Rebooting the Six Million Dollar Man to make it better, stronger, faster


This week for The League Brian asks us what property would we like to see rebooted/return? And how do we imagine that it would be different?

Tough question.  CT and Jeeg over at the Nerd Lunch blog enjoy doing Reboot Challenges that are similar to this.  I like the idea of reimagining a favorite property.  So my pick to have a new reboot will no doubt be no surprise to readers of this blog.  I want to see a TV reboot of The Six Million Dollar Man.  This reboot, of course, would also lead into a reboot of The Bionic Woman.


There is a mostly successful reboot of the property going on right now in comic books.  I’d like to bring that success to a TV show.  However, I wouldn’t necessarily adapt what Dynamite is doing in their comic, but I like several aspects of what they’ve done so I might use them.

So let’s begin.

Premise: I’ll keep the origin roughly the same.  Steve is a military pilot.  Special Forces, I haven’t decided the branch; Navy Seals, Army Rangers, whatever.   Steve is an excellent soldier and pilot and due to his proficiency will pilot experimental aircraft for the military from time to time.  During one of these test flights, something goes wrong and Steve crashes in a horrific explosion and he barely survives.  Like in the original novel and the show,  the accident will damage Steve’s head, both legs and one of his arms.  OSI, a clandestine military department, chooses Steve to receive prototype nanotech plus bionic implants to repair his body.  The surgeries are done by OSI’s bionic specialist Dr Rudy Wells.  During Steve’s multiple bionic surgeries Rudy decides that for better balance and performance he will need to replace both arms.  The bionic limbs are controlled/regulated by microscopic nanobots that are implanted into his body.  This allows for “software upgrades” on the fly for mission specific details, tech and intel.  It also allows for better monitoring of Steve’s bionics and vitals from Rudy’s control center at OSI.  After the surgeries and physical therapy, Steve joins OSI as an agent and is placed under the supervision of Audrey Goldman who doles out his assignments and briefs him on intel.

Steve Austin

Storylines:  The first part of the first season will deal with the aftermath of the accident and Steve’s subsequent physical therapy and testing of his bionic limits.  After he joins OSI, Steve is used as a black ops agent.  He performs impossible missions that no one but Steve and his bionics could accomplish. For the most part, starting mid-season, the episodes of this series, like the original, will focus on Steve’s “missions” for OSI.  Steve does infiltration, recon, sabotage and maybe even a little assassination.  I also want some stories to delve a bit more into the OSI operations side.  Maybe even a few “between missions” episodes where we see Steve get tune ups and upgrades from Dr Wells.  This allows us to see that Steve gets damaged during his missions has to have a new arm or leg fitted.  This will also show some testing of new “special missions” bionic gear like underwater legs with a built in oxygen respirator and a new arm with lasers in the fingers.  Stuff that the 70s toys were built upon but never made it into the show.  This time at OSI will also show the building of the working relationship with Audrey Goldman and Rudy Wells.

I want Jaime Sommers there in episode 1.  She is Steve’s fiance and she’ll be told he died in the crash.  Then we probably won’t see her again until later in the season.  Somewhere mid-to-late season 1 we’ll find out that OSI secretly tried to recreate their bionic successes with Steve.  They outfitted another disabled soldier, Barney Hiller, with bionic limbs.  The tech malfunctions, but also Hiller was a little unstable in the first place and he goes on the loose wrecking havoc having been corrupted by the bionic power in his body.  OSI calls in Austin who is able to stop him a few times, but barely, which makes Hiller hate Austin partly for stopping him but also for being his only equal.  Hiller decides to get back at Austin by finding Jaime Sommers and kidnapping her.  The final few eps of season 1 will have Austin tracking down Jaime to save her from Hiller.  Austin finds Jaime but Hiller will escape to return in season 2.  As Steve arrives to rescue Jaime he realizes that Hiller booby trapped his lair and it explodes with Jaime still inside.  This will lead to Austin’s ultimate season ending decision to have OSI outfit Jaime with bionics to save her life.  Season 2 will begin with Jaime’s surgeries and recovery.

