Archive for Bionic Review

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.

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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.

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

Posted in pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2013 by Paxton

Bionic Review

SMDM Book

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.