Case Number 22437: Small Claims Court


Universal // 1977 // 1068 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // October 4th, 2011

The Charge

It took millions of dollars to build her up, but a peacock to take her down.

The Case

Ahhh, yes...They could rebuild her, but could they reschedule her?

Despite finishing its second season in the top fifteen and snaring Lindsay Wagner an Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, The Bionic Woman found itself unceremoniously dumped by ABC, a network so powerful at the time it had to cancel hit shows to make room for new ones.

NBC to the rescue!

Or was it? By 1977, the network that presented its programming "in living color," had been cellar-dwelling for nearly a decade. In fact, NBC was doing so poorly in the ratings that during the Battle of the Network Stars's spring broadcast, CBS captain Telly Savalas couldn't resist goading NBC captain Robert Conrad by asking: "Who are these people on your team? What are these shows? I've never heard of 'em!"

Come September, Jaime Sommers and The Bionic Woman crew were further humbled by a new time slot (Saturdays at 8 pm, an hour so neglected that shows from all three networks regularly landed in the Nielsen ratings bottom twenty!) and the loss of her bionic boyfriend, Steve Austin aka The Six Million Dollar Man (who was still at home on the number one network, which strictly forbade any cross-channel fraternizing).

Fortunately, comrades Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson) and Dr. Rudy Wells (Martin E. Brooks) were still in place, but how do you fill the enormous gap left by the man with the Hasbro soul?

A BIONIC DOG, did you say? Well, a bionic dog is what we got! An adorable, (mostly) obedient German shepherd named Max, who trotted along for 15 of the final season's 22 episodes, after the two-part season premiere (originally intended as a pilot) failed to launch a spin-off series.

There was also a new love interest for Jaime in Marlboro-Man-handsome scientist Chris Williams (Christopher Stone, Cujo) and several welcome return visits by OSI secretary Callahan (the perfectly named Jennifer Darling).

This being the era of Star Wars and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, matters at OSI found themselves going positively inter-galactic. In "Sanctuary Earth," an escaped princess (played by 14 year-old future Oscar winner Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets) from a war between two distant planets hides out in Ojai, while being stalked by Hee Haw's own Hager Twins! The good Dr. Rudy is abducted by a low-flying UFO in "The Martians Are Coming, The Martians Are Coming." And then, there's "The Pyramid," housed under an abandoned WW2 bunker in Southern California, inhabited by ancient space Incas with oscillating crystals designed to...oh, never mind!

Back on planet earth, the guest list name-checked Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch), Lynn Carlin (an Oscar nominee for Faces), Keenan Wynn (Dr. Strangelove), and Evel Knievel (Viva Knievel).

But, wait! There's also the two-part "Fembots in Las Vegas," chock-full of Cyborg cat fighting in chorus girl outfits!!

If this stuff is your cup of escapist fluff, then The Bionic Woman: Season Three is for you! The full frame, standard definition colors are vibrant, the Dolby 2.0 mono audio is clear, and each of the five discs comes with extras, including a photo gallery, insider commentary from producer James D. Parriott and writer Steven E. De Souza, a Q & A with Lindsay Wagner, and a podcast from "Bionic Fan & Collector" James Sherrard, who can tell you which episode Jaime first wore the Teardrop earrings that reappeared in third season episode "Brain Wash," if you're into that sort of merciless detailing.

The Verdict

Not guilty, on a technicality, but be warned: The Bionic Woman is nothing if not a guilty pleasure!

Review content copyright © 2011 P.S. Colbert; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile
Studio: Universal
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 1068 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary
* Q&A
* Podcast
* Photo Gallery

* IMDb

* Bionic Woman Fan Site

* Kenneth Johnson