Format:  I see this show being a little expensive, so I think the BBC model would work best.  Maybe 6-12 episodes per season, really allow us to focus more on each episode’s story and the “look and feel”.  Plus, you know, always leave them wanting more.

Cast:  So, who would I cast in this new Bionic Man show?

Steve Austin
For Steve Austin I want David Boreanaz.  He looks like a soldier and he can play intensity very well as he’s done it in his most famous roles as Angel (Buffy, Angel) and Agent Booth (Bones).  But he can also bring some humor with the darkness since I don’t want this reboot to be too “dark and gritty” (a problem with the 2007 Bionic Woman reboot).

Steve Austin
For Oscar Goldman’s character I changed the gender and picked Joan Allen.  I love Joan and she plays the administrator/boss very well as you can see in the second two Bourne movies, Death Race and The Contender.  I need Audrey Goldman to be tough as nails as well as a true blue “company woman” who puts OSI first (but, obviously, that will change over time).

Steve Austin
For Dr Rudy Wells, my bionics expert, I would love Idris Elba.  This guy can do anything and I need him to be, essentially, Steve’s friend.  Wells will be the one to stick up for Steve when Audrey Goldman starts taking Steve for granted.

Barney Hiller
For Barney Hiller I want Jeremy Renner.  Renner has played soldiers many times and he can bring the intensity and the crazy.  I imagine this role to be sort of a cross between his SWAT character, Brian Gamble, and his Bourne Legacy character, Aaron Cross.  While he’s A-list in the movies right now he has done TV before.  He starred in an episode of Angel alongside Boreanaz (The Somnambulist) and played a cop in the short-lived The Unusuals.  And since he’s not starring here, just recurring, it may be easier to lock him in.  In case you were wondering, Barney Hiller is a character from the original show.  He made two appearances in the episodes The Seven Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Criminal.

Jaime Sommers
I would want Katee Sackhoff for Jaime Sommers.  Katee is probably best known for Battlestar Galactica, which, of course, I’ve never watched.  She was also really good as Dana Walsh in the last season of 24 and she played Sarah Corvus in the aforementioned 2007 Bionic Woman reboot.  When I was watching that reboot back in 2007, I thought the main roles should have been reversed and Katee should have played Jaime Sommers and Michelle Ryan should have played Sarah Corvus.  I get to rectify that now. Obviously, Katee would spin-off into the eventual Bionic Woman show.

Other ideas:  Like I said, Katee would spin-off into her own Bionic Woman show.  I would like Elba and Allen to appear on the spin-off as well just as those two characters did back in the day.  Even when the two shows were on different networks.  I would also like the Hiller character to appear on Bionic Woman as his kidnapping of Jaime will constantly be a weak spot for her.  And, I’d like Hiller to eventually help create in some fashion an evil Bionic Woman.  Maybe Hiller hijack’s OSI’s HDQ and forces Rudy to operate on someone.  I toyed with the idea of having Michelle Ryan as the evil Bionic woman just as I mentioned that’s how the 2007 show should have cast it, but I’m wondering if that may scare off some studios since that reboot did so poorly why would they revive it with just the roles reversed?  So, instead of Michelle Ryan I’m thinking Gina Carano would be an excellent bionic villainess.


She was great in Haywire (even though the actual movie isn’t that good) and Fast & Furious 6.  Plus, I just found out, that Gina and Katee Sackhoff will be in an as yet untitled movie together that is being described as “the female expendables”.  I’m on board for that.

So that’s my reboot.  I think it’s pretty solid and I’d watch it every week.  Of course, I have a soft spot for the bionic franchise.  I watched the 2007 Bionic Woman reboot twice as long as it seems everyone else did even though I thought there was so much lost potential in that show.


