Title / Air Date: Second Chances [Pilot] / September 26th 2007 Writer: Laeta Kalogridis, David Eick Director: Michael Dinner
Summary: When a devastating car accident leaves Jaime Sommers at death's door, her only hope of survival is a cutting-edge, top-secret technology performed by her boyfriend, Dr. Will Anthros, and with her new bionics come a covert life that she is not sure she is ready to lead. Meanwhile, the first bionic woman Sarah Corvus, has her own agenda as she tracks Jaime and Will down - which leads to a showdown between the two bionic woman. Also, Will’s father, Dr. Anthony Anthros escapes from a maximum security prison.
Guest stars: Mark A. Sheppard: Anthony Anthros Alicia Thorgrimsson: Doctor #2 Jenn Forgie: Nurse Heather Doerksen: Mother Roan Curtis: Little Girl Dominic Zamprogna: Med-Flight Tech #1 Jacqueline Samuda: Med-Flight Tech #2 John Mann: Drug Dealer Aaron Douglas: Prison Guard Thomas Kretschmann: The Man Conrad Coates: Doctor #1 Craig Lubzon: Sleazy Bar Patron
Re-occurring characters/plot points: N/A Worth watching because... As a remake of the original 1970's Bionic Woman series, this version plays things straight with a very modern and dark [in the Pilot] take on it's view of things. Michelle Ryan is supported by a strong cast and this first episode sets up various plot threads and ideas to be explored in later episodes. Best Quotes... Ruth Treadwell: "I'm Ruth", Jaime: "I'm pissed". Jae: "A wolf only makes a good pet if it thinks it's a dog." Misc facts: At least 3 versions of the pilot episode were produced. The first version had Mae Whitman cast as Jaime's deaf sister, a character that sparked criticism from hearing-impaired rights groups when it was learned the actress wasn't deaf in real life. This version of the pilot was one of several widely circulated on the Internet during the summer of 2007; at the 2007 San Diego Comic Con, an edited-down, half-hour version of this pilot was shown to audience members as a preview of the new series. For broadcast, however, several scenes were filmed, and the cast changed with a new actress playing Jaime's sister, and the hearing-impaired subplot being eliminated.
Bionic Action - This section looks at specific scenes when Jaime uses her Bionics this episode.
Reviews: By SEAN ELLIOTT, Senior Editor / IFMagazine
A lot of people are going to be judging BIONIC WOMAN based on either their love or hate of the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, but this really is irrelevant in the big scheme of things. The only reason people will be comparing is because series executive producer David Eick works on both shows, as does leading bad guy (err lady) Katee Sackhoff. The similarities stop there.
This is a re-envisioning of the classic 1970’s series starring Lindsay Wagner about a woman with bionic implants that give her superhuman abilities. That series was a spin-off from THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, and so the new show has to start with its own mythology and hit the ground running.
The pilot follows Jamie Sommers (Michelle Ryan) as she is preparing to embark on a new chapter in her life with her beau Dr. Will Anthros (Chris Bowers) when they are involved in a hit and run accident that leaves her crippled and dying. Anthros uses government technology to rebuild Jamie and save her life, thus transforming her into the BIONIC WOMAN. Now, to complicate things, Jamie has to take on the original Bionic Babe played by Katee Sackhoff, who by the way was the one who hit them with a truck in the first place. In the end Jamie decides to become a super soldier for good and the storyline will continue. This series gets off to a good solid start and it has nothing but room to grow. The characters are likable enough, and lets face it, we’re really not watching to see high drama. What all of the geeks are watching for is to see just how amazing this new BIONIC WOMAN can be.
The rooftop fight between the two women is great and just their first encounter so hopefully the battles will only get more explosive from here on in.
Michelle Ryan is perfectly charming as the new Jamie Sommers. She isn’t the blonde with the million dollar smile that Lindsay Wagner was, but she’s a new kind of woman for a different era. The only real danger she faces in this series is being eclipsed by Katee Sackhoff who has more onscreen presence than three-quarters of the cast. Sackhoff has gotten her dramatic chops by being on the good ship GALACTICA, and there is no stopping her now.
