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I am – Hercules!!
No sooner do we hear that NBC is taking its new “Bionic Woman” to series than we get this review of the pilot from first-time contributor “Kngiht42.” It’s a long one, so here’s a few spoilertastic highlights: * Katie Sackhoff (Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on “Galactica”) plays a (recurring?) villain named Sarah. * Apparently evil Sarah was an early bionic woman whose inferior nanotech implants drove her nuts. * Crazy Sarah helps create the new bionic woman when she drives a semi into hot bartender Jamie Sommers and her beau, an MD working in a top secret experimental bionics lab. * Like the Lindsay Wagner version, the new Jamie loses both legs, an arm and an ear. Unlike the earlier Jamie, she also loses an eye. * Jamie is pressured to use her $40 million in new parts to assist the top secret agency that rebuilt her, but she is not cool with the idea. * The girl who played “Ann” on “Arrested Development” plays Jamie’s deaf teen sister. * A Lector-ish character pops up in the pilot, and will also apparently play a role in the series. Here’s “Knight42”:
Hey Herc, I've never had a chance before to write in to AICN, but, while in Las Vegas last week, I got pulled aside by a review panel for the pilot to the Bionic Woman. Michelle Ryan plays Jaime Sommers and Katie Sackhoff is her nemesis (at least in the pilot), Sara. The show starts off with what looks like a SWAT force running through a building, intent on finding their target. As they go through the halls, there are dead bodies and blood everywhere. When the SWAT team reaches their target, we get a quick look at Katie Sackhoff covered in blood and looking downright primal. She then asks the Asian actor (who I feel bad for not remembering his name since he is a good actor) [Will Yun Lee, guesses Herc] if he loves her, which he replies he does and proceeds to shoot her. End of scene. Changing to a different story, we meet Jamie Sommers and her boyfriend, a doctor speaking about the equivalent of bionics to a college classroom. We find out these two are in love and planning on getting married. There's more going on but the guy who plays the doctor seemed to be the weak link in the story for me. The love story just seemed so cliche I didn't give such good marks on it. So we're introduced to the characters, show that they are in love, and all that jazz. Next up, driving home, they are both chit chatting away when all of the sudden a semi truck slams into their car full bore. Right before the semi hits though, Sommers sees a glimpse of the driver, our supposedly dead Starbuck, ahem, Sara driving. Fade to black. Next up, we see what looks to be an underground facility and a new character (and again, I feel horrible about not remembering his name since I actually think he is one of the better actors and parts in the show) saying that they shouldn't be bringing Sommers (the girl) down and that the practices are still experimental. Oop, boyfriend time again, not only is he a lecturer at college and a doctor, but apparently works at this top secret lab on, you guessed it, bionics and the like. Well, with a love like theirs, how could he resist bringing his love down to an experimental lab to do an experiemental procedure on? Next we see Sommers lying on a bed, both legs and, if I remember correctly, an arm amputated. That and half of her face is covered in gauze. Well, we see Mr. Fabulous, the doctor boyfriend going in and performing surgery. Cut to recovery and Sommers wakes up with doctors surrounding her, including her boyfriend. She says she can't feel her legs and, after the doctors tell her NOT to look under the blanket, she, LOOKS under the blanket! (shame,shame) Under there we see some bionic implants, but, more importantly, the explanation comes across about anthromorphicites (or something like this, I can't remember the exact name). Basically, nanotech that fills in the gaps and makes legs and body parts look and feel the right way around a bionic endoskeleton. To me, as soon as the doctor said anthromorphicites (again, probably the wrong name), I immediately thought of midichlorians by how silly it sounded! So of course, Sommers kicks her boyfriend across the room into a wall (not knowing her own strength) and is put under by the lab tech. She wakes to see her boyfriends arm in a cast. He does some more blah blah blah explaining about the bionics and how it will take time to adapt to her new abilities. He also explains she lost an ear and an eye to the accident but those abilities haven't yet come online. Well, the boyfriend has to explain to the upper ups that Jamie Sommers is not like before (duh, Sara) and that she's mentally stable. The test lab does experiments on Jamie for a little while to see what they think. Apparently, the hardware in her body was to be used for military purposes (injured soldiers, people missing a limb, etc.). They question the doctor as to if she will be cooperative with them and he tells them that she's a more stable case than the last experiment who was a soldier to begin with, therefore making her unstable as a subject. Well, from there the doctor helps Sommers escape to which she does some speed running, keeping up with a fast car (and leading to one of the funny moments in the show). The running looks similar to Smallville when Clark Kent decides he wants to book it, basically a blur of movement. The doctor/boyfriend is almost arrested when he says this is the best way to get Sommers on their side by letting her go. So, she goes where anyone would go, straight home (oh, and did