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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

Bionic Woman: Volume One (review)

Could be sneaky — could be hopeful. This collection of the wannabe reimagining of the 1970s TV series contains all eight episodes that were produced and aired of the Fall 2007 series, and if we’re being kind, we can believe that dubbing this set “Volume One” was wishful thinking, a fingers-crossed anticipation that the show would be back. Alas, it won’t: NBC has not picked it up, and there will be no more. Alas, it’s “alas” only for the now-unemployed cast and crew, for the show itself is really quite unbelievably dull. I know: a story about a bionically enhanced woman from executive producer David Eick, one of the creators of the astonishing revamped Battlestar Galactica? How could it go wrong? And yet, here we are. British actress Michelle Ryan goes American to play Jamie Somers, a San Francisco bartender who suffers grievous injuries in a car accident and wakes up all bionicified. Her bioethicist boyfriend had something to do with her being chosen for this secret program, and there’s all sorts of nefarious intrigue and conspiracy surrounding the program — a first Bionic Woman played by Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff! — and still, it’s all a big yawn. And a mysteriously unfeminist one, too: “She’s totally PMSing,” one tedious male nerd comments when Jamie flexes her bionic strength, doing what she’s been augmented to do, and Jamie herself is surprisingly, unpleasantly old-fashioned, a “Rules” girl who “doesn’t call guys.” Maybe that’s meant to be funny and ironic — she kicks ass but she’s a “lady” — but it isn’t. Extras include commentary on the pilot from Eick and some making-of featurettes.


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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  • I thought it worked, pretty much. Not astounding TV, but it held together on its own terms, at least as long as Sackhoff was off-screen (I begin to fear that she only has the one role in her, and is doomed to repeat it forever).

    Better than Painkiller Jane. Not as good as The Sarah Connor Chronicles (which has been renewed for a short season – sounds ideal to me, less scope for padding episodes). Less wince-inducing than Torchwood season 2. On a par with Flash Gordon, which unlike the rest of the world I actually enjoyed. Could have been a lot worse.

  • Ryan

    Wow, the only part of that I agree with is that it was better than Painkiller Jane. (Of course, what wouldn’t be.) Michelle Ryan could not have been more miscast for the part, the writing was laughable, and Sackhoff was actually the only character who exuded any presence on the screen whatsoever. (A large portion of the people watching the show wondered if it would be possible to retcon her into the main character slot.)

    Both Flash Gordon and the Sarah Connor Chronicles are better…though again, not exactly ‘great’ television.

    Torchwood is conceptually promising, and yet I find the characters utterly ridiculous in the episodes I have watched. I’d still say it’s better than Bionic Woman.

    So…yeah…I think MaryAnn was pretty spot on with the review.

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