(P)REVIEW: BIONIC WOMAN
This was the first script I read when I got my big ol' digital stack of pilot scripts this year (even before Mr. & Mrs. Smith which I'd still like to see the pilot, even if it wasn't that great) and the thing was...I was very skeptical of it. Not because I'm skeptical of remakes, after all...Battlestar and, hey, that David Eick dude is producing this and he does that one show...Battlestar.
My problem was Laeta Kalogridis. To date, I haven't liked anything I have seen that she's written. However, in most cases, I can give her the benefit of the doubt. Lots of films. Lots of film directors. You know how that can be.
My problem is that she was the showrunner on Birds of Prey. That show (never mind the liberties taken with the Batman mythos) was just bad.
When the pilot aired, it was a Wednesday and if you're a comics geek, you know what a Wednesday is all about. At the time, I was working at Dreamland Comics two days a week, one being Wednesday. I convinced the motley gang that usually convened at store closing to go out and eat at Firkin to, instead, order pizza and watch Birds of Prey. My suggestions were significantly more scrutinized after that. Rightly so.
That said, I loved (mostly) the Bionic Woman script. This was an early draft and I thought it could be tweaked up a bit and apparently I wasn't alone. Jamie was still a barista and the sister hadn't gone deaf and back again yet. I just sailed right through it. All eight acts. Well, there was some stuff that didn't quite fire...like the barista stuff, but it's gone now so...huzzah.
And also, Jason Smilovic is showrunning this. I liked Karen Sisco, which he worked on. Couldn't get into Kidnapped and while I didn't like Lucky Number Slevin as much as others did ( I didn't dislike it by any stretch), I think it shows that he's got a good sense of things and so I think he may be a good choice here.
I'm not going to do a run through because, c'mon...Bionic Woman. I think you know the basic deal. She gets wrecked and rebuilt...better, stronger, faster (yeah, I know...that was Steve). However, this time around, Jamie's up with a rich guy who's out to, y'know, save the world. His way. She didn't go looking for this, but it kinda found her. And the fun bit is, there's another Bionic Woman out there already. And she's mean. And she's Katee Sackhoff and she very nearly steals the show.
Not that Michelle Ryan doesn't rock. I totally have a new unattainable crush. She's also pretty good (and with her own accent) in Stephen Moffat's Jekyll right now.
Beyond the changes in the sister, the pilot is way different than the draft I read. Key stuff is still there, but basically, Sackhoff's Sarah got further integrated. Before she was a teaser bit and then showed up much later on and revealed her involvement after the fact, now there's a lot more to her right from the beginning. The changes? All good.
Visually, the show is awesome. Not quite like Battlestar, but there's a vibe coming out of it...sometimes the camera gets a little floaty in that documentary way. It also has it's own little gimmick for the girls that I like. It's just a sharp show.
The rainy climax is just pitch perfect to me. It's got a certain sense of heightened reality about it...or something. That would, ironically, make it a little unrealish. Anyway, striking. Great, subtle FX.
Storywise, I expect it to walk the line between arc and episodic, like Veronica Mars (first year especially) or something, and not like Battlestar with big chunks or arc and then big chunks of not arc. I hope I'm right. It seems a good way to go, especially for a broadcast network show.
Based on just the pilot though, I plan on really digging this show. I want to spec this. I want to fucking write for this. And that's with the sister stuff being changed from what I've seen. This show is many of the things I like. Honestly, I don't really expect others to like it as much as I do. It seems there's a slant out there (genre-wise) towards Reaper or Pushing Daisies (both of which I'll get to writing about). This one, though, excites me and makes me want the next episode right fucking now.
I'll be attending the Bionic Woman panel at SDCC and writing it up for CBR. I link it from here when that happens and probably add a thought or two here afer seeing the new sister stuff.