That other superwoman named “Sommers” returns to television, a little darker than her 70s incarnation.
The tv-bionics craze made a lot of money in the 1970s, and contemporary executives, hoping that lightning will strike again, have reinvented one of the old bionic shows. After her vehicle is struck by a transport, a brilliant underachiever has her damaged body parts replaced and augmented with…. Well, that’s a good question. These aren’t conventional cybernetics.
Sackoff shines as the evil bionic woman, Faith to Ryan’s Buffy, and the episode uses their doppelganger relationship to explain Jamie’s decision at the conclusion. There’s actually some hope for characterization.
It’s not very interesting, it’s definitely not original, and the pilot appears to have been edited by someone with A.D.D. It lurches and jumps choppily from one scene to another.
I recognize they’re leaving the role and character of Jamie’s sister to be developed further in future episodes, but they needed to have some reason for her sporadic presence in this one.
Originality: 1/6 It’s not enough that someone is revisiting an old show. It’s not enough that, for the umpty-hundredth time, someone is taking a squeaky-clean peachy-keen hero from the past and making her darker. No, the pilot also steals from every pop-heroic fantasy of the past few decades, from Superman to Buffy and Dark Angel.1
Story: 3/6. It’s not so much bad as it is dull and predicable, and they’ve also riddled the first act with wooden expository dialogue.
Acting: 4/6. The guest-star gives the strongest performance. The others are passable.
Emotional Response: 3/6.
Overall: 3/6. The original was cheesy, but it had simplicity and purity of premise. Jaimie Sommers had mechanical replacement parts that gave her superpowers. She worked for a shadowy but noble secret agency. In this version, Jamie Sommers has poorly-defined and wildly advanced technology implanted in her and works for a truly shady agency. In order to pull this version off, they need exceptional scripting and acting. The pilot does not leave me hopeful.
In total, the pilot of The Bionic Woman receives 23/42
1. The Superman sequence, granted, could be viewed as homage.