Aired back in a time when classic sci-fi shows were constantly getting reimagined, Bionic Woman was intended to the perfect reimagining for today's modern audiences, plus it had one of the producers of the revived Battlestar Galactica series helming it in David Eick. However, this series ended up getting swamped with many problems behind the scenes due to low ratings and the 2007-08 Writer's Strike halting the series' production, all of which resulted in the reboot being cancelled and scrapped after only eight episodes (ouch!). But was it really deserved? To be honest, yes.
The main issue this series suffers from the most is that it's all incoherent as hell with the storytelling, writing and characterisation being rather poorly done. There are so many plot strands involving certain characters, it's almost as if the series doesn't quite know how to do all of them justice, and as a result, those plotlines went absolutely nowhere and that only made it more frustrating than it needed to be. Nothing happened at all in the series, with no real plot or character development, although some stuff does happen, yet you would have to have your expectations set so low in order to be surprised and appreciate it. You do have the concept of bionic enhancement here and having an ordinary woman placed in an extraordinary circumstance, yet you never really buy into any of it because none of the characters are interesting or compelling, none of the dialogue is any good, and a lot of the actors involved look like as if they were just phoning it in.
When you compare this to other shows like Battlestar Galactica, or even the short-lived Sarah Conner Chronicles, those sci-fi shows had characters to care about with storylines that were dense and gripping. Both The Six Million Dollar Man and the original Bionic Woman series also featured characters you could sympathise with, whilst having great storytelling, plus they were fun and adventurous, mainly because of the time period they were released. This revamp is much, much darker, almost trying to capture the same tone as both 24 and Alias, but the makers of this show seem to confuse murkiness with darkness, and that makes the show ultimately joyless as a result. Plus, each episode that deals with Jaime's relationship with her kid sister began and ended in the exact same way, which makes it incredibly repetitive and it went nowhere, and those sections almost felt like watching another episode of The Hills. This felt like a soap opera switching back and forth, as it mostly deals with Jaime's dating life, working duties and family problems, which felt completely irrelevant.
As the Bionic Woman herself, Michelle Ryan simply cannot hold the series as she delivers a performance that's ultimately inert to say the least. Having been decent in both 188.8.131.52. and Cockneys vs. Zombies, here she just looks as though she has fallen flat on her face, failing to convince as an action hero, being all pouty and adopting a wonky American accent, but the question of whether this is down to Ryan's performance or the writing and characterisation in general is debatable. The rest of the cast look bored out of their brains with both Miguel Ferrer and Will Yun Lee looking as though they're there to pick up a cheque. The only one who stands out from the crowd is obviously Katee Sackhoff as bad-girl Sarah Corvus, who manages to ride that perfect balance of wickedness and vulnerability. Actually, why couldn't the whole series be about her, as that would have made a far more interesting and compelling series than what's on display here.
Overall, this is a mostly failed attempt at relaunching a much-beloved franchise, being completely joyless, lacking in any real depth, resulting in many contrived and convoluted storylines that go nowhere, and suffers from having a bland leading actress. The action sequences are performed in solid fashion and it's always fun watching Katee Sackhoff, but it's easy to see why this never caught on with audiences. It looks like a project that was pulled in so many different directions, and it ends up being both disappointing and boring as a result. In fact, the short-lived and flawed rebooted V series had more going for it than this did.
BIONIC WOMAN- THE COMPLETE SERIES (2007) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTORS: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: MICHELLE RYAN, MIGUEL FERRER, WILL YUN LEE, KATEE SACKHOFF / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW