The Bionic Woman: Season 3
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She can dive to the very bottom of the ocean, lift a massive car with one arm, hear the pins of a top-secret safe, and keep up with a pet German shepherd that can run up to 90 mph. The Bionic Woman is back and ready for her most exciting adventures yet in all 22 episodes of the third – and final – season of this groundbreaking show. American sweetheart and Primetime Emmy Award winner Lindsay Wagner is Jamie Sommers: schoolteacher, concerned Ojai resident and full-time agent for the top-secret Office of Scientific Investigations (OSI). Jamie's missions have become increasingly more dangerous and complex as she's earned the respect of her handlers and colleagues. But with new romance on the horizon and emerging bionic technologies, will the world's first female cyborg choose to live her life away from government interests? Find out in the epic conclusion to the iconic series where one woman took on new abilities and became a role model for a whole generation of fans.
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THE BIONIC WOMAN was a spin-off of the hugely successful SIX-MILLION DOLLAR MAN. The premise was simple. Jamie Sommers (Wagner) was a tennis pro horribly injured in a skydiving accident. At the behest of her then-boyfriend, bionic agent Steve Austin, Jamie was given super-powered bionic legs, a bionic arm and a bionic ear, and turned into an agent herself for the OSI -- the "Office of Scientific Intelligence." By the third season, she was a skilled veteran of all sorts of missions, but by no means a company woman. Jamie disliked militarism and violence, never touched a gun (unless it was to crush it in her bionic fist!), and willfully looked past the bad in people in hopes, usually fulfilled, of finding the good. A bubbly, effervescent personality, she was also emotionally sensitive and tended to act on her feelings and conscience rather than do what she was told, much to the exasperation of her handler, OSI director Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson), and her doctor, bionic scientist Rudy Wells (Martin Brooks). She also attempted to educate people -- chauvinist men, criminals, disaffected kids -- about how to treat a lady, or just be better human beings, a task which required a lot of patience in a decade where a boss could still refer to his employee as "babe."
Some of my favorites were:
The Bionic Dog 1 & 2: Jamie meets Max, the bionic German shepherd who served as a guinea pig for the bionic implants she and Steve Austin carry in their bodies. The dog appears to be dangerously unstable, and Rudy wants to put him down and conduct a necroscopy. Jamie breaks Max out of dog-jail and goes on the run with him, hoping she can prove Max to be worth saving. This is a surprisingly intense episode in which the normally likeable Rudy serves as the de facto villain.
Rodeo - Jamie must pose as a cowgirl to bodyguard an OSI science genius whose hobby is rodeo, and who has been targeted by the usual enemy agents who want to kidnap him and drain his brain of secrets. Andrew Prine guest stars in a rare but welcome appearance as a good guy who just wants a normal life outside the OSI, something Jamie can relate to.
Brain Wash - Jamie's bad luck charm, i.e. her best friend Callahan (Jennifer Darling), gets Jamie into yet another scrape when Callahan's boyfriend turns out to be an enemy agent using his popular beauty salon as a cover to steal information from the OSI. Why Oscar continues to employ the disaster-prone Callahan is the real mystery of this episode.
Motorcycle Boogie - This rather silly episode is nontheless enjoyable, as Jamie and Evel Knievel team up to infiltrate an East Germany which looks a hell of a lot like Universal Studios back lot. Sommers and Knievel, who plays himself, have a good time together and while Evel can't act, he has good chemistry with her and provides some comic relief.
All For One - Oscar disovers someone on a college campus is hacking into OSI computers and stealing money, and sends Jamie to infiltrate the school as a student and track down the hacker. However, her investigation reveals that the bad guys may not be as bad as Oscar seems to think. Franklyn Ajaye, who went on to do some great things on DEADWOOD many years later, turns in a great performance in a Robin Hood type story whose hacking theme was years ahead of its time.
