Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bionic Woman is surprisingly ok

So I've finally started watching Bionic Woman in broadcast form. If you'll remember I caught the pilot back at comic con and had somewhat mixed feelings about it. Well the show has changed a bit since then. One of the main roles was recast and the main character, Jamie Sommers' entire home life backstory has been altered. I think these changes specifically have been for the best, because I caught the first two episodes yesterday and I was actually, somewhat surprisingly, pretty entertained all around.

I really don't want to give the show too much credit here, because it definitely has a long way to go, but there are times, moments, snippits of scenes in this show that have an almost Blade Runner sort of ambiance to them; and that really makes me happy. There is a dreary grey tension to a lot of the underground, training, and medical scenes in the show. Of course there are a lot of these scenes considering the basic plotline overall, and especially that at this stage of the story Jamie is only just discovering her powers. The outside scenes are a bit brighter than they really should be in my opinion, but I understand that they don't want this show getting too dark. There's a fine line between the tense mis en scene of something like Battlestar Galactica, and the really too dark stylings of something like Painkiller Jane. Bionic Woman would do well to emulate Battlestar.

But Bionic Woman is also trying to be an 'adventure' show. And you know its going to throw in a love story sooner than it probably should. So with all these competing genres can it really work? Well I will grant that for at least these first few episodes it does manage it. Some interesting choices have been made, that could definitely pay off. For example casting Isiah Washington as her scientist doctor was a bold move, after all the crap he said and his firing off of Grey's Anatomy. Also, as a dramatic plot change from the pilot I originally saw, they decided to kill off Jamie's original love interest, and then retcon his backstory. While a bit cheap, I think that change should work well. As it should with the recasting of Jamie's sister as a hot young hacker instead of a hot young deaf girl. And making their parents alive instead of dead. Of course the final big surprise of the show came when I realized that they seemed to be actually killing most of the bad guys. I mean they really were killing them! It might not sound like much, but just check your other prime time shows; except for the legal and medical dramas, people don't usually die, and heroes definitely don't kill them, even if they are bad. All of these changes add up to a pretty interestingly styled show. And while it still needs to find its footing, I think it's off to a decent enough start.

So I'd say we'll just have to keep our eye out to see what becomes of all this. I think the show is worth checking out, and hopefully it will continue along that path. If you've seen Bionic Woman, please let me know what you think in the comments. I'm interested to hear other people's take on it so far.


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