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The Bionic Woman: Season 1


None October 14th, 2010

Until that long-awaited "Six Million Dollar Man" megaset hits streets and shelves later this Thanksgiving, fans will have to make do with "The Bionic Woman: Season 1." That's not a problem.

For one thing, the 1976 spin-off gets a four-disc set, the first of which is comprised of five "SM$M" episodes on which Jamie Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) appeared, including her two-part origin. She's a former flame of bionic man Steve Austin (Lee Majors) "” the one who got away, pretty much.

While vacationing on the family farm, where bionic skills come in crazy-handy, Steve is reunited with the girl-next-door tennis pro. They hang out a lot and their prospects for romance look up until they go parachuting. She crashes, and Steve persuades his OSI agency to rebuild her, just as they rebuilt him. The result: one bionic ear, one bionic arm and two bionic legs "” and what legs they are! Cue the bionic sound effect! (Don't even pretend like you don't know which one.)

It's like a match made in heaven, or at least the lab. With her life "” not to mention quality of "” saved, Jamie is happy until she starts having a hard time adjusting, breaking down in fits and losing much of her memory. That gets fixed, too, of course, which then launched Jamie into her own show; the first 13 episodes comprise the other three discs. See ya later, Steve!

Trading the tennis court for the school room, Jamie teaches grade school, but must have an excellent substitute list, because she's gone quite a bit to take on OSI missions, including to other, war-torn countries. Others are far less dangerous, such as going undercover at a beauty pageant emceed by none other than Bert Parks, or dune-buggying in a 90-mph race across the desert.

Even if Jamie's bionic scenes sometimes amount to housecleaning, the series remains great fun. Some of that is due to simply the commitment Wagner gives the character, or the superheroic situations into which she's plopped week after week. And, yes, some of it is due to its dated look, starting with the opening credits, which carry a melodramatic whiff of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull."

Features include a short gag reel, comprised mostly of Wagner sticking out her tongue and/or cursing as she flubs lines, and nearly a half-hour documentary about the making of the show that includes new interviews with its stars and behind-the-camera talent. Wagner still looks great; Robbie Rist (aka Oliver on "The Brady Bunch"), however ... well, let's just say he's rockin' it. "”Rod Lott

 
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