MacGyver's 4th Season Arrives on DVD; But Can He Save Himself from Cancellation?

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MacGyver Season 4

With the Phoenix Foundation having been disbanded at the end of MacGyver Season 3, the team members find themselves forced to work in the private sector -- until newcomer Russ Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick) approaches Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till) with an offer to get the band back together. Taylor has a condition that gives him hyper-acute pattern recognition abilities, and what he has uncovered is a vast global conspiracy by an extremist group to Thanos-snap half the population of the world in the name of saving the world from global warming. Throughout the season, the concept of doing "the wrong thing for the right reason" gets used, becoming the mantra of this arc which sees Mac reunite tragically with his father (Tate Donovan), discover an aunt he never knew (Jeri Ryan) working for the bad guys, and a tenet of beliefs driving the terrorists that was authored by no less than Mac's own mother.

These familial connections to the terrorist group, an outfit known as Codex that has been in operation for centuries, give the team cause to believe Mac may be compromised and that he may, in light of the scientific evidence corroborating Codex's outlook on the planet's future, decide to take their side. Meanwhile we get some interesting one-off adventures that find Mac and Desi (Levy Tran) boarding a Cessna in flight to save a boy and his father, and then later going on a double date with Riley (Tristin Mays) and her new boyfriend, all while trying to keep their actual job a secret -- which becomes impossible as the date leads them into conflict with drug lords.

Disappointingly, the villains are such a high-tech bunch that frequently the materials needed to effect a dramatic effect -- the very hallmark of the MacGyver series since its first incarnation -- are often laying about in copious quantities, taking us sometimes from the realm of "paperclip and bubblegum" to "barrels of gasoline stockpiled in a clean warehouse." It's almost like the bad guys are the authors of their own demise in these instances.

The episodes also take some weird turns, such as Mac getting lost in his own head after taking an experimental drug to recover some lost memories -- landing himself in a meeting with Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison, all of whom we learn really worked for the agency in their time.

This 3-disc DVD set is serviceable for those who just want to binge the episoes. Otherwise, it's less than skimpy in its production values. There's no booklet insert -- not even the episodes are printed on the disc label to provide any kind of guidance.

Season Four
Disc One Disc Two Disc Three

01. Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix
02. Red Cell + Quantum + Cold + Committed
03. Kid + Plane + Cable + Truck
04. Windmill + Acetone + Celluloid + Firing Pin
05. Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan

06. Right + Wrong + Both +Neither
07. Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey
08. Father + Son + Father + Matriarch
09. Code + Artemis + Nuclear + N3mesis
10. Tesla + Bell + Edison + Mac

11. Pys-Op + Cell + Merchant + Birds
12. Loyalty + Family + Rogue + Hellfire
13. Save + The + Dam + World

3.5 / 5.0