Archive for the Bionic Man Category

Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 coming March 12!

Posted in Bionic Man, comic books, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Paxton

Bionic Review

Not a review, today, just some news about the Dynamite Comics Bionic franchise.

Dynamite Comics announced that they are going to start a new Bionic Man series. Only this series will be a direct sequel to the 70s TV show, The Six Million Dollar Man. The title will begin on March 12 and be named, appropriately enough, The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6.

6mm1

Comic book continuations of TV shows have become quite popular since Joss Whedon allowed Buffy (Season 8) and Angel (Season 6) to be continued.  Now you can find comic book seasons for TV shows like Smallville (Season 11), Charmed (Season 9) and X-Files (Season 10).

According to Cosmic Book News, the new Six Million Dollar Man book will be drawn by Juan Antonio Ramirez and written by James Kuhoric.   Just like the last series, Alex Ross will be doing his awesome painted covers. Writer James Kuhoric should be familiar to fans of this blog as he wrote those awesome Jason vs Freddy vs Ash comics I reviewed for AWESOME-tober-fest 2012.  Cosmic Book News has an interview with Kuhoric as well as some early pencil art for the comic by Ramirez.  And the art looks GREAT. Click the image below to see a few more of Ramirez’s drawings within the Cosmic Book News’ article.

SMDMS6 art

It looks like Dynamite’s original Bionic Man title will stop in February and this new Season 6 title will take over. I guess that also means Bionic Woman will stop as well. I was enjoying the first Bionic Man title, but honestly, after Kevin Smith’s initial run, the title was holding my interest less and less. I think a reboot is a good idea and I LOVE the idea of actually continuing the original 70s TV show including the fashions and effects of the time.  Plus, Steve Austin will actually look like Lee Majors and Oscar will actually look like Richard Anderson.  That can be nothing but GOOD.  I wonder if Rudy will look like Darren McGavin or Alan Oppenheimer?

There are several other places to see more info about this new title. Bleeding Cool has an interview with Kuhoric and a lot of finished, colored art from the first issue. Also, if you head over to the 6 Million Dollar Blog you can see the cover to issue #2.

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

Posted in Bionic Man, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , on June 7, 2013 by Paxton

LEB

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.

SMDM1 BW1

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.

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6 undeveloped movie scripts that were turned into comic books

Posted in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Batman, Bionic Man, comic books, Freddy Krueger, Friday the 13th, Jason Vorhees, movies, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

This week the topic for The League is “comic books”. Yep, just “comic books”. I recently did an article about comic book covers that homage famous movie posters, so that idea was already burned. Fortunately, my draft articles are deep with ideas so I pulled this one out of the depths and fleshed it out a bit.

I love movies.  I love comic books.  I love comic book movies.  We have tons of movies coming out BASED on comics books.  But how about comic books based on movies?  There are plenty of those as well.  But what about comic books that are based on movies that never were made for whatever reason.  Ahhh, that could be interesting.

Today, I’m going to talk about six undeveloped movie scripts that were turned into comic books.

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Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet – These first two entries are probably the most high profile examples of unused movie scripts becoming a comic book.  In 2004, Smith wrote a screenplay for a new film version of The Green Hornet.  Much like the next script in this list, it was a reboot of the characters and the concept.  Smith even announced that he intended to direct the feature as well.  The project, however, died after the poor box office of Smith’s Jersey Girl.  Dynamite Comics purchased the unused script and had Kevin Smith adapt it into a new Green Hornet comic series.

Kevin Smith's Bionic Man
Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man (2011) – I talked about this series in my Bionic Reviews feature a month or so ago.  Kevin Smith wrote a screenplay for a new Bionic Man movie back in the 90s. It was a reboot of the characters and concept of the Six Million Dollar Man TV series.  It ultimately went unused.  However, after the success of Smith’s Green Hornet title they asked if he had any other unused scripts to adapt.  Smith pulled out the Bionic Man script and Dynamite loved the idea.  They tapped Phil Hester to adapt the screenplay into a 10 issue story arc to launch a new Bionic Man comic series that is still being published to this day.  It has also spawned a Bionic Woman comic series.

