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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Maybe Some Bionic Writers?

I watched Bionic Woman tonight… and I have to say… zzzzzzz…
And not the way something like Desperate Housewives just isn’t my taste. This show is trying so hard to be yet another version of Heroes that it is little more than a bunch of mediocre action and tough talk. What makes Heroes work (at least in the first season) was the sense of mystery. You liked the characters and you wanted to know how it all came together. And about half way through the season, it was, like, “Get On With It!” And they did.
This one has the Matrix sequel problem… in the pilot there is already no where to go… the woman gets bionic and already knows how to use all the tools. And so the drama? Bad on one shoulder and Worse on the other?
This show may be the biggest hit out of the box to crash and burn by season’s end.

49 Responses to “Maybe Some Bionic Writers?”

  1. Noah says:

    I couldn’t even get through the first episode. I didn’t find the actress who plays the Bionic Woman to be very charismatic. She seemed kind of dull. In fact, most of the characters were pretty dull. I won’t be tuning in next week.
    Of the new shows, it looks like Chuck, Reaper, Pushing Daisies and Aliens in America are the most promising. I really liked all of those. Dirty Sexy Money had a fun pilot too, but it could go either way. Dexter is coming back Sunday, woo hoo!

  2. sloanish says:

    I felt the same. I think the outright thefts should also be acknowledged. In the space of a few minutes, they do Superman (kid looking out the window at a human running at super-speed), the Spider-man building jump (carbon copy), and the Cliffhanger trailer shot of her flying through the sky from below. The thing has been in development for five years, how could this be the final product?

  3. jeffmcm says:

    I think you just answered your own question.
    Are people actually enjoying Chuck? It seems kind of lamebrained to me. The NBC show I’m rooting for is Life.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    That’s not true – the NBC show I’m _really_ rooting for is Friday Night Lights.

  5. There was an amazing show on about five years ago called Now & Again. It was amazing and amazing. Nobody watched it and it was axed after one year with a frustrating (yet amazing) cliffhanger.
    If they could resurrect that instead of Bionic Woman that’d be great, thanks.

  6. There was an amazing show on about five years ago called Now & Again. It was amazing and amazing. Nobody watched it and it was axed after one year with a frustrating (yet kind of amazing) cliffhanger.
    If they could resurrect that instead of Bionic Woman that’d be great, thanks. They were very similar. But this one Eric Close, Dennis Haysbert, Heather Matarazzo and Margaret Colin instead or… whoever they cast in Bionic Woman.
    (whoa, that show was actually 8 years ago)

  7. ugh. Sorry. I didn’t think it posted so I added more. Stupid typepad.

  8. Me says:

    I’m really hoping Friday Night Lights does well, too. I have the pilot of Life taped (yes, there are still people out there with VCRs), but haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. That’s the only new show I’ve taken an interest in thus far.

  9. Krazy Eyes says:

    I really enjoyed the 1st episode of Journeyman and long as it doesn’t turn into Touched by an Angel with time travel I think it’s got possibilities.

  10. waterbucket says:

    Uh…why isn’t everyone discussing the brilliant new show that is called Gossip Girl? Must I banish all of you from the social scenes of the Upper East Side? Huh? Huh?

  11. Ian Sinclair says:

    I think any show with women as lovely as Michelle Ryan and Katee Sackhoff is well worth watching again, but I appear to be the only straight in this village.

  12. Poland, you are absolutely right. If I hadn’t planned on reviewing it I would have turned out 15 minutes in. It was absolutely awful and I only think it got big ratings due to all the buzz and promotion.
    I was pleasantly surprised by “Journeyman”‘s quality, so how someone could have approved both these shows when one was so well done and the other so awful is beyond me.
    If the quality doesn’t improve I think they ratings are going to drop like a rock.
    Vic

  13. Rob says:

    “This show may be the biggest hit out of the box to crash and burn by season’s end.”
    What does that make Private Practice?

  14. Ogami Itto says:

    “Dirty Sexy Money had a fun pilot too, but it could go either way. Dexter is coming back Sunday, woo hoo!”
    I really enjoyed the first two second season episodes of Dexter, episode 2 in particular. Can’t wait for episode 3.

