In 1975, I was in kindergarten and all I wanted for my birthday was a Six Million Dollar Man action figure. Colonel Steve Austin (Lee Majors) was my hero at the time. And I was shocked and amazed when I not only received a 12-inch action figure with the "bionic eye" you could see through, but a rocket that transformed into a repair bay when he was injured.
If you don't remember, the Six Million Dollar Man was the story of Steve Austin, a NASA pilot who nearly died while testing an experimental space plane. Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson), head of the OSI (the Office of Scientific Intelligence, the Office of Scientific Investigation or the Office of Strategic Intelligence depending on who you listened to), decided that Austin would be a good candidate for an experimental procedure to rebuild his body using cybernetic parts. As a result, he become the world's first bionic man. He, Oscar, and Dr. Rudy Wells (Martin Balsam in the pilot, Alan Oppenheimer in seasons 1 and 2, and Martin E. Brooks in the remaining seasons as well as The Bionic Woman and three movies) worked at OSI to protect the United States from the threats of the day - from straight up terrorism to threats in space, these were the guys you wanted on your side.
Every episode, I was firmly set in front of our old black and white television set. I still fondly remember the episodes with Bigfoot, the evil android who had a removable face, and Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman.
So when I learned that Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection was coming out on DVD, my inner geek screamed with joy. All 100 episodes from five seasons, plus all the made-for-TV movies with more than 17 hours of bonus features. The episodes have been digitally restored and cleaned up, and packaged in a huge box containing six cases and 40 DVDs. Topping it off is a beautiful lenticular cover that shows Steve Austin running just like at the beginning of every episode. It has to be one of the best lenticular pictures I've ever seen.
When I first heard about the release, I was "geeked up," but I have to admit I had some doubts. Not all of these early cult favorites have had a clean transition to DVD. Whether it's the picture or sound, typically something gets lost in translation. But it seems that Time-Life did a great job converting this series and I shouldn't have been worried. The film taken back in the '70s looks beautiful on my HD television.