Before I watch the pilot of Bionic Woman I think that it’s only fair to disclose that I was a big fan of The Bionic Woman (please note the subtle difference in the title). The Six Million Dollar Man spin-off premiered when I was eleven years old. To me the fantasy world of bionic secret agents working for the OSI was magical. Of course when I was a kid it was a lot easier to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Realistically I can’t expect the same magic that I felt as a child, but I’m expecting to see something really cool. Cool enough that the show has earned a spot on the NBC network instead of its sister cable channel, SciFi.
I watched the pilot. It looks really cool. These bionics are much more elaborate than what we have seen in the past. This bionic woman (Michelle Ryan) does not run in slow motion. The new Jaime Sommers is a college dropout working as a bartender and is her teenage sister's (Lucy Hale) guardian. Jaime and her college professor boyfriend Will Anthros (Mark Sheppard) get into a car accident. Jaime's injuries are severe. Fortunately Will is also a surgeon who specializes in cutting-edge, top secret, bionic technology. Will replaces Jamie's legs, right arm, eye and ear with bionics that were designed for military applications. She is hardwired for highly specialized warfare.
Now Jaime must adjust to her new life and use her new abilities to pay back the organization (The Berkut Group) that spent 50 million dollars to rebuild her (talk about inflation). Most of the pilot was dedicated to explaining how Jaime becomes bionic but there are other things in play that should set up future episodes. There is another bionic woman, Sarah Corvis (Katee Sackhoff), who went bad and was presumed dead. Now she is involved with some bad guys, setting the stage for future adventures. Sarah was responsible for Jaime's accident and toward the end of the pilot she shoots Will. Sarah and Jaime have a knock down, drag out fight. I look forward to the next episode because I never judge a show by its pilot.
The next episode has Jaime depressed over Will's death… and making out with a guy in a public restroom. This is when I missed the old school sound effects and slow motion. When things are getting hot and heavy she accidentally cracks his rib. The make-out session is interrupted by the Berkut Group's Jonas Bledsoe (Miguel Ferrer). Jonas appeals to Jaime's need to find her place in life by helping them save the world. Before Jaime can finish training, she is on her first assignment to investigate a town whose population has been killed by a biological weapon. By the end of the mission Jaime learns that the world is scarier than she ever thought. The technology that was once science fiction is now a reality and her job will be to keep that technology out of the hands of the bad guys. While all this is happening we are also learning more about Sarah Corvis and how she turned bad. It may be the technology affecting her mind.
So far I am more interested in the characters than the plot. There is one element to the show that I will freely admit to having mixed feelings about and that is the blurry line between who the good guys and the bad guys are. I like that the heroes have baggage. I'm sure that there are viewers who want to see the good guys wearing white hats and the bad guys wearing black hats (toy companies like straight out good guys and bad guys when it comes to marketing action figures). Since the Berkut Group is an independent contractor in competition with the military, the show will present the government and the military in a negative light. This also means that the Berkut Group's actions are not motivated by patriotism but by the bottom line. Conservatives may translate this as, "Those Hollywood liberals hate America and don't support the troops".
To quote Jaime, “This saving the world thing. I'd like to give that a try”.