This brings us to the last two episodes of the season -- "Rancho Outcast" and "On The Run." The former episode is in my estimation just about the worst piece of trash THE BIONIC WOMAN ever chucked out of its writer's room. The latter is arguably the best. "Rancho Outcast" is the usual "Jamie goes undercover in a made-up foreign country on the backlot" episode and features some truly awful moments, most notably a Central American gunman with an eyepatch, terribly fake scar, two six-guns, a boot knife, and a tendency to sound like Speedy Gonzalez on crack. I mention this episode because if you watch all the seasons of TBW you will easily spot the times the writers seemed to regard their audience with contempt, doling out this kind of rubbish instead of stretching themselves to come up with good stories.
On the other hand, "On The Run" shows what the writers and actors were capable of when they really put their hearts and souls into what they were doing. If the whole of TBW was written at the level of this episode, I think it would be remembered as a really great TV series as opposed to just a fond memory and an early example of strong female characters. In this story, Jamie's long-suppressed self-loathing over the fact she is basically a cyborg explodes to the surface after a seemingly trivial incident, and she decides to resign from the OSI. The government demurs, however, and Oscar is forced to warn Jamie that government goons are coming to "collect" her lest her bionic secrets become public knowledge. Jamie becomes a fugitive, and tries to come to terms with what she is and her real role in the world. This story is really damned good, with a relentless pace, very sophisticated themes of duty and identity, and some phenomenal acting by Richard Anderson.
In the end, I enjoyed going down memory land with this series and was often rewarded by what I found. I do not think the writers exerted themselves as much as they might have to come up with interesting situations that didn't also come off as preposterous (two "alien" episodes in this batch), but I do believe that when they did, they made some pretty fun and entertaining television which is also chock full o' 70s nostalgia.
This disc includes the following episodes: "The Bionic Dog," "The Bionic Dog: Part 2," "Fembots in Las Vegas" and "Fembots in Las Vegas: Part 2."
In DVD Queue
This disc includes the following episodes: "Rodeo," "African Connection," "Motorcycle Boogie" and "Brain Wash."
In DVD Queue
This disc includes the following episodes: "Escape to Love," "Max," "Over the Hill Spy" and "All for One."
In DVD Queue
This disc includes the following episodes: "The Pyramid," "The Antidote," "The Martians Are Coming, the Martians Are Coming," "Sanctuary Earth" and "Deadly Music."
In DVD Queue
This disc includes the following episodes: "Which One is Jaime?," "Out of Body," "Long Live the King," "Rancho Outcast" and "On the Run."
This is a must have for retro tv fans or Bionic/Smdm fans. The picture quality is absolutely beautiful. I was a little sad that they didn't include the three reunion movies in the special features, but luckily they are included them in the SMDM collection as well as 14 hours of other special features, which is available at Time Life for a much cheaper price than amazon.
Good luck retro fans!
The Third Season is watchable, I still like the Bionic Dog epidsode and a few others.
Sharman L Bowman
Top international reviews
But mostly series 3 feels cheaper (check out 'The Martians Are Coming' for the worst special FX of a ufo ever), more rushed, tries to incorperate Jaime's boring new 'bionic dog' companion at every opportunity (I'm a dog lover, but it just doesn't work), and certain episodes are beyond silly in premise. The new 2-part Femmebots episode pales in comparison to the previous ones, and what Evel Kneivel is doing here I don't know.
Elsewhere, the typical banter between Jaime and Oscar Goldman in the OSI offices that would begin most episodes in S1+2 is gone, now replaced usually with Oscar's voice recording on a telephone describing her mission over an establishing shot. - Goldman now also constantly and un-ironically refers to Jaime as 'babe' throughout the entire series. Girl power, eh.
The box set is well put together with 3 episode commentaries, all 3 reunion movies plus more, but Brain Wash aside if you're looking for episodes as good as series 1+2 you'll probably be disappointed.
If you like the Bionic woman series you will enjoy this season 3, the story lines are a little far fetched at times but it did not detract from my enjoyment, took me way back to the 70`s :)
If you need help with adjusting your dvd region codes help can be found on www.videohelp.com
Great to finally be able to complete Series
A big Thank you to amazon