Review of "The Bionic Woman: Season 1" From The TV MegaSite
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The Bionic Woman: Season 1 DVD cover

 The Bionic Woman: Season 1

 

  Review by Suzanne 10/11/10

In case you were not around back in the 1970's, let me fill you in. This show was a spin-off from the successful series "The Six Million Dollar Man".  Unlike the lame spin-off attempts that they try today, that usually fail, this one was not only a modest hit but it was even better quality than the original show.

In the original show, astronaut Steve Austin crashed and was near-death. They used this new technology, bionics, to save him.  They made him part machine, which gave him super-strength in his legs and one arm (and super-speed), and also one eye was bionic, so it could see very far, like a built-in telescope. The show was a brilliant rip-off of comic book characters like Captain America, Superman, Iron Man, Cyborg, et al.  Unlike most superheroes, Austin worked for the government, doing secret spy-like work with his powers.  Lee Majors was not much of an actor, but he was very handsome and believable in the role.

Back in those days, from the beginning of television through to the late 70's, the stories in each show only lasted one episode (two if you had a two-parter).  That meant if any romances were introduced, they had to be gone by the end of the episode. So this meant that whether you were watching Maverick, or I Spy, or Star Trek, or Bonanza, or Starsky and Hutch, or Six Million Dollar Man...it didn't matter, the romance ended, usually with the person either leaving town or dying.  They very seldom had any hero get married or have a regular girlfriend.

Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) was introduced as a girlfriend for Steve Austin, and they were going to get married, so they killed her off.  They had a two-part episode, where she had a sky-diving accident, and they used bionics to save her, but then her body rejected them and she died.  However, as the special feature on this DVD set tells us, the audience response was so great, that they brought her back, and eventually gave Jaime her own TV show.

Jaime Sommers also lost both of her legs, and one arm, but instead of one eye she had one bionic ear. I always wondered what would happen if they only had one bionic leg? It would be kind of hard to run that way--they'd have to hop around or something. Human pogo stick! Anyway, I digress...

If you are watching this show for the first time, you have to keep in mind that TV was very different back then.  We didn't have many fantasy and scifi shows. Most of them got canceled. I think this may be the only U.S. scifi show in the 1970's that was a big hit.  It was very mainstream and designed to appeal to everyone, not just scifi fans, so the writing was not that great. Things with mass appeal on TV are not usually all that great (especially back then because they really underestimated how smart people were).  Many shows like this were considered "kid's shows", even though they got good ratings.  So if you watch it, you may find it kind of corny and old-fashioned.

The first disk of the set contains the 5 episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man where Jaime first appeared. After that, you have the actual Bionic Woman show, which is much better than the one it came from.  For those of us who were alive back then, it's fun to see the 70's styles, clothes, furniture, etc.  Some of it is a little hard to take, like the awful "Jaime song" that they play every time she and Steve are together. There are lots of scenes of them running together, riding on horseback, and more, to show that they are falling in love. It is pretty corny. After that, though, it is kind of interesting because she dies and then comes back, but she has lots her memories.  You really feel bad for poor Steve, who is still in love with her and spending all this time with her, while she doesn't remember him. Worse, she falls for her doctor.  You just sit and watch poor Steve get his heart ripped out over and over.

Once it gets past that point, and she gets her own show, it is better.  It is quite a feminist show for its time (not in a preachy way).  She was a great role model for all kids and was very popular.  The shows are a pleasant way to pass the time. You and your kids will enjoy them.

The DVD set is a good one. It contains a gag reel (which is not too long) and a great featurette "Bionic Beginnings" where you get to see what most of the cast look like now, and they talk about the show (Lee Majors is sorely missed, though).  There is also a photo gallery and the usual audio commentary. They did a good job with the set. So many of the old shows come with almost no extras, so it's a treat to get some in this set. I look forward to seeing the other two seasons come out.

Press release:

One of the Most Iconic Television Series Leaps Onto DVD for the First Time Ever 'The Bionic Woman' Season One

Superhuman Bonus Features Include "The Six Million Dollar Man" Crossover Episodes that Launched the Series and an All-new Interview with Lindsay Wagner!

