Bionic Woman, The

Tagged: TV

1. US tv series (1976-1978). Harve Bennett Productions and Universal for ABC. Created and produced by Kenneth Johnson. Cast includes Lindsay Wagner. Three seasons, 57 50-minute episodes. Colour.

In this spinoff from the successful Harve Bennett series The Six Million Dollar Man – its first episode being Part 2 of a story begun in the parent series – Jaime Sommers is the former childhood sweetheart of the Bionic man, Steve Austin. After a serious accident she, too, has part of her body artificially rebuilt (see Cyborgs) and works for Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson), head of a government intelligence agency. Unlike Steve Austin, who has a bionic eye, she has a bionic ear with which she can eavesdrop from a mile away. There is a bionic dog called Max. Several episodes involve Aliens. The acting of the lead role is notably superior to that in the parent series. Two book Ties were published, both by Eileen Lottman: The Bionic Woman: Welcome Home, Jaime (1976 as by Lottman; vt The Bionic Woman: Double Identity 1976 UK as by Maud Willis) and The Bionic Woman: Extracurricular Activities (1977 as by Lottman; vt The Bionic Woman: A Question of Life 1977 UK as by Maud Willis). [JB/PN]

2. Bionic Woman. US tv series (2007). NBC Universal Television. Created by David Eick and Laeta Kalogridis. Produced by Eick, Kalogridis, Bruno Heller and Jason Smilovic. Directors include Michael Dinner, Tim Matheson, Steve Boyum. Writers include Eick, Kalogridis, Smilovic. Cast includes Chris Bowers, Miguel Ferrer, Lucy Hale (Becca Sommers), Will Yun Lee (Jae Kim), Molly Price (Ruth Treadwell), Michelle Ryan, Katee Sackhoff and Isaiah Washington (Antonio Pope). Nine 60-minute episodes. Note that the title drops the definite article.

An ill-conceived and mercifully short-lived remake that undercuts its desperate ploy for Feminist credibility by removing all agency from the main character's origin story. In this version, Jaime Sommers (Ryan) is not a government agent but a civilian whose injury occurs because she gets in the way of an attempt on the life of her boyfriend Will Anthros (Bowers), a Scientist working on Bionic implants who replaces her limbs, eye and ear without her knowledge or consent, leaving her in the clutches of his shady (and decidedly non-government) employers headed by Jonas Bledsoe (Ferrer). Individual episodes are leaden and enlivened only by the appearance of as Sarah Corvus (Sackhoff), the first bionic woman, who has been driven mad by her transformation and has some dark plan for Jaime. A lightning-quick cancellation, however, means that said plan will never be revealed. [AN]

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