  15. IOIOIOI says:

    Movie people discussing TV… dizzzzzzzzzzgusting. Seriously; if you knew as much about freakin TV as the dang-blasted OSCAR SEASON. You would know that this show has new consultants and executive producers, that will pretty much change the entire tone of the show. If you paid attention to HEROES last year. You may have noticed that — that show did not find it’s way until Future Hiro emerged. It’s the same deal with the Bionic Woman. Give it time, it will find it’s way, and become another quality genre show.
    That aside; Chuck is pretty damn awesome Jeff. If it’s not your thing. Well, I am sure that you can call up Josh Schwartz, and ask him to torture the female lead for you. That might make you happy.
    Nevertheless; almost every show that I have watched this season, has a strong sense of “WAIT AND SEE” to it. Most of these shows — especially tonight’s MOONLIGHT (GIVE JASON DOHRING YOUR TIME PEOPLE!) — have had several changes from the pilot stage to where they are now shooting maybe episodes 8 or 9. So give them time before MR. OSCAR SEASON gives the bad mouth to a GENRE show. Because… when I think GENRE… I THINK MIAMI HEAT. Please.

  16. anghus says:

    the shows this season have been pretty bad.
    I agree with David on Bionic Woman. There were a few episodes of story in one episode. But i think that’s a reflection on the networks policies of yanking shows after a couple of episodes. If you don’t get them fast, you’re off the air.
    Chuck and Reaper both had moments, but im noticing all this ‘slacker as the protagonist’ stories with a premise that just won’t hold up.
    Private Practice was so bad that i laughed through the whole episode. I have never seen so many awful cliches thrown into a single hour of television. They took a great actress from a good show and tried to turn her into Ally McBeal.
    Awful, awful, awful.
    Still have a bunch of shows to watch on my DVR.

  17. IOIOIOI says:

    Private Practice most likely appealled to it’s audience. Also… as an Addison fan… it was good to have her be the focus of a show instead of having to take a backseat to characters who were not as interesting. Paul Adelstein also got to be funny and charming amid a rather weird C-storyline. Which counts for something in my book. Nevertheless; Marti Noxon will fix this show. It’s her show now and Shonda will not be butting in. So expect great BUFFY-esque dialogue in the weeks to come.
    That aside; SLACKER as PROTAGONIST? Sam was not a slacker. He was simply not motivated. While Chuck gave up after losing a chick to some super-guy. Neither are slackers. They are both guys looking for direction. Direction they have found in rather odd ways.

  18. lazarus says:

    Did DP just say that there was a problem with the Matrix sequels?
    It’s about time.

  19. IOIOIOI says:

    Yeah it’s about time Heat propagated more bullshit about the most misunderstood trilogy of the 21st century. Yay.

  20. Noah says:

    Waterbucket said it, so now I’m not afraid to anymore: Gossip Girl might be the greatest guilty pleasure show on the air right now. Plus, Veronica Mars is the narrator!

  21. Mr. Bond says:

    I was a big fan of the Bionic Woman in the late 70s. I really love Lindsay Wagner at that time. I was expecting a better show, and so was disappointed to watch the first episode.

  22. hendhogan says:

    i’m willing to give “bionic woman” some leeway. they may have tinkered this show to death, but jury is still out. i’m also willing to give michelle some more time. i liked her work on “jekyll”
    saw “chuck” yesterday and enjoyed the hell out of it. “reaper” is similar, but ray wise makes the show. other characters are weak.
    not a “grey’s anatomy” fan, so skipped “private practice.”
    i already saw the pilot for “dirty sexy money” and liked it. but i think the audience stayed away in droves. “life” surprised me. hope that sticks around.
    IO, i am checking out “moonlight” solely because of jason. liked his “veronica mars” stuff. but alex hasn’t impressed me as leading man, in either the pilot or “the shield” last season.
    haven’t seen “journeyman” yet, but have it recorded. liked script when i read it.

  23. Devin Faraci says:

    HEROES ‘works’? Come now.

  24. IOIOIOI says:

    Devin; fuck you and your HEROES hatred :). Hogan; now I know three people who are watching Moonlight. That’s something!

  25. HEROES was a lackadaisical premiere which is forgivable in most cases. But when you spend pretty much the entire offseason saying this is the new phenom show, you should really charge hard out of the gate. Sure, it answered a few questions and raised more…but not a good first episode.
    REAPER was pretty good…I think, if given a chance, it’ll find it’s feet and be the new Buffy.
    THE OFFICE was awesome last night.
    Is anyone watching K STREET?? Man, I really wanted to see that and then completely forgot it was on.
    So far this season of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM has been the best one in a few years.