17 Responses to “Rebooting the Six Million Dollar Man to make it better, stronger, faster”

  1. Yes! It is high time to reboot this franchise. I loved your casting choices and actually considered David Boreanaz for my Buck Rogers reboot. Switching Oscar Goldman to a femal role is an excellent idea.

    You’d put Idris Elba in every movie if you could. 😉

    I part ways with you on the selection of Katee Sackhoff though. She has never been a favorite of mine unless she’s playing the bad gal. You need to cast a different lead for Jaime Sommers or I’m not going to fund this. 😉

    • LOL! Well, I thought of that because while Katee is my first choice, I was reluctant to use ANYONE from that 2007 reboot. I could always slide Gina Carano into the Jaime Sommers role. It’s tough to think of good, tough chicks. Rachel Nichols would be a good choice too.

    • Oh, and yes, Brian, I would have cast Idris Elba in the Bionic Woman role if I couldn’t find anyone else I liked. 😉

  2. This would be cool! I would totally want to see this come back. And yeah, Idris Elba makes everything instantly cooler.

  3. As someone who grew up watching both shows, I have to agree that it’s high time we reboot this franchise. I, also watched the ’07 reboot and I was disappointed with many aspects. I did not care for Katee’s character, although-she was most-excellent as Starbuck in BG. (When I heard they changed Starbuck to a female, I said: You’ve GOT to be joking. I didn’t even want to watch it. Nonetheless-I did and, my God! It was like cocaine, I had to have my next fix! I watched every episode in a month and a half…)
    But-I digress. I liked Michelle Ryan as Jaime, but she didn’t fill those shoes very well. I didn’t care for the sister, either. I still believe we need a closure-movie for that ’07 series, as there were too many unanswered questions.
    As for your reboot… I’d still like Austin to be an astronaut, as it was such an iconic theme for the show. (NASA put in a lot of time, effort and cooperation into that series; it would be unfortunate to throw NASA under the bus… But-that’s just me.) I do like the comix reboot and you seem to have included many of my favorite aspects. The choice of David Boreanaz is a good one, too.
    As far as Dr. Rudy Wells, you’ll probably have to recast; Idris is up for the new Dr. Who, and he would be great in that role. Samuel L. Jackson???
    Love the ‘Audrey’ Goldman take on it, as well as Barney Hiller’s return. Good plot line for the intro of Jaime, too.
    The problem I had with the Bionic Woman reboot was Michelle just didn’t seem believable. Lindsay Wagner had such a presense, but-you BELIEVED she was Bionic; everyone FELT Jaime’s frustration and pain… We pulled for her to recover her memory, as well as her own sense of self. You’ve GOT to cast someone who can make us feel that way, again. Claire Danes???
    Anyway… I’d watch the hell out of a remake of my two favorite shows-Period.
    Good luck…
    Eric G1

    • I’m not sure that making Austin a military pilot is “throwing NASA under the bus”.

      I honestly toyed with the idea of making Austin an astronaut, but that is no longer relevant. That was a wholly 70s idea and doesn’t really resonate in a modern reboot. If I was placing this reboot in the 70s, it’d work, but today, an astronaut doesn’t have the cache it did back in the day.

      I agree, Michelle Ryan just wasn’t believable. Plus her sister was annoying. And Miguel Ferrer’s Bledsoe was a poor Oscar substitute. I like Katee, I think she’d work.

      HOWEVER….I love the idea of Clare Danes as Jaime. LOVE it. You almost make me want to rewrite that part of the article. However, she’s currently in the middle of shooting that Homeland TV show, so she may be out of it as well. But……

      Thanks for reading, gogator1!

