Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pilot Review: Bionic Woman

Bionic Woman (NBC)
Premiered September 26 at 9pm

This show, like NBC’s other new sci-fi offering “Journeyman,” follows a certain style of development which we can call the “Daybreak” method. So many characters and plot points are thrown out on the table with the footnote that everything will be explained later. There is hardly any exposition, and by the time we get some answers, everything will have become far too convoluted to make any sense. In true “Daybreak” fashion, there is a highly evil and powerful Big Brother organization orchestrating some grand plan to turn the Bionic Woman into their own programmed soldier. The immediate introduction of Sarah Corvus, the original Bionic Woman, seems out of place and just unneeded. I never watched the original show, but it really changes my concept of how Jamie develops into this character. Rooftop fights in the rain can only remain interesting for so long. Whether Michelle Ryan is up to the role remains to be seen, since I do not think this episode is a proper measure of her talents. What I do know is that this show really keeps it in the family, using three actors from “Battlestar Galactica” (Katee Sackhoff, Aaron Douglas, and recent guest star Mark Sheppard) as well as two cast members from the recent FX show “Thief” (Will Yun Lee, and recently recast Mae Whitman, who initially played Jamie’s sister). Bringing together all these great actors hardly helps a show with poor writing and a very muted emphasis on plot.

How will it work as a series? Cult fans could help it, and NBC seems pretty set on it with the “Bionic Wednesday” promos, but it really runs the risk of running itself into the ground with all the convoluted plot points and undeveloped characters.
How long will it last? NBC has a tradition of helping popular but ratings-starved shows make it to a second season (The Office, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights), but its placement opposite ABC’s “Private Practice” will not help much, especially if “Grey’s Anatomy” occasionally beat the more widely likeable “CSI” in viewers. I think initial ratings may give it a full season, but I doubt more than that.

Pilot grade: D+