  26. David Poland says:

    1. I’ve always said that the problem The Wachoswkis faved with sequeling The Matrix (remember, the original notion was a pre-quel and then the sequel) was that once Neo was Superman, it was very hard to challenge him as a character. As in all Superman sequels, the Wachowskis chose to find ways to take away the super powers or to endanger large numbers of people to devalue the singular power.
    2. Heroes may have improved for you and others when Future Hiro showed up, IO, but people connected with it from the first epiosde. Very few shows get a bad audience reaction and then successfully rejigger mid-first-season to comeback. Maybe BW will have a strong enough hold that Miquel Ferrar talking in riddles in the rain won’t send them all to Kid Nation, never to see how BW was fixed. For me, the sin is that it looks like it is chasing the current action cliche for TV, not trying something new. (Ironically, the sweetness of the original BW would be fresh about now.) We’ll see.
    3. My general sense is that we have turned a corner to one season shows with one season ideas – thanks, DVD – and that the next great phenom will be the “double album” and then the “triple album,” aka a show that demands 3 years of attention to get to the end.
    Perhaps it will have to be HBO, but some show runner will eventually find the focus to say, “This show run 60 (or 45) hours… and never any more…” David Chase did stop. But it was not a designed 60 episode arc.
    Of course, the danger has always been that it wouldn’t work in the first year. But again, DVD has become a way to support the deficit financing terror if you HAVE to stop short.

  27. Cadavra says:

    HEROES has become even more annoying and irritating than last year. I’ll stick with it through the Kristen Bell arc, then I’m gone.
    REAPER was amusing, but let’s see how it holds up when it’s not directed by Kevin Smith. BACK TO YOU is a nice throwback to the three-camera sitcom, but right now the cast is better than the material.
    And as for CANE: “Sugar is the new oil.”

  28. Armin Tamzarian says:

    whoa, they’re bringing K Street back, Petaluma? I really dug that show…

  29. hendhogan says:

    he means “k-ville.” i saw the pilot and was unimpressed.
    missed “cane,” but am going to see the re-run this saturday.
    on a separate note, what’s up with all this cross promoting at the bottom of the screen this year? i’m watching this show, stop cluttering up the screen with crap about another one. it’s one of the reasons i watch shows on my computer. all that is gone

  30. CRAP!! K “ville,” not street. My bad.

  31. IOIOIOI says:

    Heat stated this; “1. I’ve always said that the problem The Wachoswkis faved with sequeling The Matrix (remember, the original notion was a pre-quel and then the sequel) was that once Neo was Superman, it was very hard to challenge him as a character. As in all Superman sequels, the Wachowskis chose to find ways to take away the super powers or to endanger large numbers of people to devalue the singular power.” Heat; he chose to fight. Neo did not have to fight, but he decided to fight for humanity. Excuse me for thinking that your arguments — and the arguments of reknown Superman haters like Devin Farci — come off a bit… trite.
    Heat also stated; “3. My general sense is that we have turned a corner to one season shows with one season ideas – thanks, DVD – and that the next great phenom will be the ‘double album’ and then the ‘triple album,’ aka a show that demands 3 years of attention to get to the end.” Was someone too busy with his screens to watch Buffy? Angel? Battlestar Galactica? The X-files? Millenium? Alias? The West-Wing? Do I have to go on? Most shows these days demand some sort of knowledge of the past even shows like The Closer or CSI. Also… let us not forget that we live in a world where Lucas will be producing 100 episodes of the Star Wars TV series right off the bat, and Tyler Perry’s sitcom on TBS received a 100 episode order. So we are already up to that point, Heat. Yet… please do not be surprised if the show that DESTROYED the competition Wednesday, receives a pick-up for the entire season by some time in October.
    Finally, Hogan, that’s how they roll these days. We apparently need to know a show is coming up next as though we did not have an On-screen guide or a TV guide of some sort.

  32. David Poland says:

    IO… catch up… not a Matrix sequel basher… my comment is not an argument against the films or Superman… it is the nature of dealing with that kind of drama… Superman has had no problem remaining compelling in the books. But in movies, where things are more literal and where it is hard to raise the bar on muscle, it is a tougher challenge.
    And no, we are not at “that point,” IO. Star Wars is pre-sold (for better or worse) and who do you think is paying for the show? And Tyler Perry is a niche phenom and you can be sure that if the show goes bad (quality more than ratings, as they are counted differently in a cable universe), it won’t see episode 30.
    Battlestar Galactica is the only one of the shows you listed that really does have a big arc. And they have fought for their renewals. The rest have all adjusted on the fly… even X-Files.

  33. hendhogan says:

    i understand the thought process, but i think it’s flawed. it just chases (those with capability) to use a different medium to get the shows they want. how the studios can say online broadcast of shows is promotional is beyond me. for this and other reasons, i watch some shows exclusively online.
    d-po, not sure where your coming from with your theory on television. the only concept that comes to mind as one and done was “prison break,” which quite clearly i was wrong about. and if you talked to the prods during year one, they would have spilled out their three year arc for the show. what shows are you considering one and done?

