When I was a kid I had a Six Million Dollar Man action doll. The one with the red track suit, the karate chopping arm (and plastic plank that would break into two pieces), and the bionic eye that you could look through. Oh yeah, and the roll-up skin on his arm that would reveal a tiny plastic computer chip. It was the coolest thing ever (or until Star Wars figures entered the picture), and I would spend hours re-enacting the latest episode. Remember the bigfoot episode? I think it was a robot alien or something.
Anyway, the reason I bring this bit of childhood reverie up is that I just watched the pilot episode for the new Bionic Woman series. (Yes, it's a download from the internet but it's not exactly illegal since TV networks are admitting to leaking new shows onto the net to drum up early buzz.)
Unfortunately, the show's nowhere near as fun as playing with that Steve Austin doll. I don't want to do a full review here, but let's just say that this re-imagining - by some of the same talent behind the awesome Battlestar Galactica relaunch and co-starring Starbuck herself, Katee Sackhoff as a version 1.0 evil bionic woman - is a bit of a nightmare. It's dark, which worked for revamping the fluffy 70s BSG for contemporary audiences with a war-on-terror subtext, but this is basically Alias or Buffy the Vampire Slayer with robot parts.
It's also serious (too serious, really, without any fun, and I don't mean it should be campy). Perhaps worst of all, it recasts Jaime Summers as a college dropout-turned-bartender with dead parents and a nagging little sister too big for her britches. She's not a tennis pro or a school teacher, and she's barely an adult. I'm a little tired of heroes and heroines who are stuck somewhere between childhood and adulthood, with their superpower/spying ability acting as a catalyst/metaphor for growing up. Lindsay Wagner was a woman. Lynda Carter (the original Wonder Woman) was a woman. Enough with the Dawson's Creek casting already!
And don't even get me started on the fact the new bionic woman isn't injured in a skydiving accident, that she's got bionic legs, an arm, an ear AND and eye. Or that Rudy and Oscar Goldman are nowhere to be seen.