Question: I noticed that the infamous "Alan Smithee" is credited with directing the first episode of MacGyver. Was the episode considered that bad? Was the director blacklisted or something? I know it was a long time ago, but I'm curious. Just to make it clear, I'm not asking about the use of the "Alan Smithee" credit in general, but the specifics of this episode. Thanks. — Bill, Richmond

Televisionary: Unfortunately, Bill, I couldn't track down the specifics of that particular episode, but since, as you probably know, the Directors Guild of America used to use that pseudonym whenever a director wanted his or her name taken off a movie or TV show, we can assume that whoever directed the pilot didn't feel what ended up on the screen was what he or she put together. Doesn't mean it was because it was bad, necessarily; it could just be because someone stepped in and reworked things to the point where the director felt it didn't reflect his or her work and asked to have the credit removed. (Another MacGyver episode, 1985's "The Heist," carried the Smithee name, too.) And it's worth noting that the DGA doesn't use that name anymore; after directorial battles over films like American History X and, ironically, Burn Hollywood Burn, the Guild decided to come up with different pseudonyms on a film-by-film basis.