  34. IOIOIOI says:

    Heat; nice clarification. Also; GG had some pretty long thought out ARCS. So did most of the shows that I listed. Please go watch the West Wing in order, then tell me it did not have an overwhelming arc. I was shocked that the West Wing did have these continuing threads from almost the first episode. So… sorry Heat… but you are off the target on your surmation about “THE SHOW BEING ON THE FLY.” BSG is not even that thought out. The 5 cyclon thing sort of sprang out of RDM head two years ago.
    That aside; this is TBS Heat. They can let the show run for a hundred episodes. Hell… that MY BOYS show is going to have a fourth freakin season. A network like TBS has nothing but time with a phenom of the African-American community. Please stop propagating the rumour that Tyler Perry — of all people — is niche. He’s pretty much bordering on being mainsteam. Back to the point; a major network will have to figure out if it wants to allocate the time to the biggest show of 2009.
    Also… there no concepts on TV that are one and done. Prison Break could have been over after season one, but it would not have lived up to it’s title. 24 could have been one and done, but Jack’s story had a lot more to be told. There’s never a point in killing well loved TV characters on shows that click with the public. Unless you cancel them and they become a movie that sells well enough to have a 2 disc special edition!

  35. jeffmcm says:

    Chuck annoys me because it’s chasing that ‘look, he’s a geek! but he hangs out with karate-chopping supermodels, isn’t that crazy!” demographic a little too desperately. Also, the comedy strikes me as more than a little lame, for example the scene where he and his buddy find the ninja stealing his computer and wackiness ensues ending with two straight men lying with their faces in each others’ crotches. Hilarious!
    I see we’ll have to wait a few more years before DP addresses the severe story problems of Matrix Revolutions.

  36. hendhogan says:

    i don’t think the tyler perry show fits. not because he isn’t mainstream, but because the whole thing is done very unconventionally. he shoots an episode a day, like a soap. he shoots in north carolina. and because it’s tbs.
    also, “my boys” is entering third season, not forth. but even they only do twelve or so a season.
    no show is looking to be one and done. the economics doesn’t fit. a show doesn’t really become profitable until year three.
    a look at last year’s shows:
    “the nine” which wanted to go longer, but was never given the chance.
    “6 degrees” – ditto, but open ended concept
    “brothers & sisters” – still going and with not limiting concept
    “heroes” – kring has an elaborately planned out series of arcs
    “daybreak” – the closest to one and done. don’t know how that concept could have kept going.
    “studio 60″ – really one episode and done, but we got a season out of it.
    “kidnapped” – another one and done possibility, but you could clearly have another kidnapping in subsequent years.
    “vanished” – never saw
    “jericho” – another intricately planned out backstory/mystery there.

  37. Hallick says:

    “What makes Heroes work (at least in the first season) was the sense of mystery. You liked the characters and you wanted to know how it all came together. And about half way through the season, it was, like, ‘Get On With It!’ And they did.”
    I don’t think that was really the case. The first season of “Heroes” actually had smaller arcs and stand alone episodes within the season that kept it from being a 23 episode trudge to the finale – e.g, Peter Petrelli arriving at the Homecoming Night, and the siege at Claire’s house which I thought was the real emotional climax of the year because it summed up her relationship with her adoptive father much better than Chapter 23 summed up the Sylar/Petrelli showdown.
    As far as “Bionic Woman” goes, I don’t disagree that the bionic woman herself is the least interesting element of the show, but I feel bad for Michelle Ryan because she’s getting beat up pretty good already for being rather drab; and the BSG fans are going at her double-hard thanks to the presence of Katie Sackhof (even though Sackhoff over-acts with her Terminatrix as much as she gets it right). Calling the show a “Heroes” wannabe isn’t right. NBC may want that, but I felt something different from the pilot itself. There were actually moments when it felt a little like Paul Haggis’ “EZ Streets”. It’ll be interesting to see the struggle between delivering the thrills NBC wants for its promos and the darker and more intense thing I think the showrunners are after.

  38. storymark says:

    On the subject of the pre-planned series-long arcs: I guess no one here ever saw Babylon 5? They did that routine a decade ago. Yes, chages had to be made along the way to deal with unforseen circumstances (which would happen with any show over that length of time), but they stayed pretty close to the 5-year arc that was planned from the start.