  4. I think you need younger actors. Jaime was 27 and Steve was a few years older. I like both actors you suggest but I just think they are too old for the parts. David Boreanaz is 44. I like your choices for Goldman, Wells and Hiller. But I would like to see more of a continuation of the show verses a reboot. Kinda like DALLAS. This would leave room for Wagner, Majors, Anderson to make appearances. I think President Callahan would be a recurring character. Part of the problem with my vision would be having to repair the damage the 3 TV reunion movies did to the franchise. Like when did Jaime get a bionic eye? I would be in front of the TV if your reboot ever got made.

    • Lee Majors was 35 when he played Steve Austin for the first time (he was born in 1939). Boreanaz is 44 but he can play 8 or 10 years younger if you ask me. Plus, I don’t want a bunch of CW cover boys/girls all over the show.

      You want younger actors but you have no problem with 74 year old Lee Majors and 87 year old Richard Anderson returning? While I like the idea of actually continuing the original storyline and having Austin “pass the torch”, for me, I’d probably prefer the complete reboot. Maybe bring in some of the original actors for cameos as other characters or something like that But, honestly, I’d just prefer to let the show stand on its own.

      Thanks for the comments and thanks for reading. 🙂

  5. Interesting ideas–thanks for the post. I’m going to toss in some comments that I should probably preface are coming from someone who loathed the Bionic Woman series reboot and disliked the Comic Book revival, but who adores these original characters and series.

    Personally, I would much rather see Steve and Jaime just rebooted in some good novels–stories that don’t try to re-imagine the original characters and dynamics by recasting them into grittier heroes and just adding more Hollywood explosions. I’d rather see someone tackle the creative challenge of continuing the original story with some good writing. Last time I looked, people of our generation still read, so there’s less money to lose if they don’t succeed.

    If they were rebooted, while your ideas are great, I would prefer to see this as an equal Bionic Man/Bionic Woman crossover from day one. They can always retell the story of how their relationship came to be in flashback episodes, but on behalf of female audiences anxious to see Jaime Sommers again, we’re not going to sit around and wait a year or two for the Bionic Woman to factor into the story. We’ve already changed the channel.

    My preference if they insisted on reviving the shows? I’d like to see producers think different. Something more along the lines of Lois and Clark. Equal character billing, humor, relationship, drama. Set in the 70s for even more time period humor. But with bionic action updated to current Hollywood fx to eliminate the cheese factor. A lighter approach with serious moments. Syfy channel, short seasons, good actors. Any producers out there? Call me.

    Is this a woman’s approach or just my own personal preference? I don’t know. But it’s an intentionally broader, more inclusive male/female 35+ audience idea that avoids the usual Hollywood blockbuster formula that is so heavily skewed towards young male audiences. I sorta lost interest in this genre 7 Supermans ago. 🙂

    • I love your ideas. I would definitely read some good novels, continuing Steve and Jaime’s love story and their adventures TOGETHER, as a team. I asked Dayton Ward if he would write a SMDM/BW novel; he said he would love to write something…someone just needs to ask him…

    • You know, I knew I’d get other ideas on this, and I still like my reboot ideas, even if they are in the “blockbuster” formula.


      I LOVE the idea of starting essentially, in the middle. Jaime and Steve are already a team and going on missions. Maybe during the season we get flashbacks to their pasts. I really love that idea. You get to immediately start off with some awesome bionic action. Very nice. I’ll have to remember that.

      Thanks for the comments, Betsy.

  6. Can we somehow shoehorn in Bionic Bigfoot, Maskatron, a few fembots and of course Max, The bionic dog?

  7. Would you be rebooting the name too? ‘Cuz I don’t think six mil will cover all the surgeries nowadays. “Sixty Million Dollar Man?”

  8. DrBrodski Says:

    They should only be allowed to remake this if they use more organic special effects and not ruin it with cheap CGI crap. That’s what happened with The Incredible Hulk, where he flew through the sky like something out of a video game. Can you imagine today’s poorly conceived attempt at a Death Probe? If they can’t get out there with oxy-acetylene and construct something menacing and real they should be prevented from doing it.

  9. anthony hess Says:

    use Mark Whalberg as steve austin

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