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Frank Miller’s Robocop (2003) – During initial production of Robocop 2, there was a first draft script by one of the original Robocop screenwriters, Edward Neumeier. However, due to a writers strike he dropped out. One of the producers contacted Frank Miller to write the script as Miller was still riding the success of his Dark Knight Returns graphic novel. Miller wrote a draft that producers and studio executives labeled “unfilmable” and the studio had the script rewritten into what eventually became Robocop 2, the movie.  In the early 2000s Avatar Press acquired the Robocop comic license and the publisher William Christensen, who owned a copy of Miller’s “lost” original screenplay, contacted Miller about adapting it into a comic story.  Miller was enthusiastic and worked with Steven Grant to adapt his unused screenplay (which included notes for Robocop 3) into a story.  Due to scheduling conflicts, Miller was only able to contribute some of the covers and not actually write or draw the interiors.  The nine issue adaptation was published in late 2003.

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Bionic Review: Dynamite Comics’ The Bionic Man (2011)

Posted in Bionic Man, comic books, movies, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2013 by Paxton

Bionic Review

SMDM Book

Richard Anderson, the man who played Oscar Goldman in The Six Million Dollar Man TV series tried for years to get a Bionic Man movie off the ground.  Many different writers took a stab at a script.  In the mid-90s, Kevin Smith famously wrote a script for a Bionic Man movie that was a reboot of the TV series.  I was very excited about this prospect as, at the time, I was a big fan of Kevin Smith and loved the idea of him re-imagining the Steve Austin universe (of which I was a big fan). Unfortunately, nothing ever happened on that project.  It just disappeared.  Then, in March 2011, Kevin Smith announced that his unproduced script would be re-adapted into a comic book series for Dynamite comics.  The comic’s script would be written by Phil Hester and be based on Smith’s movie script.  The book’s interiors would be drawn by Jonathan Lau, it would have Alex Ross variant covers and the name would be Kevin Smith’s The Bionic Man.  The first issue would be released in August 2011.

Kevin Smith's Bionic Man 1 Kevin Smith's Bionic Man 4

Up to this point I have read the first 14 issues of Dynamite’s The Bionic Man. The first 10 issues contain the story arc that is taken directly from Kevin Smith’s unproduced script.

Essential Plot:  It starts off very similar to the original TV show/novel.  The events have been updated a bit and a few things changed.  We actually start off, not with Steve Austin, but with a break in at a government laboratory.  An unknown assailant kills all the scientists and steals what looks like a bionic arm.  Then we cut to Steve Austin at home.  He’s still a test pilot.  He’s engaged to Jaime Sommers.  Austin is about to retire as a test pilot and marry Jaime.  He just has one more test flight to make.  And what happens is exactly what you expect.  Something goes wrong with the flight, Austin crashes and loses both of his legs, his right arm and his left eye.  In this story he’s good friends with a younger version of Oscar Goldman.  They convince Steve to become a part of their bionics experiment, so the government pronounces him dead and begin the operations to graft on the bionic limbs.  There are several issues devoted to Steve’s recovery and coming to grips with the fact that he’s now part machine.  In issue #7 Jaime returns as Steve unexpectedly finds himself at her house and reveals to her that he’s not, in fact, dead.  In this issue we also discover that the earlier mysterious assailant from issue #1 has ties to Austin and the bionic program, so the rest of the story arc is discovering information about this assailant and Steve going after him to put a stop to his plans.

The next issue after the Smith arc, #11, was a standalone issue.  Steve goes back to his parents’ ranch for some soul searching.  We meet his parents and see that his father is dying.

Issue #12 begins the first new wholly original story arc.  It’s written by Phil Hester and Aaron Gillespie and drawn by Ed Tadeo.  This story introduces the fan favorite bionic Bigfoot from the TV show into the new bionic universe.  Austin discovers some unscrupulous people are attaching bionic parts to Bigfoot creatures so he teams up with one of them to help.

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Bionic Review: Cyborg IV by Martin Caidin (1975)

Posted in Bionic Man, books, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2013 by Paxton

Bionic Review

SMDM Book

Martin Caidin wrote his fourth and final Steve Austin novel in 1975. It was called Cyborg IV.

