Television Review: Bionic Woman - Pilot
by R.J. Carter
Published: September 24, 2007
Twenty-four year old San Francisco bartender Jaime Welles Sommers (Michelle Ryan) has her not-quite-ideal life thrown into disarray when she learns that she's pregnant by her current boyfriend, Will Anthros (Chris Bowers). Will promptly and sincerely proposes they get married. But as they discuss baby names on the drive home from dinner, their car is t-boned by a semi, and Jaime hangs onto life by a thread.
But her boyfriend has a secret he hasn't shared with her. Not only is he a professor of bioethics, he's a talented surgeon with a super-secret Wolf Creek Biotech Research Facility. Injured himself -- although nowhere near as badly -- he authorizes immediate surgery on Jaime without consulting his rather unhappy superior, Jonas Bledsoe (Miguel Ferrer). When Jaime awakens from her many surgeries, she discovers parts of her body have been removed and replaced: both legs, her right arm, her right ear and her right eye. And taking things a step beyond the original series, we learn that Jaime also has had part of her blood supply replaced with anthrosytes -- molecular machines presumably named after their inventor, Will Anthros. And there are a few chips in her head that contain the programming for some rather intense combat maneuvers. The anthrosytes heal her quickly, the combat maneuvers kick in whenever she's threatened. Now she's Bledsoe's weapon.
But Anthros didn't save Jaime's life to have her made a prisoner, and so he helps her escape, which is when Jaime learns just how fast she can run. Seemingly having run out of original ideas, the writers have her zip past a car where a little girl in the back seat sees her, a la the Superman / Lois Lane train scene from "Superman." If they'd really wanted to have put a nice touch on this, they'd have recruited Lindsay Wagner to cameo as the oblivious mother driving the car.
I See You. Jaime Sommers gives Jonas Bledsoe
a message through the one-way glass.
(L-R: Ferrer (in shadow), Ryan)
Complicating Jaime's life is her sister, Becca (Lucy Hale), whom we learn early on is a computer hacker with a wild streak (how else to explain the court order barring her from being near a computer and a phone line?) Becca got dropped off on Jaime's doorstep by their errant father, who's off who knows where. Will Anthros has parental issues of his own, as we find that his father -- once connected with the project -- is in a Super-Max prison 10,000 feet under ground.
But the biggest complexity in Jaime's life is the entrance of the Bionic Woman -- the first Bionic Woman, Sarah Corvus (Katee_Sackhoff), whom we all see killed in the opening moments of the pilot. But Sarah's alive, well, and eager to become more bionic than ever.
Bionic Woman drops a lot of hints for future plot threads in its opening salvo, and the special effects are on par with what we've seen in other high-budget super-hero drama series. The trick is going to be coming up with original material that takes the viewers into new territory. It's not just that it's a remake of an older show -- there's always original ways to remake things like that. But so many of the scenes are evocative of things we've seen before. The "Superman" running scene, the "Spider-Man" learning-to-leap-across-rooftops scene, and the "Matrix"-like fight in the rain between the two bionic women are all well done, but hardly groundbreaking as far as storytelling goes.
Bionic Woman premieres September 26 on NBC at 9:00pm, 8:00pm CST.
Read our complete look at the Fall TV season at Network Programming Falls Into Place for 2007/08 Television Viewing Season