THE BIONIC WOMAN (1975)
Article 4483 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Dick Moder
Featuring Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, Lindsay Wagner
What it is: Two-part episode of “The Six-Million Dollar Man”
Colonel Steve Austin rekindles a relationship with an old flame, but when she is badly injured in a skydiving accident, he has his bosses save her life by replacing her destroyed limbs with bionic replacements.
This was listed in “John Stanley’s Creature Feature Movie Guide Strikes Again”, but there are some ambiguities in the listing. The description makes it clear that it was the pilot for “The Bionic Woman” TV series, and it lists Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner as being in it, and, as far as I know, that means the two-part episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man” that introduced Jaime Sommers. However, it lists the director as Henry Mankiewicz and mentions an actress named Monica Randall as being in it. The first is a nom-de-plume for Spanish director Leon Klimovsky, and the other is a Spanish actress who did appear in a couple of Klimovsky’s films. Could there be a Spanish rip-off of the bionic woman concept that I don’t know about that is being confused with this? I’m not sure, but I decided to go with this one in the belief that it’s just a case of confused credits.
I remember being a fan of “The Six Million Dollar Man” for about a season and a half before I drifted away from the series; it became apparent to me after a bit that it was just a conventional action-adventure show with a gimmick that grew old quickly. I never bothered with “The Bionic Woman”; it just seemed like a variation on a series in which I’d already lost interest, though I’ve heard there are many who think it was an improvement over the original series. At any rate, these two episodes don’t appear to have been intended as a pilot per se, especially as the end of episode 2 doesn’t really seem to leave the door open for a spin-off. My guess is that the episodes proved to be quite popular, which is what gave them the idea. As a story, the two episodes are okay, but nothing really special; it seems like your typical “let’s throw in some romance but end it so it doesn’t complicate the original series” type of story.