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Earlier this week NBC announced their fall lineup, and there’s one entry that has SciFi fans wondering. The Peacock has been strutting around with their hit ‘Heroes’ and the new success of the Thursday night comedy lineup but the truth is, NBC is still struggling in the ratings overall. ‘The Bionic Woman’ looks to try and tap into that ‘Heroes’ fanbase, but will it succeed? It’s obviously too early to tell for sure, but NBC has put up some video from the new show and things don’t look impressive.
‘The Bionic Woman’ is a reimagining of the classic 70’s series of the same name. Produced by David Eick (‘Battlestar Galactica’) and starring Michelle Ryan as the Bionic Woman, the show has promise. Ryan is a capable enough actor from the UK, and along with Ron Moore, Eick has produced one of the best hours of television to be found today. Jaime Sommers is a bartender and surrogate mother to her teenage sister when a car crash leaves her body mangled and death just a breath away. A high priced top-secret technology agency comes to her rescue, but the cost may be too much to bear. Jaime must now find a way to use her newfound powers for good, while at the same time paying off her debt. In the official synopsis of the show NBC says, ”Jaime’s journey of self-discovery and inner strength will help her embrace her new life as the Bionic Woman.” All of which sounds extremely promising. What makes both ‘Heroes’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’ great is the personal stories that lend weight to the crazy action and implausible events in each show. ‘The Bionic Woman,’ in principle at least, seems to be following in that vein.
Up until this week I was intrigued with a new ‘Bionic Woman’ series, and then I saw the video clips. If the show were slated for the SciFi network, as it should be, then I’d have less trepidation of the series being cancelled before it found it’s voice. But the ridiculous nature of the video released, along with surprisingly mediocre acting from historically decent actors, gives me pause. While I’m all for watching a program that’s so bad it’s good, I don’t think that’s what ‘Bionic Woman’ should, or was intended, to be that way. Complete with over the top Bruckheimer-esque imagery and out of place ‘BSG’ documentary style camera work, the clips released reveal a different series than most fans had envisioned.
Let’s be clear, the videos contain decent action and potential. But honestly, what they showcase to me is horrible tripe that has no place on network television when you’ve got phenomenal stories like ‘Lost’ and ‘Heroes’ out there. These videos are a travesty and if they are not indicative of the story David Eick wants to tell, then a statement needs to be made and the videos pulled from NBC’s official ‘Bionic Woman’ website. Unfortunately, the damage is done and rather than the brilliant marketing campaign last summer for ‘Heroes’ we’re getting crap thrown at us. What is most upsetting is that NBC would think ‘Painkiller Jane’ with a bigger budget is perfectly OK to shove under our noses rather than the personal story of Jaime Sommers that could offer viewers the brilliant storytelling of a ‘BSG’ on network television. Unfortunately we can’t say the latter is the case, because there’s no evidence to the contrary to ease our minds.
The problem here is not that ‘Bionic Woman’ is going to be a bad show, but rather that the clips released give the appearance of a half-assed effort covered with spit and shine. I can’t believe that’s the vision Eick had for the show, and so I am not ready to call the new series ridiculous. Mr. Peacock may have been too busy strutting around to notice how mediocre the exclusive preview clips make ‘The Bionic Woman’ look.
Take a gander below for some clips from ‘Bionic Woman,’ and for more information and clips visit NBC’s official preview site.