Available on DVD October 19, 2010

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Fans can finally experience one of television's most memorable television series when "The Bionic Woman" Season One debuts on DVD on October 19, 2010 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Relive the excitement of this groundbreaking television series starring Primetime Emmy® Award winner Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, a woman leading the ultimate double-life. Never-before-released on DVD in North America, this four-disc set includes every episode from the show's premiere season plus five crossover episodes from "The Six Million Dollar Man," and a Bionic Beginnings featurette, which tracks the evolution of television's first Bionic Woman and includes an all-new, exclusive interview with Lindsay Wagner.

"The Bionic Woman's" 1976 premiere introduced delighted television viewers to a thrilling new kind of action hero -- the blonde, brainy and beautiful Jaime Sommers. Armed with an astonishing range of superhuman abilities, Jaime goes undercover as a schoolteacher to take on a host of evildoers in 13 action-filled adventures that take her to every corner of the globe.

Inspired by the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-nominated action series "The Six Million Dollar Man," "The Bionic Woman" Season One stars Primetime Emmy® Award winner and Golden Globe®-nominee Lindsay Wagner (The Paper Chase) and Richard Anderson ("Dynasty"), along with an array of 1970s luminaries including Lee Majors ("The Six Million Dollar Man), Andy Griffith ("Matlock"), Tippi Hedren (The Birds) and Kristy McNichol ("Empty Nest").

The "Bionic Woman" Season One DVD comes with exciting bonus features to delight any collector, including:

* Five "The Six Million Dollar Man" Crossover Episodes
o "The Bionic Woman" -- the original second season "The Six Million Dollar Man" episode where Jaime Sommers becomes the Bionic Woman.
o "The Bionic Woman: Part II" -- Jaime Sommers is sent on her first assignment for the Office of Scientific Investigations in this second season "The Six Million Dollar Man" episode.
o "The Return of the Bionic Woman" -- Steve Austin learns that Jaime Sommers is still alive after seeing her die from a Bionic rejection. However, Jaime has suffered brain damage and no longer remembers anything about her past life, including Steve.
o "The Return of the Bionic Woman Part II" -- In an attempt to restore her memory, Steve Austin takes the recuperating Jaime Sommers to their hometown of Ojai, California. However, facing her past results in violent headaches and confusing flashbacks.
o "Welcome Home, Jaime" -- In "The Six Million Dollar Man" episode that launched "The Bionic Woman" spin-off series, Oscar Goldman arranges a job for Jaime as a schoolteacher, but she also insists on taking on the missions for the Office of Scientific Investigations.
* Bionic Beginnings Featurette: Featuring an all-new interview with Lindsay Wagner, this featurette tracks the evolution of television's first Bionic Woman from her introduction in a two-part episode of "The Six Million Dollar Man" to the launch of her own series.
* Episode Commentary: Commentaries featuring director Alan J. Levi, writer James D. Parriott and writer/director Kenneth Johnson.
* Gag Reel
* Photo Gallery

SYNOPSIS

She can run faster than 60 mph, bend massive steel bars, jump from insane heights and hear sounds you can only imagine. She's no ordinary schoolteacher ... she's "The Bionic Woman." Relive the excitement of this iconic TV series starring Primetime Emmy® Award winner Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, a woman leading the ultimate double-life. After her unforgettable appearances on "The Six Million Dollar Man" as Colonel Steve Austin's (Lee Majors) true love, Jaime's story begins anew in these entertaining Season One episodes as she learns to deal with her new bionic abilities, becomes a top-secret agent for the Office of Scientific Investigations and deals with her changed relationship with Steve. Now available in a four-disc set that includes five original episodes featured in "The Six Million Dollar Man" and a never-before-seen Bionic Beginnings Featurette, "The Bionic Woman" Season One promises non-stop action, excitement and adventure with the world's first female cyborg.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD

Street Date: October 19, 2010

Copyright: 2010 Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Selection Number: 61114258

Layers: Dual Layer

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Picture Format: Widescreen

Languages: English 5.1

Subtitles: English and Spanish

Rating: Not rated

Universal Studios Home Entertainment is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is a part of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.


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Updated 10/19/10  

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