The Bionic Woman (2007) TV Show premiered to great ratings, 14 million viewers. The show had a hot lead actress, Michelle Ryan, who played Jamie Wells Sommers, she was given a pretty younger sister Becca Sommers (Lucy Kate Hale), and an attractive nemesis in Sarah Corvus (Katee Sachhoff). The intrepid will notice that this is same eye candy formula followed implicitly by U.S. horror films ad nauseam to insure that asses are in the seats. The manufactured, surreal nature of multiple aspects of Bionic Woman (2007), however, quickly demolished its viewership (along with the strike by the Writers Guild of America) to the point where the show never had a full first season (just eight episodes) and was not renewed for a second season. I personally stopped watching the show around episode six, The List. Hot girls can only carry a show so far but why Bionic Woman (2007) failed as a compelling action/spy show is far more substantial than the visual entrée it offered during its short run.
1.) Bionic Woman (2007) was on the wrong television network (NBC).
The first episode or two of Bionic Woman (2007) should have been exceedingly violent and sci-fi heavy. Real sci-fi, like in Moon and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I say violent because the car crash Sarah is involved in makes it necessary for both of her legs, her right arm, her right eye, and right ear to be amputated. Because Bionic Woman (2007) was on NBC, none of the actual damage created by the accident was ever shown on screen in the show’s first episode, Second Chances. First Sarah is being taken to the Wolf Creek Biotech Research Facility, then we see Sarah after the amputations have already completed getting bionic surgery, then they show Sarah after the bionic operations have all been completed. It would have been better for Bionic Woman (2007) to show Sarah on the operating table, legs expurgated, then see the doctors bring her first bionic replacement leg into frame and performing the microsurgery, suturing it into place. Skipping over the blood (the accident damage and the surgeries that followed) and not explaining the science behind how bionics are connected to human tissue, nerves, and bones and worse yet, not even showing those surgeries either, was a bad decision, more egregious than when a similar decision was made at the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith concerning Darth Vader’s mechanical limbs. That scene at least had a cinematic flare to in and panache.
2.) Sarah becoming a special agent but not being issued a side arm.
The continually reason given on Bionic Woman (2007): “You don’t need a gun, you’re bionic.” So in no situation, on no mission, would Sarah find possession of a gun to be advantageous? Special agents with high martial arts skills use weapons for no other reasons than expediency and safety. The Berkut Group did not even train Sarah in firearms yet they sent her into life and death situations where her opponents would most likely be armed with them.
3.) Sarah’s Wolverine-like healing factor.
Because of this inclusion, Sarah was never really in mortal danger, even when she supposedly was so on screen. If she got shot, she would heal rapidly. Cut, heal rapidly. This severely lowered the viewer’s involvement with any danger Sarah got into. The viewer knew she would be okay with the internal hospital, nano-machines called anthrocythes, she was carrying with in her veins.
4.) Most of Sarah’s affrays involved hand-to-hand combat.
In reality, the bad guys fighting Sarah should have been armed, especially if they were Mercs. This was an erroneous decision on the show execs part instituted solely to showcase Sarah’s bionic attributes.
5.) Unnecessary wirework.
Just because Sarah has bionic legs did not mean she had to be jumping all over the place at every opportunity when making a getaway. What would have been more interesting is if the Berkut Group had taught Sarah seduction and she used those skills to get marks between her bionic thighs then crushed them like Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye. That would have been a vastly more entertaining use of her bionic legs than hackneyed wire jumping.
6.) Lack of realistic violence and physics.
When a person gets hit with someone’s fist in the head or the chest, they feel pain, they bruise, bone gets fractured, and they bleed. On Bionic Woman (2007), none of this happened. Viewers watched Sarah punch normal opponents (non-bionic) and instead of breaking their sternum and ribs, causing instant internal damage, dropping them to their knees with one punch, the opponent went flying backwards and hit the nearest wall or post, shattering part of it as if the world they existed in was really The Matrix. How could a human body shatter cement or brick like that? Shouldn’t the person’s body have been the object that was shattered upon impact?
Bionic Woman (2007) could have been a great show (they had all of the necessary elements) and should never have been on cable network station like NBC. The show could have been far more hardcore and realistic if it were on F/X or SpikeTV. Look how bloody and aggressive Sons of Anarchy is and how creative and entertaining Blade: The Series was. HBO or Showtime would have been an even more amelioratory home for the Bionic Woman (2007) series. You only need to look to True Blood to see how Bionic Woman (2007) could have taken the gloves off content-wise.