A few minutes into the premiere of Bionic Woman, I thought Iwas watching a late ’90s WB drama. A pouty Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan, pictured) was arguing withher angst-ridden teenage sister Becca (Lucy Hale) while melodramatic music played in thebackground. But before I could go for some popcorn, an intense car crash forced meright back in my seat. Where I remained for pretty much the rest of the episode. (Will the series hold up to the standards set by the pilot? Check out Gillian Flynn’s review of the series in the new issue of EW.)
As in those ubiquitous Volkswagen commercials, a menacing tractortrailer barrels out of the darkness into the car driven by Sommers’ boyfriend,Dr. Will Anthros (Chris Bowers). Will escapes with a broken arm and a few bruises, but a bloodied,limbless Jaime soon lies on an operating table, unaware of her pending medical overhaul.
Jaime’s right ear, right eye, one arm and two legs are giventhe bionic treatment, courtesy of the good folks at he ominous Wolf CreekBiotech Research Facility. The $50 million makeover allows her to run fasterthan a speeding car, hear conversations across the room and spot a sniper from hundreds of yards away.
A newly bionic Jamie Sommers tries to return to a normallife after the accident, but is confronted by Sarah Corvis, another patient ofthe research lab who was supposedly shot dead in the first few minutes of the show.Turns out Sarah is “the first Bionic woman” and Jaime’s blondecounterpart. Whether the pair are friends or enemies remains to be seen, buttwo Bionic women means I am twice as excited! (Especially since Sarah is played by Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff.)
Bionic Woman definitely benefits from the advances inspecial effects technology since the 1970s, when a bionic overhaul cost just $6 million. I kept expecting that iconic soundeffect that happened whenever old-school Jaime (Lindsay Wagner) did something bionic, but it wasnowhere to be heard. I thought I heard it once during the show, but alas, it wasa hovering helicopter.
Bionic Woman is infused with slick CSI-style editing, CrouchingTiger-like fight scenes, and a handful of Felicity-esque introspective moments. Ryaninjects a smartass sensibility into Jamie Sommers and fills the Sydney Bristowstrong woman role that Alias left vacant. But for an action series based on asuperhuman woman there was a significantly disappointing amount of action. Noteto producers: fewer incongruous sex scenes and more fights and chases, please.
Despite the relative lack of butt-kicking in the premiere, the restof the season promises lots of running, jumping and fiery explosions asJaime triesher bionic hand at saving the world. Will you tune in? What did youthink of the pilot’s mix of mystery, mayhem, and mushiness? And do youmiss that n-n-n-n-n-n sound?