Cyborg IV Cyborg IV

By this point, Caidin’s character had spun off into the famous Six Million Dollar Man TV show.  However, Caidin continued his novels as if the TV show didn’t exist.  The continuity within the novels did not overlap with the show.  Despite this fact, this particular book was included as #6 in the Six Million Dollar Man book series.  Which is confusing (is it Book #6 or Book #4?).  The Six Million Dollar Man book series were paperback translations of episodes of the TV show in which authors like Mike Jahn and Jay Barbree novelized episodes like Pilot Error, Rescue of Athena One and Solid Gold Kidnapping.  Caidin’s third Cyborg novel, High Crystal, was also confusingly included in this series.  The first two Cyborg books were not included.

For this last novel, Caidin takes the idea of “man working in tandem with machines” to a new level.  Steve is introduced to a new project within the Army in which an advanced fighter jet/spaceship is directly connected to a human pilot so that ship and man are one and the same. This setup requires that the human pilot have interface ports surgically added to his body, but since Steve already has most of that done, Oscar thinks he’s the perfect test pilot for the project.

The idea that Caidin introduces here is pretty cool.  When directly connected to the ship, Steve would “feel” and “see” what happens to that ship as if it were a part of his body.  Instead of having gauges and digital readouts tell him about the telemetry of the ship, it would be fed directly into his body and he’d know it just as he knows that it’s cold outside or that he’s hungry.  It’s a pretty crazy idea and for some reason it immediately made me think of the Clint Eastwood movie Firefox.  And the first time they test Steve and the plane, they have to dial back the connection to 30%, otherwise, Austin may lose all of his individual identity and become “one” with the ship.  The way it’s written in the book is actually pretty cool.

The problem?  Caidin is his own worst enemy.  We spend the first 1/3-2/3 of the book learning about the project and then training Steve on the equipment.  The final action of the book is really just the very first outer space flight test for the plane/cyborg hybrid.  There is a small conflict with the Russians in that they are destroying US spy satellites, but other than that, the book is just training and a few test flights of the new ship.  And the book essentially just ends not giving you any indication about the future of the project or where Steve will go next.

So, again, I’m a little frustrated reading these Caidin Cyborg books because the author has really good ideas but the written execution of the novel is seriously lacking.  And considering the books are short, (< 200pgs) Caidin still manages to drone on WAY too long about the most mundane things.  So while I’d recommend this more than Operation Nuke it’s not as good as High Crystal or the original Cybog novel.

Bionic Review: Wine, Woman and War (1973)

Posted in Bionic Man, movies, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by Paxton

Bionic Review
SMDM Movies

After the original Six Million Dollar Man TV movie, there were two more produced and both of them aired in 1973. The first was called Wine, Women and War and aired on Oct 20, 1973.  Here’s an ad from a 1973 newspaper featuring the TV listing for this movie.  Lee Majors’ picture is on the right, the blub about the movie is in bold in the far left column.

SMDM - Wine Women War

Wine, Women and War doesn’t go directly to the action, it actually has an opening title sequence. And it’s an awesomely 70s opening sequence with an awesomely 70s theme song by Dusty Springfield. Check it out.

“Catch him if you can, feed him if you can, love if you CAAAAAAAAAAAN!  He’s the Six Million Dollar MAAAAAAAN!”  Amazing, isn’t it?

So, right off the bat we see a few things that are new.  Richard Anderson debuts as Oscar Goldman and Alan Oppenheimer debuts as Rudy Wells taking the place of Martin Balsam.  You also notice the absence of Darren McGavin as Oliver Spenser.  This movie was sort of an overhaul of the Six Million Dollar Man as far as the cast goes.  Only Lee majors would remain.  The weekly television series would have been in production at this point as its debut was only months away in Jan 1974.  I assume the player pieces were falling into place.  The story concepts were still being worked out, though, as the story for this movie is essentially, “What if James Bond were bionic?”.  This movie is a complete rip-off of the Bond franchise.  Austin is treated as the debonair super-spy.