I mention she has a deaf sister played by the actress that played Anne on Arrested Development and also the daughter in the short lived FX show Thief?). Blah blah blah, sister, blah blah blah, useless dialogue. (Sidenote - I like the actress that plays Anne, but do they need to make her deaf and the typical rebellious teenager?) There is a brief scene in a bar with the Chief from Battlestar Galactica about a prison that is something like 2 miles underground holding the equivalent of Hannibal Lecter (which, the actor plays like that). We aren't really told too much about this prisoner but apparently, he's such a badass that he has to be locked up here and has been there a couple of years already. I'm sure his story will come around more but as a point of order, there wasn't much point to him in the pilot. I know he had something to do with Sara and that he supposedly sent a message to her to get him out of prison. So, Sommers goes back to work at the bar as a bartender (which I guess is her regular job) and her bionic hearing starts to kick in as she is chatting it up with Starbuck, ahem, Sara. She goes to the bathroom to hurl and Sara comes in to hold her hair back. Instant best friends! OK, not so much. Anyhow, Sara starts talking about the bionic powers and that they will come online bit by bit and how the body will react to them. Her earpiece is going crazy so Sara leaves peacefully but not before telling Sommers to tell the doctor/boyfriend that she says hello (which can be sure to raise some hackles back at the top secret facility). Sure enough, boyfriend and Sommers get back together and he explains the program to her (with the other actor there). Basically, she has something like $40 million in technology in her (I am probably off on the numbers, but it was high) and that she now 'belongs' to the top secret agency and will work for them. She doesn't agree and says that now that she knows more about her powers, she'll look out for herself. She leaves and boss guy says that she'll do just fine (to no one in particular). So next up, boyfriend and Sommers are back at his place and as the boyfriend is about to tell her something important, a bullet streams through the window, hitting him high on the shoulder. Well, time for bionic eye to take effect. She manages to use her eye and, scanning like Robocop or the Terminator, manages to spot Sara on a building about a mile away, in the rain, with a sniper rifle getting ready to take another shot. Asian actor (who I also remember was in that FX show Thief who played the young, cocky Asian guy) comes in and basically takes things under control, out of the sight of the sniper across the way. Now I am trying to remember more about this scene but am not remembering as much as I should have (so I am going to fast forward to the end). In the last scenes, Sommers chases down Sara who makes her an offer to team up. Of course, Sommers isn't going to have any of this and they get in a cat fight atop a building in the rain. Throw in some Incredible Hulk type scenes here where women are throwing each other against walls and such. Sara realizes that Sommers doesn't have both bionic arms, just the one (which answers my own question from earlier in this review) and breaks the other one like a twig. Fight fight fight, strings, flipping, fighting, dialogue, fighting and a bunch of bionic eye use brings us to the end with Sara disappearing. Finally, we see the doctor/boyfriend getting surgery. Man, he's gone through a lot in this first episode, a semi slamming into his car, a broken arm by getting kicked into a wall, and getting shot! The last scene we see is the prisoner guy (Hannibal Lecter wannabe) outside in the snow atop a mountain staring at the moon saying how long it had been since he saw the moon. Fade to a 'To Be Continued' ending. ----- Now of course, they say this was the rough draft of the flick and all but it was complete in special effects and editing. My personal opinion of the show was that it felt like a mix of Dark Angel, Smallville and Alias with little originality. The acting wasn't bad and they did make a good choice for Jamie Sommers (although I prefer the original Lindsay Wagner more) but the boyfriend HAS to go. That and the deaf sister seems to be a useless part (we've already got a strong deaf character on Jericho, do we really have to force another actress to fake being deaf for no real apparent reason?). There wasn't as much action as one might hope in the pilot but the scenes that had it at least had some decent choreography (outside of the times they used strings to defy gravity). Jamie Sommers is now a military character with the bionic eye capturing targets and threats, apparently making her more aggressive (there is a brief scene where she is almost mugged but beats the crap out of the mugger). The actress did a good job and I think she'll be good if the series is picked up. The boyfriend, blah. The sister, useless. The boss of the top secret area, I thought his was the best character. Sara, good idea but using Starbuck as her character made me keep thinking of Battlestar Galactica and drew me out of this pilot. That and throw in the Chief from BG and I didn't know what show I was watching! (OK, exaggeration). The prisoner guy, who knows what he's about but if the show happens, I'm sure he'll have much more of a part. So, overall, an OK pilot, but a lot of the same old same old. If there are such great shows as Heroes out there that have characters with powers, the Bionic Woman better step the stories up or it will never last. All IMHO!

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