Review: The Six Million Dollar Man - The Complete Collection (PG) / Director: Various / Teleplay: Various / Starring: Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks, Lindsay Wagner, Farrah Fawcett-Majors / Release Date: March 26th
“We can rebuild him, we have the technology……”
The '70s seemed to herald in a new era of essential television that continued into the '80s, and occasionally still endures today. One of the first of these shows was The Six Million Dollar Man, which starred Lee Majors in a programme that championed cyborgs long before Hollywood took notice with The Terminator and Robocop a decade later. Based on the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, the series followed the adventures of Steve Austin who is rebuilt after a horrific crash on a test flight. He becomes an agent of a federal organisation, commissioned to undertake dangerous missions that a normal agent couldn’t be expected to complete. After the operation to replace his right arm, his legs and his left eye with bionic parts is a success, Austin finds that he has inordinate strengths and abilities – imagine Bond crossed with the Hulk and you’re pretty much there. He becomes a reluctant weapon for the government and so his adventures begin. The episodes varied in scenarios, covering everything from arms dealers and earthquakes to characters with ESP and aliens! Compared to this, series like The A-Team were one trick ponies.
If there is one word that sums up this set, it is 'comprehensive'. 40 discs provide hours of quality entertainment that encompasses all ninety-nine episodes of the five series as well as all three of the pilot movies and all three of the reunion films. In addition, all crossover episodes of The Bionic Woman are available to view; seventeen exclusive featurettes; audio commentaries; UK exclusive art galleries; UK exclusive episode guide booklets and new interviews with both Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner (the Bionic Woman).
For a television series that begun nearly forty years ago, the DVD transfers on offer here are nothing short of magnificently crisp and vibrant, and regardless of the fact that science fact has come a long way in the years since the original syndication, the majority of stories still stand up quite well and impressively so considering that the budgets can’t have been that large at the time and the special effects are all practical, created long before CGI came along. The list of guest stars that you’ll recognise from their later careers is astounding and just like the swooshing sound that is synonymous with KITT from Knight Rider, you’ll always remember the springy bionic sound that went along with Austin’s actions.
Sure, the music now sounds as cheesy as hell and some of the dialogue could be spread on crackers, but this is an amazing boxset that does the series full justice. The only way it could be better is if it came with a Steve Austin action figure. This is a lavish celebration of when television wasn’t just good, it was great. If you can afford it, then this set comes highly recommended. Simply stunning!