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So the story begins with Austin on assignment in Egypt to steal an arms dealer’s catalog. In classic Bond fashion we see Austin pull off his wet suit to reveal a fully dry tux underneath.  Later, during the action, Austin’s female companion is killed. Afterwards Steve is reluctant to go out on another assignment so Oscar arranges for a vacation. However Oscar doesn’t tell Steve that the vacation is actually his next assignment, just manipulated by OSI agents that are following along to look like a vacation. Oscar can be kind of a dick. Although we do get to see Steve mistake a lady who is flirting with him on his plane for a prostitute. That was pretty funny.  And plenty of other Bond-like double entendres ensue throughout the movie.

So Steve discovers Oscar’s ruse and stumbles upon the trail of the previously mentioned arms dealer and Steve goes after him hoping to get revenge for his companion’s death.  Like I said, all very Bond-like.

Honestly, on one level it totally works.  It’s just so absurd and contrary to the Austin we come to know in the TV series that it’s almost fun to watch.

I can recommend this, but honestly, you can’t really watch it as a Six Million Dollar Man movie/episode. It’s a spy movie that just happens to have Steve Austin, the bionic man.

Bionic Reviews: Cyborg #3 – High Crystal by Martin Caidin (1974)

Posted in Bionic Man, books, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by Paxton

Bionic Review

SMDM Book

The third book in Martin Caidin’s Cyborg series starring Steve Austin is Cyborg #3: High Crystal. It was published in hardback in 1974.

High Crystal hardback High Crystal US pb

The story for this book has it’s origins in another popular book from the early 70s called Chariots of the Gods, which I read many years ago. Essentially, Chariots involves an investigation of ancient civilizations that display a certain “technology” they had no way of obtaining.  And the theory of how these early civilizations got that technology was…aliens.  Yes, that book is a little ridiculous.  The situations it investigates are very real, but the theories used to explain the situations are “out there”.  But High Crystal takes the ancient civilization and their access to “high technology” and uses it to form an interesting mystery.  Honestly, based on the fact that this book had it’s roots in Chariots of the Gods and revolved around what seemed to be a “magic energy crystal”, I was not looking forward to reading this book.  It sounded straight up 70s and Bohemian.  Not exactly what I was looking for in a Six Million Dollar Man book.  But due to my current obsession with all things bionic, I read the book anyway.

High Crystal UK pb

The story begins with a spy plane being downed in the mountains of Peru. The one surviving member of the crew discovers a man-made roadway traveling through the mountains where no civilization currently exists, or any civilization has existed in thousands of years.  So, when he returns to his superiors, they are obviously interested in what’s going on.  Steve joins a group of scientists and soldiers on a mission to discover the road and find out where it came from and where it leads.  Along the way they discover that a criminal organization will do anything to keep the discovery to themselves.

I was surprised how much better this book is than Operation Nuke.  There are still some problems with Caidin’s overly descriptive writing, which is odd considering his books are usually sub-200 pages.  But the feel of this book was fun and much more energetic than the last book.  This book’s events had the historical roadtrip feel of something like Matthew Reilly’s 7 Deadly Wonders or even Raiders of the Lost Ark.  And there is lots of bionic action by Steve Austin.  Since they are trudging through the Peruvian jungles, there are plenty of places for Steve to methodically chop through underbrush or stare down a cougar (yes, that actually happened).  And it helped that Steve and his group were being chased by the criminal organization throughout their trip which gives you the “ticking clock” suspense that was lacking in the second book.  Once they discover what is at the end of the road, it isn’t disappointing.  And the group seems to barely escape whatever happens to them.  The book even leaves a sort of “not quite finished” ending you expect from a story like this.  So this was a MUCH better read than the last book and it felt like it could have been a later season episode of the series.  However, unfortunately, this book was not adapted into an episode of the TV series.  There were some elements like the ancient civilizations that made it into the third Six Million Dollar Man TV movie, Solid Gold Kidnapping, but it was just one small element and none of the rest of the story made it.  It’s a shame, this would have been a good episode (or TV movie).

There’s only one more book left in the original Caidin Cyborg novels, Cyborg IV.  I look forward to reading it.  It sounds like it could be amazing.