Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Six Million Dollar Man on DVD

They have finally re-built him!

Time-Life has just announced that The Six-Million Dollar Man: The Complete Series DVD collection is now available for pre-order. 

I must confess, I've been waiting years for this particular DVD release.  When I was seven or eight, The Six-Million Dollar Man was one of my favorite weekly programs.  I still proudly own (and display in my home office) some of the great Kenner toys from the series. 

So if the name Maskatron doesn't ring any bells for you, you might as well just skip to another post...

The Six-Million Dollar Man ran from 1973-1978 (five seasons), on ABC and followed the adventures of Colonel Steve Austin (Lee Majors), an astronaut who was badly injured in a test flight for a new NASA spacecraft. 

After the crash, Austin underwent emergency surgery to save his life, and received fully functional bionic replacements (two legs and an arm) for his crushed limbs.  Also, he received a bionic eye that allow him to see over vast distances.

Once he became bionic (at a price tag of...well, you know...), Austin became an agent for the OSI (Office of Scientific Investigation), working for Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson). 

Famously, slow-motion photography was utilized extensively during the series'  ubiquitous action sequences, so when Steve was to run or leap at bionic velocities, he actually ran very, very slowly instead, all to a distinctive "ch-ch-ch-ch-ch" sound-effect that became a trademark of the 1970s pop culture.

The legendary bionic-smackdown episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man-- with Colonel Steve Austin (Lee Majors) battling super-powered nemeses like the alien robot Sasquatch (!), malevolent space probes,  female robots called fembots, and a crazy astronaut played by William Shatner -- are among my earliest, fondest and most nostalgic "media memories." 

I can't say how well the show holds up today; I last watched episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man something like eight years ago on VHS, when I was preparing the first edition of my Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television.

The only downside (and it is indeed considerable) to this new DVD set: you have to shell out a whopping 240.00 dollars (plus shipping) to own all five seasons of the series.  I don't know that I can responsibly make such a bionic financial leap at this point, especially after ordering Thriller, Space Precinct, and Space: 1999 on blu-ray

But if you decide you're in a place to plunk down the cash, here's some of what you get in addition to the five televised seasons, the Bionic Woman cross-over episodes, and the reunion movies of the 1980s:

The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection is housed in a 40-DVD Collector’s Box that includes a bionic sound chip and a special 3D lenticular design of Steve Austin. But hurry, this exclusive collection is not available in stores!
•Exclusive new interviews with Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner


•All three pilot movies of The Six Million Dollar Man


•All three reunion movies of The Six Million Dollar Man


•All crossover episodes of The Bionic Woman


•17 exclusive featurettes


•Audio commentaries and other interactive features


•All five seasons uncut


•Collector's box

16 comments:

  1. MAN! WOW! STUPENDOUS!

    John. I've been watching for this one since, well since the inception of DVD.

    Waking up to your blog entry was like waking up on Christmas morning! Holy Toledo.

    I have just picked up a few side jobs to ensure I can afford it. It's a MUST OWN!

    Like yourself, my only gripe would be, 'why not just put it out on Blu-Ray, unless they want us paying a whole lot more later.

    Truly, I don't care. I will definitely be a proud owner of the Six Million Dollar Man.

    The closest thing I had to my own episodes as a kid was VIEWMASTER and one of those little windy, movie players where you could see clips in action if you placed it up to yout eye to watch.

    Anyway, great news. I called this over at my site when I listed the Bionic Woman was coming out on DVD. I said, "Could Six Million Dollar Man" be far behind! SO COOL! Can you tell I'm excited. I also have Bionic Woman on pre-Order. Lindsey Wagner was the bomb.

    As far as Farscape. I love it. I have paused at Season One because I want to write about it. So I opted to watch something for fun ST:TNG and as you suggested, it hasn't been a wole lot of fun.

    Have a great day and thanks for this MOMENTOUS UPDATE! Chh-chh-chh-chhh. dnnn-dnnn-dnn [my bionic six million dollar man sounds]. I am such a kid sometimes.

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  2. This is great! Besides the Lindsay Wagner/Bionic Woman arc, I think I will always remember Steve Austin coming up against The Seven Million Dollar Man, played by Monte Markham. Thanks for this, John.

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  3. Hi guys!

    Sci-Fi Fanatic, I am with you 100% here.

    I've got to donate some bone marrow or something to afford this set.

    I really, really want it...but jeez...the money!

    But I'm totally with you; this is one of those "things" (that our spouses find baffling, no doubt) from our childhood that we must re-experience.

    Le0pard13: Yes, I the Seven Million Dollar Man! Another bionic smackdown episode. Personally, I am absolutely jonesing for the Sasquatch action! God, I loved those two-part bionic fights with Big Foot...I even had a novelization of the first episode with Sasquatch I think...

    All right, I'm gonna have to get this. I...neeed...money...

    best to you both! :)

    John

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  4. SteveW11:48 AM

    Just gotta say: Fembots!

    That term has entered my personal vocabulary to describe any cheesy robot of the female persuasion, or for that matter any bad actress who is stiff and unconvincing, but I had forgotten where it came from. Thanks for reminding me!

