'Bionic Woman' Season Premiere - Review
'Bionic Woman' Season Premiere - Review
It seems that Battlestar Galactica has started a new trend: revamping the camp.  Bionic Woman is the latest vestige of the 70s to be repainted in darker, more serious tones, and what better person to lead the project than BSG's reimaginer extraordinaire, David Eick?

Perhaps best known of late as "that show Isaiah Washington is going to," Bionic Woman is very true to the Galactica process.  The show is dark, dreary, and pulsing with social consciousness.  This is definitely not the Bionic Woman that graced tin lunch boxes. 

Bionic Woman is an attempt to capture the heightened sense of story that makes sci fi serials pump.  The challenge for Bionic Woman is that not many serials have made it.  BSG, Lost, and Heroes are the few and the brave.  Bionic Woman is treading into an arena where the odds are against here.  Unless, the show excels at something unique.  It does.

The same simple story from the 70s is there in spirit:  a young girl suffers sever mutilation in a horrifying accident.  A secret government program is able to replace her limbs with bionic replacements that enhance her strength, and brain implants that give her enhanced senses and immediate access to a library of combat programming.  Okay, so not so much like the original, but definitely in the same ball park.

Underlying this new rendition of Bionic Woman is a moire of character connections reminiscent of the synchronicity driven mythos like Heroes, or Lost, except with an emotional density approaching that of NBC's most excellent Journeyman.

Sommers' (Michelle Ryan) sees herself as an underachiever, strapped with the responsibility of playing guardian to her teenage sister Becca (Lucy Hale).  She reflects on her lack of identity while questioning the adoration of her genius boyfriend, who ultimately winds up being the one who 'rebuilds' her in the physical sense.

And therein come the layers of character expression that run parallel to the latent symbolism of the story.  The same man who builds her up psychologically, rebuilds her physically, which leads to her  assumption of a new identity.  Her 'new' place in life becomes a secret identity, and no matter how heroic she becomes, she will always writhe in the underachieving skin that her sister knows her by.  And of course, underneath this is a deep conspiracy with gruesome connotations to an earlier, more reckless bionic experiment that ended with fathers locked below ground, while sons basked in the brilliance of their work in also underground laboratories.

The argument could be made that Bionic Woman is not, in fact, all that, and that what seems like a quilt of metaphor and finely drawn symbolism is merely the happenstance of a story that is too busy for its own good, but that would be a stretch.

Bionic Woman
has enough soul in its story to succeed where most recent network attempts at serial sci-fi end.  For starters, the introduction hands viewers a multifaceted chunk of mythology with which fans can feel comfortable pursuing Sommer's adventures in either episodic or serial installments.

- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)