I have to admit it: I was actually looking forward to NBC’s Bionic Woman.
Not that the original series was any good, but I figured if a network went through the trouble of reviving a semi-iconic show, they would probably take more than ten minutes to put something cool together. I wasn’t looking for something edgy or original here. This is network TV, after all. I expected a fair share of cliches and bad special effects and cheesy plot lines. I did. But I hoped to be pleasantly surprised, nevertheless. I knew the odds were pretty slim, but I figured it couldn’t be all that bad. I mean… NBC can afford to pay some pretty clever writers. They do sometimes come up with pretty cool shows (like Heroes and Lost). It wouldn’t take much more than a couple of hours for a creative team with a penchant for superhero plots to hash out something kind of different for this show. Something worth watching. Maybe something sort of fresh, even.
I had no idea it could actually be this bad. Frankly, I am surprised that piece of crap got green-lighted by any network. I am embarrassed for NBC and everyone attached to this project.
I feel especially bad for the actors who got suckered into being a part of such a sorry excuse for noise between commercial breaks. I think that static would have been more satisfying. Or just a solid hour of advertising. Why the hell not? At this point, if this is the best a TV network can do with even such an easy concept for a TV show, then perhaps it’s time for them to clean house and start from scratch.
I can’t help but wonder if NBC actually has real live people working on show development anymore. (I suspect that NBC now uses computerized plot generators to develop scripts for new TV shows.) What I still can’t wrap my mind around, however, is how the networks manage to hire executive producers and directors who stay true to their scripts’ complete lack of substance or sense.
It’s embarrassing. Really.
Maybe NBC uses robots to direct these single-serving shows? Maybe?
(You know she’s the villain because she smokes.
And dresses in black.
And wears provocative makeup.
And has euro hair.
And dishes out cool one-liners – sort of.)
(You know this is a good show because it uses rain
to create dramatic moods for fight scenes and intense dialogue.)
Seriously. This show’s entire script (including every single line of “dialogue”) must have been put to paper in less than ten minutes either by someone with severe ADHD, a sub-80 IQ, or both. Worse yet, a gaggle of NBC execs actually signed off on it, even after watching this pilot.
Because I hate to let an hour of TV viewing completely go to waste, let me share with you these 30 random things I learned during my memorable first (and last) hour of Bionic Woman:
1) When you’re a bionic woman, smoking isn’t bad for you because your lungs heal really fast.
2) Bad guys dress better and act cooler than good guys. They also have cool evil names like Corvus.
3) Adding rain to a scene is one of a director’s subtle tools to clue you in on the fact that either the action or the dialogue are about to get intense and meaningful.
4) You can walk away from getting T-boned by a speeding 18-wheeler, getting thrown fifty feet into the air and getting taco-ed into a lamp post, and then perform super-top-secret limb-reattachment sci-fi surgery within hours.
5) Despite #4, getting shoved three feet backwards into a door will cause you to fracture your wrist.
6) Every super top secret government lab has cool furniture, insanely badass mood lighting, and really cool automatic sliding doors.
7) You can actually maintain 55mph on a muddy singletrack for fifty plus miles wearing 3″ heels.
8) Despite having been in a horrific car accident in which you lost 3 out of 4 limbs and almost bled out, your clothes aren’t even wrinkled or stained and can be used at your leisure when escaping from a super top secret underground facility.
9) Super top secret underground facilities come standard with extensive and unmonitored tunnel systems which can be used to escape.
10) The first thing you would do upon realizing that you have bionic legs is jump from rooftop to rooftop (preferably the ones that are 200ft apart instead of the ones just 20ft apart)… because you saw Peter Parker do it and thought it looked cool. (Bonus: You won’t break your heels doing that either.)
11) When you are the boss of the henchmen and all twenty of your henchmen are standing right behind you, the proper procedure to tell them to stand down is to tell them through your walkie-talkie.
12) The bad guy is the one with the foreign accent, the cool clothes, and the sharpie in his pocket (so he can leave goodbye notes on motel room walls).
13) Hanging a laptop out of your window to hide it from your idiot older sister is a sign that you are a delinquent yet resourceful character who may come in handy in later episodes.
14) As always, one of the central characters has daddy issues, so that season 2 (god forbid) can focus on yet another legacy/conspiracy plot.
15) Bad guys would rather monologue, drop lame one-liners, or light cigarettes than kill the good guys when they get the chance.
16) Screaming really loud is a sign that you, as an actor, are pretending to be upset or scared or angry about something.
17) The college professor you are dating may actually be a top secret government-sponsored biocyberneticist (and neurosurgeon) who will turn you into a hyperkinetic cyborg if the opportunity presents itself.
18) The appropriate reaction to learning that you are now super fast, super strong, and relatively invincible is… anger: “WHY did you do this to me????!!!”
19) The appropriate reaction to finding out that the alternative to #18 would have been either death or being a disfigured one-armed, half blind, legless cripple is… anger: “WHY did you do this to me????!!!”
20) The appropriate reaction to finding out that you don’t have enough material for a full hour show is to add a pointless love scene to the script… or more rain. Or a pointless love scene with rain falling somewhere in the shot.
21) Highly trained assassins with bionic eyes, advanced cybernetic targeting systems and state of the art sniper rifles can only manage shoulder shots.
22) Asian actors are visually ambiguous to American audiences, so the characters they play could be either good or bad. We’ll just have to wait and see.
23) Miguel Ferrer plays the same character in every TV show, which is usually not a bad thing, except in this case.
24) The Federal government has become so efficient at providing medical care to pregnant wounded bartenders since the Hurricane Katrina “incident” that getting turned into a cybernetic superhero is now merely an outpatient procedure.
25) Character development on NBC dramas essentially consists of picking a cool song to go with the final two minute scene of a series premiere to make up for an inexistent script.
26) TV show characters change clothes and hair styles four of five times per day.
27) Muggers in NBC’s contemporary American cities are 40-something white guys with switchblades hanging out in back-alleys, just waiting to get their asses kicked.
28) The decision to pick Michelle Ryan for the title role came from a need to make the bionic woman just a little bit pretty so she would seem “believable.”
29) The decision to pick Lucy Hale to play Becca Sommers (the bionic woman’s younger sister) might have had something to do with attracting a younger demographic (anyone watching Drake & Josh or the O.C.), which is just beyond lame considering the vehicle.
30) TV characters just love to hang out and have long meaningful conversations in pouring rain.
Would it really have been so hard to come up with something decent? Not even great, but just… decent?
Shame on you, NBC. I don’t think you’re even trying anymore.
PS: Can you believe that ER is still on?
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