  39. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff; his name is JOSH SCHWARTZ. You might know him as the creator/exec-pro/writer for the OC. Much of the humour on CHUCK is incredibly similar to that of the OC. Also, do you watch much TV? If you did. You would get why Chuck being placed with Sarah, is very much in league with a plot point stated at the beginning of the pilot.
    Nevertheless; I love B5. The show easily has one of the better series finales… ever. Of course it was changed from a series finale to a season finale after TNT picked the show up for another season, but there’s no need to get technical about it. Like hogan… who missed the thing about MY BOYS getting a FOURTH season.

  40. David Poland says:

    Yes, Story… that is a 100% good call… they were very clear about that plan from the start.
    And IO too. It has happened. My thing is, I think we have made a huge leap in how they consider series in the last couple of years. It’s actually a lot more like the Brit model, but at American production prices.
    It wasn’t long ago that you needed 100 to syndicate. Sitcoms began to break that on TBS and places like that. And then when hourlongs returned to some power, syndication for hours became a problem, even as L&O became the killer ap for cable. Studios syndicated to their own new cable nets both to serve their needs and because syndication money for hours went away. Lawsuits. Crisis. Then DVD. And 24 ended up redefining the whole game.
    Firefly may not get a new season direct-to-dvd… but we are getting closer to that.
    On the other hand, studios and nets are less willing to spend on pilots than they were, which is a downside. But they will buy full seasons, knowing they have the DVD potential, even if the show flops.
    Anyway… I think it is an interesting discussion and I appreciate the info being offered up. I haven’t been steeped in TV biz in years, but it’s all connected these days.

  41. hendhogan says:

    maybe we’re talking at cross purposes here. “my boys” has had two seasons so far. the third is coming up, but they haven’t shot anything for it yet. now, maybe, it’s been picked up for a fourth as well, but as any “farscape” fan will tell you, the pickup isn’t necessarily worth it’s salt til you see the show.

  42. jeffmcm says:

    IOI: Yes, I know who Josh Schwarz is, and no, I never watched a single episode of The OC. Not my cup of tea.
    I wasn’t complaining about the relationship between the characters. I was complaining about the forced comedy and pandering.

  43. LexG says:

    a) Why is the Bionic Woman so droppy and sleepy? MYSTIFIED by the casting of Michelle Ryan. She’s kind of thick and lantern-jawed, with very little charisma and doesn’t even seem to have a particularly athletic or appealing body. So across the board just at a loss as to how they chose her, of all people, to front a cat-suited hot chick superhero show.
    b) “Chuck” takes place in a typically whitewashed L.A., a la NBC’s “Boomtown.” I know many of you guys, not to mention television writers, live on the Westside and tend to roll exclusively in Brentwood, BH and Century City, but trust me, Valley/Burbank big box electronics stores and Costcos (as depicted in Chuck’s pilot) would not be staffed by exclusively Caucasian hipsters and shopped at by a predominently white clientele. Every single character, extra, or under-5 on Chuck who ISN’T Chuck should be played by a Filipino, Armenian, or Latino actor.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think Chuck really takes place in LA, it takes place in “Anycity USA”.

  45. hendhogan says:

    that reminds me, i recognized the apartment complex where the sister lives. it’s right across the street from paramount’s southwest corner. the first right after the light, but the liquor store. i friend of mine lived there a long time ago.
    second of all, i watched on the computer and target was the sponsor of the show. how ironic was that?

  46. doug r says:

    Got to say, the Bionic Woman pilot was very meh.
    I am geeked out about new episodes of Futurama on Comedy Central in 2008.

  47. IOIOIOI says:

    JEFF MAC stated; “I was complaining about the forced comedy and pandering.” Jeff; that’s Schwartz way to do comedy. You either roll with it… or you miss out on the brilliance of COHEN! Nevertheless; if this bugs you now. I do not see you and Chuck having a bright future. Nevertheless Heat; it’s always good to have a TV discussion with movie people. You are also right on with the DVD revenues except with the price points. The networks would make a lot more money — especially on cancelled shows — if they lowered the price to 20 bucks. Yet; they love that 40 price tag and this is why Itunes and NBCU got in a snit earlier this month.

  48. RDP says:

    “d-po, not sure where your coming from with your theory on television. the only concept that comes to mind as one and done was “prison break,” which quite clearly i was wrong about. and if you talked to the prods during year one, they would have spilled out their three year arc for the show.”
    I recall them talking about having a two-year arc for the show when asked during the early part of Season 1.
    I guess they could’ve meant two more years.

  49. James Leer says:

    LexG, while I totally agree that ensemble big-city TV is ridiculously whitewashed, Chuck’s coworker (a regular on the show) is played by the Latino Joshua Gomez.
    Also, since when are they spending less on pilots than they used to? The pilots shot over the last four years are the most expensive they’ve ever been.

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