Category Archives: bionic woman

Planet of the Dead

Doctor Who returned to television this Easter in high definition, and he brought along little Zoe, the new (if brief) Bionic Woman.

“Doctor Who” is much more a big thing in 2009 because a) David Tennant will be leaving at the end of the year and b) it’s not a regular TV series but a quartet of specials this year – the final one featuring Tennant’s regeneration into Kid Who, Matt Smith. “Planet of the Dead” is the second of these 2009 specials.

Other than the scifi elements, “Planet of the Dead” at first bears a scary resemblance to that 1970s O.J. Simpson telemovie Detour to Terror. I’m sorry, a bus in the desert just puts me there, no choice. This special is another one of Russell T. Davies’ drawing-room-mystery episodes. As much as I love Davies for bringing The Doctor back, rejuvenating the franchise and bringing the whole package into the 21st century, I am annoyed by his penchant for having a certain type of story every year. We have seen this before in each of the last seasons, like the obligatory Dalek story and the scary one and the different point of view one. It gets old when it’s expected.

That said, “Planet of the Dead” is pretty cool and has a lot stuffed into it. Michelle Ryan plays Lady Christina, a Tomb Raider template thief who would make a great companion, and her chemistry with The Doctor rocks. A companion who leads him around is a great change of pace – however that may be needed once Kid Who shows up. We also get to see the return of UNIT as well as a few interesting new UNIT characters that we’ll hopefully get to see more of.

The end has surprises of its own, including possibilities for a Lady Christina spin-off and a prophecy for what is to come for the end of David Tennant’s run. Do I smell a return appearance for The Master coming up? Time will tell. Next up is “Waters of Mars” in September. Can’t wait.

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The Other Side of the New Bionic Woman

I promised more on the new Bionic Woman, or more specifically on the crap going on behind the scenes. Here we go.

It’s not just a matter of a show that worked before but the new innovators choosing to ignore what made the original successful. Not that that helps. No matter how you slice it, the original series was very successful, some say better than “The Six Million Dollar Man” from which it spun off from. Not only did it outlast it but in my opinion had more memorable episodes. Remember the fembots? How about the Alex 7000? The show even won an Emmy, where her male counterpart never did. And of course it never had the controversy this new version has had.

Let’s start easy. There have been at least three pilots. One is good. Two is not bad, if the network has decided that changes in cast or plot should be made. But three? That’s a bit odd, especially considering rumor stated that this series which was developed for the SciFi Channel was so good it should be kicked upstairs to NBC. If it was sooo good, why change it?

Now let’s get deeper. The character of the Bionic Woman is iconic, especially in the gay community. It would seem, that along with fans of the original series this makes for a large starting fanbase, something needed if the series is indeed as different as it is. Why then, would you try to alienate that community?

Enter Isiah Washington:

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=621886

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/07/AR2007090700719.html

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2007/09/will_the_gays_love_bionic_woma.html

And that’s just the tip of that iceberg. Suffice it to say that all of these elements plus what I consider to be a crappy pilot that I saw add up to a big zero for this one. I might be proved wrong, but I won’t be watching.

The New Bionic Woman

This review will just be about the show, the pilot (whether it’s the final pilot or not remains to be seen as there have been three so far) specifically. I’ll save the nightmares that have plagued the production since early on for another time. It’s much too messy to open that putrid can of dead and hate-filled worms right now.

This new ‘re-imagining’ of “The Bionic Woman” comes from the folks who did the same type of hatchet job on “Battlestar Galactica.” Much of the cast is borrowed from there as well. Michelle Ryan, Zoe from the BBC’s “Eastenders” and late of the much-acclaimed “Jekyll,” is tapped to play Jamie (new spelling) Sommers. Rounding out the cast are Miguel Ferrer and Wil Yun Lee who are always a pleasure to see in action.

Unlike the original series with Lindsey Wagner that spun off of “The Six Million Dollar Man,” this show is not kid-friendly. And even worse, it is definitely not friendly to anyone who grew up watching the show, which is a mistake I think. When adapting a project that was successful, effort should be made to find out why it was successful at least. This new version seems to have shrugged off any charm that the original may have had.

This Bionic Woman is a bartender rather than a tennis pro, and she is preceded by an evil Bionic Woman, played by “Galactica”‘s Katee Sackoff who is stalking her. This Jamie has a bionic eye in addition to one arm, one ear and two legs. And the special effects that strike me as downright hysterical make her super super-vision look like a mistuned TV station and her super-hearing sound distorted. Aren’t they supposed to be better?

When the show finally veers away from conspiracy, bad acting, music video and fixing your perceptions of the old show – and turns to action, we get a predictable duel between the Bionic Women. It feels like a martial arts fight where only dodging and parrying are allowed. I’m dumbstruck as to why neither woman even tries to land a punch. Weird.

I really can’t recommend this show. I predict it’ll be moved over to SCiFi after three or four episodes before being eventually canceled. Unless they change their attitude, this Bionic Woman is destined for the same trashbin the Bionic Dog and Bionic Boy ended up in.

Jekyll


More like Jackman and Billy than Jekyll and Hyde, the new BBC America original “Jekyll” is a refreshing new look at Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s written and produced by Steven Moffat of “Doctor Who” and “Coupling” fame which is actually significant, as he wrote one of the more chilling “Who” episodes of the third season – “Blink” with the angel statues.

The cast headed by James Nesbit, known as the lead in “Murphy’s Law” on the other side of the pond. His mannerisms and over the top expressions make it believable that Jackman and Hyde are two different people while still played by one person with very little make-up accompaniment. Also on board are Denis Lawson, Wedge Antilles from the classic original Star Wars and Michelle Ryan, TV’s new “Bionic Woman.”

I’ve only seen two episodes so far but the story is top notch as is the acting. This is an amazing update of the Jekyll/Hyde concept and definitely worth a look.