TV Review: Bionic Woman

An updated version of the classic 1970s series Bionic Woman debuted tonight on NBC.

It’s about a pretty bartender who’s smashed up beyond repair in an automobile accident and given — without her knowledge or permission — bionic enhancements that cause her and the people around her to talk way out of sync.

If I got a penny for every time the lips and the words in this pilot episode didn’t match up, I’d be a rich man.

Oh, well.

This show needs a lot of work. But I don’t want to be too hard on the pilot, because it was obvious while watching it that many changes were probably made between the time it was filmed and tonight when it finally aired. That would probably explain the disjointed scenes and terrible editing and poorly looped dialogue, though it doesn’t forgive the ridiculous overuse of special effects and intentional editing glitches for every little thing.

Michelle Ryan plays the new Jaime Sommers. She’s got dark hair, bright blue eyes and killer lips. So of course I’ve got a crush on her, but it’s no thanks to the script, which doesn’t develop Jaime at all. Everything is so hilariously rushed. Scenes don’t feel complete, and the dialogue is beyond bad.

The Most Valuable Player award goes to Katee Sackhoff, best known for her role as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on Battlestar Galactica. She plays a previous bionic woman whose operations and enhancements turned her both evil and insane, and now she wants to help Jaime realize her full potential by trying to kill her. Sackhoff is a sassy bad-ass on Galactica, but here she gets a chance to let her hair down and really play it cool and evil and manipulative and downright nasty. She’s sexy above and beyond the call of duty. Whew.

I’d like to rescue Michelle and Katee from this show. What do you say, ladies? Let’s go on a road trip this fall and eat at every BBQ diner we drive past. Bring your iPods; I promise not to hog the radio. Just please don’t play any of that awful “rock music” that was drizzled throughout your show.

The preview for next week’s episode was better than the entire pilot, and I’ll definitely give it another chance. The writing needs to come way up, and the special effects need to be used subtly and more sparingly. It can be done. We’ll see how it goes, and I think it’s got a chance to be a lot of fun.