Bionic Woman Reboot (TV, 2008)


A DVD review from Death Ray 13.

TWO AND A HALF STARS

2007/320mins (approx)/15

Director: Michael Dinner

Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, Jason Smilovic

Starring: Michelle Ryan, Lucy Hale, Miguel Ferrer, Katee Sackhoff

A hi-tech miss that is not as bad as the press would have it.

Poor old Michelle Ryan, blamed for the failure of Bionic Woman, cancelled after eight episodes. Her accent, her acting, her action, all the important parts of the ex-Slater’s role were slated. But she wasn’t that bad. The writers’ strike, coming halfway through the series run, didn’t help, and the $6million-per-episode price tag doomed the show as soon as it went even halfway wrong.

It did go wrong. Anodyne plotting gave us a copy of Alias with added family strife. In this reimagining, Sommers is unwillingly turned into a cyborg when her boyfriend’s car is wrecked, and he just happens to be head scientist at a secret, quasi-governmental organisation. Once cyborgised, she is a reluctant agent, she’s got a kid sister she is raising that she can’t tell about her new job. But far from adding an additional level of conflict to the series, it grounded it in depressing domesticity. Forgive us, but we’ve seen this before, about as often as we have seen people fighting in the rain.

There are the continuity errors too. Like, at the end of the pilot, Sommers agrees to work with the government, but then, inexplicably, needs to be convinced again in episode two. Also in episode two, Jaime walks into a bar where there’s a TV announcement about a small town being sealed off. Three days later she goes there on her first assignment, and is told it was sealed off that morning.

Hardly awful, the series’ only real crime is to come to the telly when there is so much more compelling SF available. The stunt and effects work are big-screen impressive, but the drama pales in comparison to Lost or Battlestar, and that is why it failed.

Extras: A searingly honest commentary on the pilot from David Eick, executive producer, which allows you a long, hard look at failure. Plus a bunch of very short, behind the scenes TV slots. ‘The Real Bionics’ is especially disappointing as it barely scratches the surface of this fascinating subject, but then it is one of a series of shallow puff-pieces.

Did you know?

David Eick, co-creator of Battlestar Galactica, was the head honcho on Bionic Woman (he really did not have a good time, according to his commentary). As well as Katee Sackhoff, Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) makes an appearance, and there is a sequence from Battlestar Galactica playing on a TV in one scene.

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