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MacGyver (ABC 1985-1992, Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar)

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The setup for MacGyver seemed like pretty straightforward adventure show fare: the title character, a former Special Forces agent, worked for a secret agency called the Phoenix Foundation. The foundation undertook missions for the U.S. government and other groups to keep the world a safe place, and MacGyver was their agent of choice. The obligatory supporting characters were there, too: MacGyver’s boss Peter Thornton, fellow agent Jack Dalton, lawyer/love interest Nikki Carpenter, and recurring villain Murdoc.

With that premise alone, MacGyver might have ended up as just one more forgettable action/adventure hour, but this show had an edge. It wasn’t just about what MacGyver did; it was about how he did it. Instead of using brute force and conventional weaponry, this particular agent preferred to rely on his knowledge of physics and chemistry, utilizing everyday objects to carry out his assignments. MacGyver’s creativity was impressive: he could make a flamethrower out of some hose, a metal pipe, and gasoline, or make a poison antidote from eggs and charcoal. These instances of ingenuity were dubbed “MacGyverisms” in a second-season episode, a term still used today by fans of the show. It should also be noted that these solutions were based in fact but always had an element or two left out, keeping these MacGyverisms out of the hands of real-life pranksters and impressionable fans.

MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson

Created by Henry Winkler (Happy Days’ the Fonz) and John Rich, the show was a unique entry in the pantheon of adventure shows, emphasizing intellect and quick thinking over violence. In later seasons, the show became a more serious affair, addressing social topics like the environment and the plight of teenage runaways. Also, when actor Dana Elcar (Thornton) started to lose his sight from glaucoma, it became a part of his character and another topical issue treated on-screen.

MacGyver ended its long run in December of 1991 after 139 episodes. The show was resurrected briefly in 1994 via a pair of made for television films, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis and MacGyver: Trail To Doomsday, and reruns remain popular today. So much so that it’s currently undergoing a revival on CBS with Lucas Till in the lead role.

production details
USA / ABC – Paramount – John Rich Prod. / 2×90 minute episode 139×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 29 September 1985 – 8 August 1992

Creators: Henry Winkler, John Rich, Lee David Zlotoff / Theme Music: Randy Edelman / Executive Producers: Henry Winkler, John Rich, Stephen Downing

cast
Richard Dean Anderson as Angus MacGyver
Dana Elcar as Peter Thornton
Bruce McGill as Jack Dalton (1987-92)
Brigitta Stenberg as Maria Romburg
Dalton James as Shawn A. Molloy
Elyssa Davalos as Nikki Carpenter

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TV

Clochmerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)

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Clochmerle BBC 1972

Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochmerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.

cast
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator

crew details
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm

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Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)

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BBC 2 Logo

In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.

cast
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen

crew details
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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