September 26 marked the first episode of NBC's 'reimagination' (more on this later) of 1976's "The Bionic Woman". In the new series, a 24 year-old Jaime Sommers, (played by Michelle Ryan), a young bartender, suffers a near-fatal car accident along with her college professor/secret agent boyfriend Will Anthros. Jaime only survives the crash because Will brings her to his place of employ for a quick tune up, saving her life, and simultaneously making her the most expensive bartender ever. After the initial shock and realization of what has happened to her, Jaime eventually understands what she has become, and starts way on a path to a more exciting life of technobabble, espionage and intrigue.(Look ma, no legs.)
The series is co written by David Eick, of recent Battlestar Galactica fame. Interestingly enough, Eick's screen writing experience wasn't the only thing that he brought over from Galactica. Aaron Douglas, the loveable deck chief of questionable parentage in Galactica makes an appearance in the second episode. Katie Sackoff, (better known as Starbuck, to most) plays Sarah Corvus, the first Bionic Woman. That's right, I said first. Sommers comes into the game a little late. A Version 2.0 if you will. Obviously, this raises the question, "What happened to the first Bionic Woman that would warrant making a civilian into the second?". I'm glad you asked!
(Note: You can also tell that Sackoff is the bad one because of the cigarette and excessive use of eye-liner, if you couldn't tell before.)
Corvus does what Sackoff playes well. She goes bat-shit crazy, some people die and the token asian hand-to-hand combat instructor/operative/love interest played by Will Yun Lee (who, coincidently, plays many similar roles) puts a bullet in her head. Business as usual, right? Not for Corvus. Somehow, she's back, sans bullet-in-the-head, and she's working for the enemy as well as taking the time to antagonize our fair yet somewhat clueless heroine, Sommers. I must admit however, that the idea of one good and one bad bionic woman, while cliche at times (Star Trek and Knight Rider, I'm looking at you...) but I'm getting the feeling that Eick and Co are going to write this one in a more interesting way.
Reimagination is a funny word. Honestly, spellcheck doesn't even recognize it. (Interestingly enough, spellcheck doesn't recognize the word "spellcheck" either, so take that for what you will). Can you really Re-Imagine something? If the first imagination isn't yours, are you really re-imagining anything, or playing off someone else's work and creativity? It's kinda like regifting, now that I think about it. The only reason that I bring this up, is that Eick so far has been attached to reimagining two series now; the aforementioned Galactica, and now Bionic Woman. Eick and Ron Moore took a campy and at sometimes damned silly series, and made it relevant for the 21st century. They cut out the capes and robotic dogs (thanks guys) and added the interesting and at some times uncomfortable questions that no one ever likes having to ask themselves, as well as updated visuals, and revitalized a good amount of television's sci-fi scene. Can this be done with Bionic Woman? We'll have to wait and find out. But so far, it's on the right track to becoming a fan favorite, as well as another notch in NBC's belt along with Heroes, Chuck, a slew of Law and Order and of course, Deal or No Deal.
The Bionic woman airs Wednesday night's at 9PM EST. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some kite-flying to do.