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TV Catch-Up: Bionic Woman

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I don’t understand the way ITV thinks: it puts Dexter on ITV1 (albeit late at night) but puts Entourage and The Office: An American Workplace. It’s a shame that they were able to purchase them in the first place – they are not the usual programmes that people who watch ITV want to see.

And now we have the updating of The Bionic Woman, handily now called Bionic Woman, another show that feels out of place on ITV2 (even though the pilot got the best ratings for the channel yet). Coming from one half (David Eick) of the folk responsible for Battlestar Galactica, possibly the greatest updating of a television programme ever, this was a show with some expectation. Which probably makes the disappointment all the sharper.

Michelle Ryan is Jamie Sommers, a bartender who is saved from death by receiving bionic implants in her legs, her right arm, her right eye and her right ear (all because her boyfriend is the man in charge of the procedure, and son of the man who created them). The first person who comes after her is the first bionic woman, Sarah Corvus (played with gleeful over-the-topness by Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck, Katie Sackhoff: when she says the line ‘I’m Sarah Corvus. The first bionic woman. Ta-da’, you’d think it was pantomime).

In fact, this seems to be a pension show for Battlestar Galactica alumni: Aaron Douglas (who plays Chief) is a prison guard; Mark Sheppard (who played Gaius’ lawyer) is the original bionic pioneer.

The show doesn’t feel right. Ryan is fairly anaemic in the lead role, especially compared with the more interesting Sackhoff. She also has to put up with the annoying whining teenage sister she is looking after (which is the reason for her dropping out of college, allowing the character to be intelligent). The dialogue doesn’t help – when Miguel Ferrer (the big boss in the organisation that runs the bionics programme) says at the end, ‘Welcome to the game’, you feel sorry for him. Finally, the action itself is nothing special – seeing as this is the primary draw of the show, it needs to look good; no, it needs to look spectacular, and this doesn’t. Television shows don’t have the budget, which is why you can only have the one bionic fight an episode, and this doesn’t cut it (they try to hide it with lots of quick cuts and pouring rain, but it doesn’t work). there might be an interesting programme in Bionic Woman, but this isn’t it.

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