It will be worth watching to see where the series goes, and if any familiar faces from the original will turn up for cameos. I for one am voting to see Lindsay Wagner show up much in the same way Christopher Reeve did on SMALLVILLE, in a small but crucial role that will ultimately affect our hero on a fundamental level. Grade: B FAN REVIEW Jamie Sommers is a young woman in love, and still coming to terms with the fact she's pregnant when a truck smashes into her car. Her life is saved thanks to some pioneering and highly classified surgery involving the use of anthrocytes. But there is a price to pay, the Bionics programme is part of a covert government organisation and they want Jamie to sing for her supper. It's amazing what a difference the addition of some titles and an original background score can make. Although this is almost exactly the same episode I viewed back in August it feels much more vibrant and tightly paced. The use of captions at the start of certain scenes adds a further dimension to the whole thing and gives it a sense of scale, for example it never occurred to me that three years pass between the 'death' of Sarah Corvus and Jamie's accident. As far as I could tell they might as easily have happened in the same week Michelle Ryan performs well in the lead, though as I've said before she doesn't have an especially strong screen presence, only really coming into her own towards the end. Curiously enough her finest moment comes in that final scene where Jamie and Jonas Bledsoe meet for the first time. Maybe it's working opposite an actor of Miguel Ferrer's calibre forcing her to up her game (much as working opposite James Nesbitt on Jekyll bought out a stronger performance) but it couldn't happen at a better time, this is after all the same moment in which Jamie realises just who she now is and what she is capable of. It's almost as if both actress and character are reborn in that scene. If Ryan can maintain that quality of performance she'll be fine. One other scene I particularly enjoyed was Jamie's run in with a would-be mugger outside the club where she works. It reminded me of a similar scene in episode one of Jekyll where Jackman encounters a knife-wielding thug. The difference is that in Jekyll it was all about giving the viewers their first taste of what Hyde is capable of, here Jamie is as surprised as the audience at how easily she overpowers her attacker. It raises the interesting question of where her natural abilities end and where the anthrocytes take over. I don't know why but Chris Bower's performance has grown on me since the first pilot, as far as I could see none of his scenes with Michelle Ryan have been reshot - though there is one scene where Will leaves a message on Jamie's answer phone just after he's helped her escape which I don't recall being in the earlier version - but he seemed warmer somehow, more likeable. One thing I still don't care for is his reaction to Jamie's realisation she's lost her baby, telling her she 'can get pregnant again' are more the words of a doctor than a boyfriend. I would have expected him to show more compassion, but maybe that's just his way of dealing with his own grief. Lucy Hale is the new Becca Summers, she's no longer deaf but she still has a chip on her shoulder. This time though it's almost understandable, whereas before Becca ran away from home to be with her sister this time it was their dad who dumped her on Jamie's doorstep, add to that the revelations about their mother's death and the court order banning her from using a computer and you can see why Becca feels the world is unfair. Hale may not be as strong an actress as Mae Whitman but there's something warm and instantly likeable about her version of the character. The strangest change though is in Jamie's choice of babysitter when she goes on her date with Will, rather than the genial Polish matriarch next door, she's roped in a couple of girls I wouldn't trust to water my houseplants. There's still too much going on in this opening episode - the reasons behind Sarah's attempts to assassinate Will are never explained and Anthros senior's escape from prison is woefully underwritten, being over and done with in just a couple of scenes. One thing I can't overlook - during the final showdown between Jamie and Sarah, Corvus clearly and deliberately breaks Jamie's non-bionic arm, yet despite screaming in pain Jamie is using this arm to help pull herself back up onto the roof just moments later and walks away from the fight with both arms seemingly intact. . If there's an explanation for this (the anthrocytes spreading through her body to repair the damage?) then it should have been stated clearly. As it stands it is a rather glaring continuity error and sets a dangerous precedent. The special effects are surprisingly low key, and all the better for it, for example there's a lovely shot when Jamie is running away from the base of the anthrocytes inside her legs kicking into gear, it's a subtle blend of muscles and electronics halfway between the effects shots for House and Star Trek. Better still when Jamie wakes up in the hospital and sees her legs for the first time, they actually looked less artificial than they did in the unfinished version, a good example of less is more. The Bionic eye meanwhile is represented by a telescopic site with red writing that probably looks wonderful in HD, but sadly it didn't translate to my ordinary TV screen that well. Effective but unspectacular. There's a lot of potential here, and now that Jamie's 'origin' is out of the way I look forward to seeing where else this series can take us. Rating: 3.5/5
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