May 15, 2007, - 10:14 am

Bionic Woman Returns to TV; But Her Era is, Unfortunately, Long Gone

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.

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Lindsay Wagner: This Bionic Woman Can’t Be Imitated or Remade

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.
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(Bionic Woman/Six Million Dollar Man from the Schlussel card collection)

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.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch.
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Michelle Ryan: Dull New Bionic Woman

(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.

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12 Responses

Debbie, I had a Six Million Dollar Man record and comic book I liked as a boy. As for Wonder Woman, I’m pretty sure I was mainly watching her chest. I hope for your cousin’s sake the new WW doesn’t dissapoint. And Mazel Tov on all the accomplished Jewish relatives.

Anonymous1 on May 15, 2007 at 11:59 am

Debbie, I mixed up WW and BW above. Still, a jiggle factor can make all the difference.

Anonymous1 on May 15, 2007 at 12:01 pm

This one’s got jiggle factor.
http://img64.exs.cx/img64/4066/72-Michelle_Ryan-Jan.jpg
I’ll give it a watch, but I expect it to suck badly. Although Joss Whedon could probably make it work…….. (pipe dream)

Stealthkix on May 15, 2007 at 12:12 pm

It’s bad enough when they try to do a sequel to an old series but casting a BritChik in the lead? That’s like Larry the Cable Guy doing James Bond!
WTF-over!

1shot1kill on May 15, 2007 at 12:14 pm

I’m with everyone else: This remake will fail.
Debbie…wow, it’s like you almost read my mind as far as my views of people today. In fact…I need to email you something I’ve been thinking about.

Squirrel3D on May 15, 2007 at 1:06 pm

I was a fan of the original Bionic Woman (and $6M Man) as a kid, but I think this production is in good hands for some needed updating to bring it back. The comment by “kpicket” is rather ignorant. The new Battlestar Galactica is probably one of the best shows on TV (period) not just sci-fi/adventure, or whatever you want to call it. In fact, I wonder if kpicket has even seen more than a few minutes of BSG (and this show requires an investment of your time, much like Lost would. That show BTW, does attack the current issues of our day (9/11 and many others in not so subtle ways)). I have read the premise of the show on another site (someone recounted the pilot they saw in a test audience) and it sounds pretty interesting. It doesn’t sound like the old Bionic Woman, but if you want that, go and buy the DVD set. This is 2007, time for something new. I have a feeling the only thing this show will have in common with the original is the name(s). Certainly the price has gone up (from $6M).

Sundoggy on May 15, 2007 at 3:06 pm

i will only watch if debbie favorite character oscar goldman is back if not i rather watch the test pattern on WXYZ at 3 in the morning or watch artie lange beer league for the 50th time

PNAMARBLE on May 15, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Lindsay Wagner was great in her day as the bionic woman and now she is selling those sleep by number airbeds. Only problem, in those ads she appears not to have slept for decades, talk about a casting catastrophe; and yet they include her again in the latest spot. The sleep number bed guy must have a thing for metal women.

Esbiem on May 15, 2007 at 5:20 pm

OMG… remember the episodes (from Six Million Dollar Man) featuring the “Death Probe?” And how about the Bigfoot episodes?
Love “The Bionic Woman” too.
Sigh… the good old days!!!!

Freudianslippers on May 15, 2007 at 6:46 pm

Modern-day Movie/TV producer #1: Any ideas for a new movie/TV show.
Modern-day Movie/TV producer #2: New ideas? That’s too difficult, let’s just do a lame remake of a classic and ruin its legacy.
Modern-day Movie/TV producer #1: You smart lil’ S.O.B.! You’ve done it again! Here’s a wheelbarrow filled with money for you!

Jose on May 15, 2007 at 10:31 pm

and on top of all of it she’s a really expensive date!!
I know steve could just bend up some more dune buggy frames and make the cash for a 6mil fling, but DAAAYUM!!
Deb, I have to hand it to you that your movie sutff is so much more interesting than the rest of the crap I read. You have to give the kids these days a break though, dull as they may seem, as they werent even twinkles in their dad’s eye in 75.
If you went back in time and walked around and saw all the People’s Temple clowns, Moonies and lines around Oakland for Daddy Hearst’s free cheese, you’d probably come back and think Ms.Michelle wasnt that doltish. Time makes everything look so quaint.
I am torn with remakes, I want to remember stuff, but it still just glaringly reveals how brain dead hollyweird is.
Best film I’ve seen lately. John Leguizamo in Cronicas http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382621/
actually held my attention.

playertwo on May 16, 2007 at 2:41 pm

How are the Hollywood libs going to reconcile the idea that her bionics are nuclear-powered (as I recall from the 70s version)? Although I suppose it could be funny to have an Al Gore type pop up and bitch about global warming everytime Jamie goes to bionic speed. I just hope they don’t make her solar powered. Imagine a two-hour recharge for a 100-yard dash. … What is with Hollyweird that they need to dorkify heroes? We need to get back to heroes in the mold of King Leonidas (the historical guy, not the character in “300,” which I have not seen). “Then we will fight in the shade,” indeed. I’ll take him over Superman, Spider-Man, the Thing or any other modern Hollywood superhero.

mechmorph on May 16, 2007 at 3:24 pm

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