Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Bionic Woman Gets "Re-Imagined"...and I Get a Headache

My good friend Fred - who always has his ear to the ground on genre news - sent me this interesting item. The next sci-fi series to get the Hollywood Special and suffer through a "re-imagination" (a la Battlestar Galactica or Night Stalker...) is the 1970s Lindsay Wagner classic, The Bionic Woman. And guess what? It's from the producer of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica too!

Here's the skinny according to author Josef Adalian:

"Battlestar Galactica
exec producer David Eick is teaming with feature scribe Laeta Kalogridis to reinvent "The Bionic Woman" for NBC. Eick and Kalogridis will exec produce a new take on "Bionic," a 1970s spin-off of "The Six Million Dollar Man" in which Lindsay Wagner played tennis pro-turned-superwoman Jamie [sic] Sommers. Skein aired for two seasons on ABC before shifting to NBC in 1977 for its final year.

"It's a complete reconceptualization of the title," Eick told Daily Variety. "We're using the title as a starting point, and that's all."

Sounds familiar (and arrogant...) doesn't it? Because, what fans of the original Bionic Woman really liked was not the story; not the was just the brand name, right? So that's all that's going to be used in the re-do. What genius! I'm glad there are clever producers out there who realize storyline and characterization don't wins hearts and minds of fans; only franchise titles do. These producers could create memorable new, artistic shows (with memorable new titles), but instead, they feast on the bones of fan nostalgia and craft GREAT new product like The Wild Wild West (1998) or the movie version of Lost in Space (1998). We all want more of that magic, don't we?

And by the way, did I tell you, I'm remaking Star Trek, but my version also just takes the brand name, not the concept or characters. The series is actually about running (or trekking...) around Hollywood chasing celebrities (or stars...), thus a Star Trek. I'm sure Star Trek fans (who just love the name of the original show, not the characters or storylines...) would appreciate that. Wouldn't they?

What makes this news even worse is that Kalogridis is the talent behind the WB crapfest that was known as Birds of Prey. In case you forgot, that was the short-lived re-imagination that cast Batman as an absentee father, whose reign of crime fighting was remembered by Gothamites only as a myth. Because people really only liked the title Birds of Prey (it was a comic...), not the actual content.

Sarcasm aside, it's sad that these bean counting vultures are the people re-making our favorite shows. People who see marketable titles, and then decide to "re-invent" them not according to the property's inherent value, but according to their infinite personal wisdom instead. .But I'm sure there will be fans who eat up the new Bionic Woman and say it will be superior to the "cheesy" and "old" original. Because if there's any ruling edict of Hollywood remakes it is this: anything that came about in the 1970s is cheesy, and everything that is old, sucks. Right?


  1. I dunno, Muir,

    I think you get caught up in overthinking these "re-imagining" things. They aren't actually intended to be the same as the original show. Frankly, they're not even intended to catch the same audience! Oh, maybe a few old stragglers who remember show X from 1974 or whenever-the-hell-ever, but not really enough to affect the ratings either way.

    Stay with me now.

    The ideal reaction a marketing department looks for when they announce a new Bionic Woman or Battlestar Galactica or Manimal or what-have-you generally isn't "WOW!" as in "WOW! I remember and adore that show from my misspent youth! I wonder what it would be like with a budget and people who can act?" No, the ideal reaction is more like "Huh." as in "Huh. I vaguely remember a reference to that show from VH-1's I Love The '70s. And isn't that where Molly Ringwald got her start or something? Huh."

    Then when the show airs, that "Huh." will be enough to attract more viewers out of sheer curiosity, but the bulk of the audience doesn't even REMEMBER much of what the real show was like. Sure, there are a few internet fanboys who will complete that the Bionic Woman used to be a GIRL and now he's a black guy, but that will all fade into the background and the show will be judged on its merits. Theoretically.

    And oh my God CONGRATULATIONS, by the way!

  2. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Hopefully Tee Morris can come and defend the new version of The Bionic Woman at the next Fanti-Sci!

    -Wat Tambor