Bionic Review: The Six Million Dollar Man Season 1 – Part 1

Bionic Review


Okay, it’s time to start reviewing regular season episodes of the show. I’ll group episodes in the same way they are presented on the DVDs. So here are the first four episodes of Season 1 from The Six Million Dollar Man.

Episode 1 – Population Zero

Special guests: Don Porter (Gidget)

Synopsis:  In this episode Steve and Oscar investigate the seeming death of an entire town. After arriving Steve uses his actual moon walking space suit as a rudimentary Haz-Mat suit to investigate the town. A disgruntled scientist contacts Oscar to claim credit for the town and promises to strike again if not paid $10 million.  Steve sets out to find out who the guy is and how to stop him.

Bionics: We see a lot of good bionic slow motion running in this episode, but no “bionic sound”.  Not sure when that particular sound effect will start showing up.  When Steve is running, the sound is silent except for the sound of a beating heart.  In the episode conclusion, Steve rips a metal fence post out of the ground (including the cemented base, see pic above) and hurls it javelin-style through a truck killing all the bad guys.  Probably one of the more bad ass things Austin has done and we are only in episode 1.  We also learn in this episode that deep cold will hinder the performance of Steve’s bionics.

Notes: This is the first episode of the weekly series. We finally get the regular series opening with the famous tag line “Better, stronger, faster…”.  The music has a very “X-Files” feel to it which is interesting because the entire opening feels like an episode of that show.  It seems almost EVERYONE already knows about Steve’s bionics. Why do they bother keeping it a secret?  Apparently Steve lived 20 miles from the afflicted town in this episode and knows everyone in the town by name.

Review:  This was a very good episode.  Steve and Oscar work well together, the story was good.  The villain, played by Don Porter is fun.  The perfect setup for a weekly series.

Episode 2 – Survival of the Fittest

Special guests: Joanne Worley (Rowen & Martin’s Laugh-In)

Synopsis:  During important negotiations with Russian officials, Oscar’s life is threatened by individuals wanting to make sure those negotiations fail. When the plane that Steve and Oscar are flying in crashes, Steve must protect Oscar when it becomes clear that someone else on the flight is not who they appear to be.

Bionics: In the opening, Steve uses his bionics to remove lug nuts from a flat tire in one of the more “real world” applications of his abilities we’ve seen.  Another instance, after the plane has crash landed, has Steve karate chopping a coconut in two.  It’s not immediately clear whether he uses his bionics for this.  Steve saves Oscar from getting bitten by a snake by bionically  running up to the snake, grabbing it and hurling it into a rock wall, straight up murdering the snake.  Without prejudice.  Late in the episode we see Steve’s bionic “night vision” for the first time.

Notes: While on the plane, the in flight meal is delivered in really nice lunch boxes.  Oh the golden age of commercial air flight.  The plane’s engine catches on fire and the pilots immediately DROP IT OFF THE PLANE. Is that standard procedure?  While crash landed on the island, someone jury rigs the CB radio and attempts communication.  On what power source is that radio running?  And why is no one taking off their uniforms, jackets or ties?  It looks pretty hot on that island.  Apparently this episode was remade as Fly Jaime for The Bionic Woman series.

Review: This is also a pretty good episode.  Lee Majors is likable and fun.  We get some pretty awesome bionic action and there’s a nice reveal at the end.  I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.  Except for Joanne Worley.  I mean REALLY?

Operation Firefly(Via The 6 Million dollar Blog)
Episode 3 – Operation Firefly

Synopsis: When a crime syndicate kidnaps Dr. Samuel Abbott, the inventor of a portable laser, Steve enlists the help of Abbott’s daughter Susan — who has the gift of ESP — to rescue him.

Bionics: In one of the more ridiculous scenes I’ve ever seen Steve plays a guitar with bionic speed and I am not even f**king kidding.  His right hand moves at super bionic speed over the strings and his face is all sensual with bedroom eyes.  I about pissed myself.  We get the first instance of Steve’s “crosshairs” when he uses the bionic eye.  As well as the first appearance of the “bionic eye sound”.  Ridiculous scene #2 involves Steve actually whittling a boat out of a tree trunk using bionics.  Including the oars.

Notes: Dr Abbott is developing lasers based on the illuminating properties of firefly butts.  Seriously.  We get our first instance of supernatural powers in Dr Abbott’s daughter.  She has ESP.  Most of the action takes place in the Everglades, except it looks more like a ride at Disney Land than the actual Florida Everglades.  Of course, Steve fights an alligator (ridiculous scene #3).

Review: Okay, this episode is a little bit ridiculous.  But awesomely so.  WAY over the top but so much fun to watch.

Episode 4 – Day of the Robot

Special guests: John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Enter the Dragon), Henry Jones (Vertigo, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid), Lloyd Bochner (Dynasty)

Synopsis: The government has developed and is testing an anti-missile missile defense system. Steve’s friend, Major Sloan (Saxon), has developed the microwave circuit that is the instigator of the system. In order to pilfer the system and sell it to the highest foreign bidder, a criminial boss (Bochner) has hired Dr Dolenz (Jones) to develop an android that they can use to replace Sloan before the system test. They make the switch and Steve Austin must confront the android after he has stolen the defense system.

Bionics: Steve uses his bionic eye to cheat at tennis.  After the android crashes the car, Steve lifts the front of the car back onto the road.  The robot sees this and lifts up the back of the car, thereby making Steve suspicious (rightly so).  There is an awesome 8 minute slow motion battle between Steve and the android in the conclusion of the episode.  Steve impales it with a steel girder.

Notes:  This episode is the first in what is known as “The Robot Trilogy”.  Dr Dolenz (Henry Jones) appears in all three episodes.  This episode is the first to use the famous bionic sound.  Unfortunately it’s used for the android during the final battle and not Steve Austin.

Review:  This was a really fun episode.  Saxon really plays a fun android.  The malfunctioning the robot went through and it’s weird, halting speech are pretty distinctive.  Steve’s nonchalance about fake Sloan acting totally weird is baffling.  And the final fist fight between Cyborg Steve and Android Sloan is worth the price of admission.  This is definitely one of the better episodes that I’ve enjoyed watching.

Toy Alert: The android in this movie (also known as “Mr X”) was the inspiration for the action figure Maskatron.

Maskatron(Via the Bionic Wiki)

And those are the episodes on the first disc of Season 1 of the Six Million Dollar Man. Stay tuned, more episode reviews coming!

If you want to hear some more reviews of these episodes check out the podcast Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast. The hosts Paul and John are also going through all the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman episodes with in depth reviews and analysis from some of the show experts that helped put together the Time/Life DVD collection.  And yours truly might be a guest on a future episode.


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