"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter
in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."
An original idea is currently about as rare on US TV as Brits using their own accents. The latest slew of new SF and fantasy shows all have the whiff of reheated seconds about them. Some have a few new spices added to the mix and serve up something that still worth getting stuck into; others have the reconstituted blandness of a plastic burger.
So, Journeyman is Quantum Leap, Reaper is Dead Like Me, Chuck is Jake 2.0 and Moonlight is... well take your pick from Forever Knight, Angel or Blood Ties. Pushing Daisies has a slightly more daring premise - a man who can resurrect the dead - but stylistically it's just a wannabe Tim Burton movie.
And then we have The Bionic Woman. Well, no prizes for guessing what the inspiration was for this one, though bonus points for any smart Aleck who's thinking, "Battlestar Galactica," because it was clearly the success of that show which lead to this reimagining. Indeed, David Eick, one of the architects of the Galactica revamp is the executive producer of this new Bionic Woman, and you can easily picture him a year ago going through old video tapes wondering what he could work his magic on next.
The show has been a big hit Stateside, both with viewers and critics, though for the life of me I can't see why. It's not just unoriginal in terms of its basic premise (unavoidable given that it's an update) but in terms of the choices made in the way it's been updated. Everything is just so obvious. It's the kind of "updates" you and I would come up with in 10 minutes sitting in the bath, pondering, "What would I do if I bought back The Bionic Woman?" Everything from The X-Files style conspiracy plot to the "gritty" camerawork and the (implied) lesbian nemesis.
Michelle Ryan tries her best, but has little to do but look sulky. And how can you give a damn about a character who wakes up from a life-saving operation with super powers and spends the second half of the pilot moaning about what's ben done to her? Sure, you'd be in shock, but wouldn't you secretly be thinking, "Well, better some freaky limbs than the inside of a coffin." The histrionics are all so forced - false drama for the sake of it.
It's all so drab, dreary and predictable, so far at least. It's a solid, but unremarkable show, which shows none of the audacity of the revamped Battlestar Galactica to tackle today's issues in an SF showcase. It may improve; I hope it does. The raw ingredients are certainly there. But the ingredients need one hell of a good stir and a lot more flavouring.
You must be registered and logged in in order to leave a comment or send this as an email.
No comments yet!
Dave Golder is the ex-Editor of SFX magazine, and will be writing a regular column here at scifi.co.uk. Agree with his points? Disagree? Let us know on the forum!