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MacGyverisms

MacGyver is an American adventure television series, produced in Canada, about a laid-back, extremely resourceful secret agent, played by Richard Dean Anderson. The series was created by Lee David Zlotoff and executive produced by Henry Winkler and John Rich. It ran for seven seasons from September 29 1985 to May 21 1992 on the ABC network and filmed primarily in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Of the 139 one-hour episodes, three had two parts. Additionally, two made-for-TV movies were produced in 1994.

Angus MacGyver’s 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 and the usual coincidence of being locked up in a room full of useful materials. The clever solutions MacGyver implemented to seemingly intractable 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 engineering[1] as well as providing entertaining storylines. All of MacGyver’s exploits on the show were ostensibly vetted to be based on real 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 create poisons, explosives or other things deemed too dangerous to be accurately described on television, details were intentionally altered or vague.

The use of ordinary household items to jury rig devices shows an influence from The A-Team (though MacGyver eschewed firearms). The idea has entered U.S. popular culture; such constructions are referred to as “MacGyverisms”.

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