Thursday, October 04, 2007


I'm a child of the 70s so while I'm still upset that THE SIX-MILLION DOLLAR MAN hasn't received a proper DVD release in this country, I was upbeat about the prospect of his galpal, THE BIONIC WOMAN, being revived for primetime TV. With the involvement of the people behind the rebooted BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and a network environment that encouraged intriguing, season-long story arcs ala HEROES and LOST the idea seemed pretty good on paper.

Alas, lots of things seem pretty good on paper.

THE BIONIC WOMAN '07 is a dreadful dog of a show. Exchanging the original's pro tennis player for a bartender caring for her teenage sister, BIONIC asks us to care about characters we have no reason to care about. Or even like. Whereas HEROES deftly introduced a handful of leads that I immediately bought into and cared about from the start, I'm still searching for why I'm supposed to give a crap about this bartender-turned-secret-agent who comes off like a real bitch.

The pilot, which desperately needed another hour or so to give us a reason to care about Jamie Sommers (Michelle Ryan), had her in bionics so fast my head was spinning and it ended with a battle between she and Sarah Corvis, the first Bionic Woman, who we thought had been killed at the start of the episode. Not quite, and there's some gibberish in the middle about the whole accident that results in Sommers' upgrade not being an accident at all.

In the midst of all this "plot" is poor Miguel Ferrer as Jonas Bledsoe, head of some shadowy, covert group that operates outside the law and gave Sommers her bionic abilities. This ain't 1975 folks – gone is the fatherly Oscar Goldman and in his place is the sinister, jowly Bledsoe.

But as bad as the pilot was, the recently aired second episode – 'Paradise Lost' – was even worse. It opens at the funeral of Sommers' professor/doctor/boyfriend, whom neither Chris nor I recalled dying in the pilot. But there he is, being planted in the ground. After the funeral, Sommers discovers a thick surveillance folder in her boyfriend's apartment, complete with photos, IQ tests and more, suggesting that the sweet, jazz-loving prof we met in the pilot was more than he seemed. Okay.

Somewhere along the way, Sommers gets spurred into action either by saving a woman from a suicide attempt, an encounter with Bledsoe in the least-trafficked bathroom in the history of bars, or meeting a nice black guy (Isaiah Washington) in a bookstore. Whatever. Somehow these events convince her that she should try this saving the world thing but she has to be home so she can keep an eye on her pot smoking sister. (One of the only two characters I could give a shit about in this dreadful mess.)

After two episodes that have gone from bad to borderline unwatchable, I'm about ready to pull the plug on BIONIC WOMAN. And, judging from how many people bailed on Wednesday's episode, I'm not alone. But, in the spirit of fairness – and the fact that until LOST returns Wednesday night is a graveyard – I'll probably watch episode 3. But if there's not rapid improvement, I'm done with this one.


Synd-e said...

Episode 2 is waiting on the TiVo for this weekend... I wasn't very impressed with the pilot episode, either. I've been trying to decide how many episodes to "give" a show before I give up on it. Four? Six? Hell, if Ep 2 is as bad as you say it is, that might be it as well. Oh, and I also don't remember her boyfriend dying in the pilot.

Cinema Suicide said...

Man, the success of Heroes was really unexpected. It did weird things to TV. Studio execs were convinced that reality gameshows were the future for so long that they shit a brick when an actual scripted drama, with writers and actors about people with super powers didn't just fare well, but captured the kind of ratings they hadn't seen since the first season of Survivor.

I was even surprised by Heroes. Me!

I'm also a nasty cynic and it came as no surprise to me that this next season of TV would be flooded with new scripted genre offerings. I'm happy that these sorts of shows are back but the sort of stuff that was being pushed looked so awful. Bionic Woman included. I'm disappointed because I thought Battlestar was bad ass but I'm going to stick to Heroes and see where it takes me. This other stuff, like Journeyman can shove it.

Darrell said...

The "professor/doctor/
boyfriend" was shot by Bionic Woman I with a sniper rifle in Episode 1, remember? That set up the fight on the rooftop that demonstrated the catfighting subroutine in BW II's implanted chip. JS should have held up an unspent cartridge when she tended to her bf to help viewers get that point, since that is what they are used to seeing in the MSM's Iraq coverage.

Dan said...

Yes, the boyfriend was "shot" but it was never indicated that this was life threatening since, if I recall correctly, he was taken away in an ambulance at the end of the episode and her attitude about this whole "saving the world thing" was pretty cavalier.

LeGioN said...

give it some time, slow start but arching stories are alwasy more compelling than single stand alone episodes. If it gets to 5 episodes and things haven't improved then I will agree with you

Darrell said...

But IS he really dead? Afterall, since he was compiling a file on Jamie Summers it sort of implies that he planned the "accident". And "hacked" BW I. And Brought BW I back to life after she was terminated. Plot twists we can see a mile away. Oooooo! "Must see" TV!

I don't see much difference between saving the world and tending bar either, by the way.

Dan said...

I wondered the same thing Darrell, but IMDB only lists him as being in two episodes. I'm assuming that second episode showed him dying or us at least being told about it. As for the accident, didn't Mysterious European Guy talk about it like *he* arranged it? I'll probably give this one another shot tonight but they're on thin ice.