    I'm a little afraid to look at the show again after all these years, since I'm convinced that it was probably really stupid. In fact, I have a distinct memory of watching the very first episode with my Dad and him commenting, "This is really stupid." And that was before the robot Sasquatch!

    Oh well--enjoyed the post anyway.

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  5. Hi SteveW:

    Fembots: stiff and unconvincing actresses! I love that. Will have to use that in future reviews. :)

    I was trying to explain the concept of a bionic, alien robot of Sasquatch to my son, Joel (who is not yet four...) and he just looked at me like I was crazy!

    Yet I'm STILL convinced that he will enjoy watching Fembots, Death Probes and Big Foot...:)

    Now I just need to be able to afford the set...

    Thanks for the comment!

    best,
    John

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  6. Oh Lord please let me continue with the masquerade that this series will be high art. I loved Robot Saquatch!

    I'm still under the belief, delusional maybe, that there will be some strong episodes in the mix.

    But as you mentioned John, I for the life of me can't remember it well. I simply remember loving it!

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  7. Oh, one more thing my friend. Order has been placed. I expect you and I to come up with some retro looks back.

    I can't wait to see a Six Million Dollar Man Cult TV Flashback! Absolutely essential!

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  8. Sci-Fi Fanatic -- I love Robot Sasquatch too. Seriously. And you can count on a CULT TV flashback to that effect (plus one on the fembots; and one on the death probe; and one on the Shat and one on...)

    I don't know if Six Million Dollar Man is high art...I just know that I loved the hell out of it as a kid.

    best,
    JKM

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  9. Grayson6:14 PM

    The Middle to Late 1990s:

    Race home from school, grab a snack, and sit in front of the TV. Although my brothers and I watched contemporary shows on Nick, our favorites always seemed to be a little bit older. The Six Million Dollar Man. Battlestar Galactica. The A-Team. The Fall Guy. Star Trek. The Dukes of Hazzard. The Bionic Woman. Knight Rider. Wonder Woman. Lost in Space. Quantum Leap. Land of the Giants. And a slew of other. (Yes, we probably watched too much TV!) While many episodes of these shows may not have been very intellectually stimulating, they will always hold a place dear to me.

    As some of you may know, the crash sequence in the opening credits of TSMDM is actual footage of an experimental aircraft crash.

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  10. Grayson: Glad to know you're a fan of the Six Million Dollar Man too.

    I'm hoping the show stands up today, and I can still revel in all the bionic smackdowns

    best,
    JKM

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  11. I was such a fan of both SMDM and Bionic Woman! I loved when they did cross overs of the two shows and reunion shows!
    It was the late great Andre the Giant who played Bigfoot in the episodes of The Secret of Bigfoot parts 1 and 2. He was sooo awesome in that role!
    Fembots...oh how I loved the Fembots! They were constantly having their faces torn off! So they were androids where as Steve and Jaime were cyborgs. Cyborg vs android in a battle for robotic supremacy!
    As a woman, I would much prefer the bionic ear to the bionic eye...easier to listen to juicy gossip that way.
    Remember Max, the bionic dog? I loved poor sweet Max. And don't forget the 7 Million Dollar Man, race car driver Barney Miller, who steve had to help to adjust to his bionics. And of course, the bionic boy, Andy Sheffield.
    I didnt' bother to watch the remake tv series of Bionic woman, to me, it's just not the same as back when I was a kid. There is only one bionic man, Lee Majors, and one bionic woman, Lindsay Wagner...and of course, Max
    Dreaded Dreams
    Petunia Scareum
    who is now moving very slowly to the ch ch ch ch sound

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  12. Still like Christmas morning John. Still over the moon about that box set.

    I don't like to wish time away, but that is one DVD set I can't wait to see arrive on my door step.

    It could potentially have one of the greatest opening sequences in the history of television.

    My mind fails me.

    You do realize if this doesn't work out and I'm disappointed by these classics I may have to give The Fall Guy another chance for the mere fact I'll get to see Heather Thomas again.

    Our excitement is difficult to contain my friend.

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  13. Judging from the several clips I've seen on YouTube in recent months of both this and BIONIC WOMAN, I am convinced it will not only hold up, but enter a new kind of surrealistic spot in television history. I can watch slow-motion action all day. Did you see MACHETE and notice the borrowed sound clips for Seagal's sword? Speaking of BIONIC WOMAN, season 1 of that show is up for pre-order at Amazon, for a pretty reasonable price.

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  14. It's about time! I loved this show as a kid, though a couple of things are stopping me from taking action:

    1. The price point.
    2. The fear of tarnishing my cherished childhood memories of this show by watching it as an adult...and it doesn't hold up.

    Maybe I'll just cross my fingers that the DVDs will make their way to Netflix soon.

    No matter what, I must have that bionic sound chip.

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  15. I am thrilled to hear Indiephantom's commentary. This is extremely good news. Thank you.

    Re: FilmFather. Your second point is a good one, but I have to laugh, because these cherished memories we have of the show have faded so greatly I can't hardly recall the show. Ha. I must see it. It is an imperative. Love seeing the Six Million Dollar Man commentaries.

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  16. Hi everyone! All your comments are getting me more and more enthused about this DVD set.

    I'm now officially selling toys on E-Bay to raise money for this!

    Let me know who else decides to spring for this!

    best,
    JKM

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