October 3rd, 2007
David Eick, executive producer on Bionic Woman, is also an exec on Battlestar Galactica (Which appeared on the television in Paradise). That show had an unfair advantage when it came to building the show’s concept: a lengthy miniseries in which the characters and plot were established. This allowed it to balance setup and action in a realistic fashion, and made for an absolutely fabulous episode to follow. ’33’ was a gritty realization of the show’s “Humanity on the Run” hook, and was a fantastic hour of television earned through an extensive pilot.
Bionic Woman, unfortunately, wasn’t quite as lucky. They had a clunky opening hour that while, containing potential, struggled with exposition and action and never really created a foundation for the future episodes to follow. As a result, “Paradise Lost” felt like yet another necessarily slow step in the future of the series. And while I don’t think I’m willing to claim the series has no potential, this particular hour did nothing to speed up the process.
After last week’s exposition and actionfest, this week proved two things: the action was non-representative and the exposition just wasn’t enough. We spend a lot of time learning about how this organization works, how their inner structure develops, and not nearly enough time on compelling drama or character development. At one point, a young girl asks Jamie “Who are you?” and I want an answer as well. This episode, very simply, didn’t offer anything to change what was already a problem with the series…but it didn’t add any problems either.
September 26th, 2007
I’ve been in possession of the original pilot for Bionic Woman for quite some time, but I decided against watching it. With recasting and fine tuning being considerable (Deaf sister turns to decidedly not deaf sister), and talks of producer issues, the series is perhaps the second most troubled of the fall season (Next to CBS’ Moonlight). It is perhaps surprising, then, that I found the pilot to be about as good of an introduction to this series as I could expect.
There were certainly problems: some dialogue issues reared their ugly head, specifically the feminist rhetoric coming from a seven year old (Feminist rhetoric? Fine. From someone who would never actually say that? Not fine), and there were certainly certain characters that…well, never became characters. However, the pilot’s focus was not in making us like or dislike these characters, but rather that we could get caught up in this world.
Now, mind you, this is a flawed way of going about things: a general apathy towards a show’s characters is generally a barrier to enjoying the series as a whole. This is why a lot of the pilot’s goodwill comes via Katee Sackhoff, Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck, whose presence immediately elevates Bionic Woman amongst die hard fans of that series (myself included). More importantly, however, is that Sarah Corvus is a character who has history, motive and gravitas; these are traits we are missing for our titular heroine, portrayed by Michelle Ryan.
Wednesdays are a day where there’s a lot of new shows debuting that I’ll probably be talking about at some point in time. Will Private Practice, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, bounce back from a weak back-door pilot? Will Dirty Sexy Money, one of three shows from Greg Berlanti on ABC’s Fall Schedule, take its fantastic cast and make it a primetime soap worth watching? And, as we’ll see tonight, will CBS’ Kid Nation overcome its child labor concerns to emerge as a feel good reality success?I want to answer all of these questions, but in the interest of cutting things down I’ve chosen two shows on Wednesdays that interest me that I’ll be covering in more detail. Considering that both are in danger of cancellation, I might be adjusting my Wednesday schedule (especially if Lost returns on the night early next year)
I believe the adjective being thrown around for Pushing Daisies is “twee,” and I can’t really argue with that: its charm is perhaps its greatest asset, and Bryan Fuller’s series is the kind you fall in love with. I consider it my duty to cover it more closely, if only to help stave off its cancellation the best I can. Plus, it should be interesting to see how a fantastic pilot adapts into a procedural drama.
Pilot Preview: ‘Pushing Daisies’
NBC’s remake of the 70s property is getting a lot of buzz from NBC, but the huge changes from its pilot and Isaiah Washington’s casting certainly provide an extremely interesting perspective to the new season. My interest is piqued by the concept and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as the villain, but it should also prove an interesting case study for pilot changes as well.
Cultural Learnings’ Bionic Woman Coverage