May 15, 2007, - 10:14 am
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
Hands down, my favorite TV shows as a very little kid were “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “The Bionic Woman,” and “Wonder Woman.” All were hit shows, in which good always triumphed over evil.
Now, NBC–in 4th place of broadcast TV networks in Prime Time–is seeking to revitalize its line-up. It announced that, this fall, on Wednesday Nights at 9:00 p.m., it will air a remade version of “The Bionic Woman” with a brunette British actress, Michelle Ryan.
I predict the series will fall flat on its face. Yes, the TV viewing audience likes its superheroes. NBC’s “Heroes” is its top-rated show. But there is no replacement for the blonde, beautiful, brave, and brainy Jamie Sommers–the government agent with artificial strength and electronic limb implants–as played by Lindsay Wagner in hip ’70s garb. And one wonders–in this age of special effects overload–how they will replace the “ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch” bionic movement sound effect.
The series was really most appropriate for its time, the ’70s, when ugly bra-burning feminists were shown by TV heroines that you need not hate men and lose your femininity to make your way in this world. It showed young girls: You can be classy and gracious, and still have Steve Austin open the door for you and pay for dinner. It was cool to see her easily squeeze and crush a whole orange in one hand and yet wear a lot of skirts and act like a woman, not a man. Lindsay Wagner’s Jamie Sommers had dignity and strength, which came not from her superhuman limbs, but from inside.
Today, much of that is lost. Bionic women are WNBA players and tough-looking single mothers who are contestants (and even winners) on “American Idol”. They are often sluts who hate men (but can’t stop sleep with them fast enough)–and are, frankly, more manly and masculine than them. Or they are incompetent lawyers screwing up entire federal agencies charged with enforcing important federal laws like those concerning immigration and customs. Forget the artificial limbs. They are destroying America with a stroke of the pen.
There are no Six Million Dollar men, either. Even adjusting for inflation, Six Billion Dollar metrosexuals and girlie-men are all the rage. Steve Austin is largely unwelcome on television.
And when Bionic Woman was on the air, it had a synergy with Six-Million Dollar Man. They did joint shows, like my favorite–where they defeated the fembots. NBC is not in a position to do that anymore, as it now competes against so many mediums and entertainment outlets, not just two other networks and Aaron Spelling series.
A brunette with a snobby brogue won’t do the trick to bring viewers back to NBC in what is no longer the Golden Age of network television, but the Golden Age of non-network, non-television technology.
Supposedly, Jim Carrey will play Steve Austin in a comedic, movie version of “The Six Million Dollar Man.” Another silly destruction of the original, I presume.
I wish the Peacock Network luck. But come this time, next year, its doubtful that this edition of Jaime Sommers will still be alive, despite the artificial superhuman limbs.
(Full Disclosure: My first-cousin, once-removed, Scott, was involved in re-acquiring the rights to both “The Bionic Woman” and “The Six Million Dollar Man” and stands to profit, as a producer, from any new projects using either.)
**** UPDATE: I wondered to myself whether or not the “new” Bionic Woman will kick the butts of Islamic terrorists, but knew that PC-Hollywood would make that unlikely. It turns out, I was correct. And that’s another reason why this will be a dud. More of Hollywood whitewashing the real problems we face, ie. Islam and its many terrorists.
Executive Producer David Eick told Daily Variety:
Instead of focusing on terrorism and militarism, the new “Bionic” will explore the role of professional women in contemporary society and how they juggle their various roles.
“It’s using the idea of artificial technology as a metaphor for what contemporary women sometimes feel is necessary to do everything that needs to be done,” Eick said.
PUH-LEEZE. As one disappointed commenter, “kpicket,” wrote on IMDB:
I’m shocked that with the success of series like “Heroes” and “24” that the producers seem to want to take the “Bionic Woman” away from all of that and turn the show into social progressive commentary about what they think on women’s lives today. If Jamie Sommers was dealing with cold war issues in the 1970’s, then she should be dealing with post 9/11 national security issues/ and worldwide terrorism today…not about whether her supervising manager patted her in the butt the other day or if she packed the right “lunchables” for her children. The audience wants to see this character brought back to kick some major butt in terms of defense of this country. Get ready for a real flop folks, because these are the same guys who ruined Battlestar Galactica and gave us the “brilliance” of “Birds of Prey” ….good grief.
Yup, it’ll fail.
Tags: Aaron Spelling, actress, America, artificial technology, Bionic Woman, Birds of Prey, David Eick, Debbie Schlussel, executive producer, Heroes, Jaime Sommers, Jamie Sommers, Jim Carrey, Lindsay Wagner, Michelle Ryan, NBC, non-television technology, producer, Steve Austin, supervising manager, The Bionic Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, USD, Wonder Woman