BIONIC WOMAN REDUX: If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I am a die-hard geek when it comes to The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man. As a kid, I perfected the art of running in slow motion and jumping off furniture. I had all the action figures and playsets and still have a pristine Bionic Woman doll still in the box from 1976 sitting on my bookshelf. I was a member of the Bionic fanclub and have all the episodes on DVD from the UK. Lindsay Wagner was -- and still is -- beautiful and Jaime Sommers is my favorite superhero. So, when I heard NBC was remaking my all time favorite show, I knew it was going to suck. And it does.

The plot is basically the same: Jaime Sommers nearly dies and is given a bionic arm, ear and legs (the eye is a bonus). She becomes an agent for a secret government organization and is sent on missions of various kinds. Whereas the 1970s series seemed to be grounded in reality, this new Bionic Woman is set in a dark, rainy San Francisco that looks like something out of The Matrix. Gone are the cheesy (yet glorious) sound effects and slow motion running. Instead, this Bionic Woman can basically fly. She leaps across great distances like The Hulk in Ang Lee's misguided film and her bionic eye operates like The Terminator's, sensing danger and giving electronic read outs. When she runs, she's a blur. In one scene, she's racing through a forest and from her point of view, it was just like Luke and Leia and the speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi. But what's worse is that Michelle Ryan has zero charisma. Her Jaime is DOA. The only time she showed any kind of edge was in the final scenes, which actually saved the show from being a total disaster. But it wasn't really Jaime who scored, but the villain -- Sarah Corvis played by Katee Sackhoff (pictured).

All I can say is thank god for Sarah Corvis. She was the bionic woman prototype and she's gone rogue and crazy and now she's out to kill everyone who has anything to do with making her bionic. We don't know who she was, why she was made bionic and what her motivation is, but she kicks serious, serious ass. Katee Sackhoff (who played Starbuck on the new Battlestar Galatica) has charisma to burn and she plays Sarah as a stone-cold bitch. One look from her and you know your ass is grass. If the writers and producers had any fucking sense, they would have cast Sackhoff as Jaime and let her be a little crazy and bitter. The other big mistake is making this Bionic Woman practically immortal.There's some scientific hooey about micro-organisms that connect her skin to the bionics, but what it does is make her heal instantly. Jaime cuts open her finger in one scene and breaks her normal arm in another and both heal instantly. Say which? In the old series, Jaime could still be hurt. There was that great episode when she was battling the Fembots (greatest villains ever!) and had to jump from a tall building. She crashed into the sidewalk and destroyed her bionic legs. That won't be happening to this Jaime...she'll just fly.

Yes, I'm going to watch it for a few shows -- mainly to see Sarah Corvis kick everyone's ass. If NBC is smart, they will keep her around for the entire season and beyond. Katee Sackhoff, I'm counting on you to save this show.


sugartit, ive never seen the b.w. before, but the car crash scene they are playing in the theatres is a totally hot crash.
Radish King said…
As a kid, I perfected the art of running in slow motion

I would much rather watch you do this than watch the new show.
Anne said…
I always thought you could only slow-motion-run if you had the appropriate sound effect. (And why did it always make that sound when she ran and jumped and stuff? That was a weird sound effect, all sort of echo-y.)

I looooved The Bionic Woman ... always kind of wanted to knock the Six Million Dollar Man out of the picture so she'd end up with me. Although I didn't quite recognize that for what it was at the time. ;)
Anonymous said…
I watched it because I knew you would and it sucked. You were kind to Katee Sackhoff but she reminded me of Darryl Hannah in Kill Bill and I dont mean that as a compliment.

Charles said…
Friend, I think we are always destined to agree to disagree about all things artistic and cultural! :)

Excepting, of course, how wonderful we each are.
Collin said…
Well...not "all things."

I just like my Jaime Sommers old school. Excuse me while I go run in slow motion. :)
Dustin said…
I didn't think it was too terrible; however, I have to agree that the performance of Sarah's character is better than Jaime's.
I'm sad. I was disappointed. It seemed too simplistic and pat...feminist or no? Who knows. Who cares. That's my problem. The show didn't make me care and I was bored. I only wanted to see her discover her powers. isn't that what a pilot is really supposed to be about: the damned good part? There wasn't enough of it.

And yes: "original" crispy bionic is a way better character, I only hope the implication at the end when jamie says "sarah says hello" is that she and the new bionic ladycake will band together and kill all those men. No offense. But for reals. That might make it a fun show.
Collin said…
In the original series -- when Jaime was introduced on the Six Million Dollar Man -- there was a whole bit about her learning to use the bionics. In this show, she just automatically knows how to fight, jump, etc. Still, the biggest problem for me is Michelle Ryan. She just doesn't register.
Clare said…
We've been hearing lots about this show over here because Michelle Ryan was in Eastenders for a few years. I hear the show got quite good ratings.
Anonymous said…
Sarah Corvis makes this show PERIOD! All of this emotional angst about Jaime and her little sister wastes too much time and the show never flows. Saving the world, from what??? It seems as if the world needs to be saved from the Sykes foundation or corporation or whatever it is called. Or perhaps just from its writers.

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