As was often the case, the preachiness got a little heavy-handed late in the episode and the deja vu factor started to kick in with MacGyver using a gun as a wrench again. Fans of "MacGyver The Adventure Show" cringe at the thought of these marginal social drama episodes, but this one had enough going for it to avoid being among the worst episodes from that genre.
Given that MacGyver was beginning its sixth season with almost completely revised competition, it was conceivably a time for the series to grow in the ratings. That didn't happen, but MacGyver did manage to at least hold its own early in the sixth season. NBC's new comedy lineup, headlined by the aforementioned "Fresh Prince", was not nearly as hot of a commodity out of the starting box as was predicted in the pre-season while lead-out "Ferris Bueller" flopped and was cancelled in less than three months. On CBS, new sitcom "Uncle Buck" wasn't doing much at the top of the hour, but lead-out "Major Dad" came out of nowhere to become a top-20 hit this season. Fox's Monday night movie wasn't doing much business in the hour. Had MacGyver faced this vacuum of top-tier competitors in earlier seasons, it likely would have risen to the occasion, but by this point, the series was apparently too past its prime to capitalize on the up-for-grabs audience share. Nonetheless, MacGyver opened season six with an 11.4 rating. Not great, but infinitely better than the 9.8 rating that kicked off season five.