1. Bionic Woman
Oi, what a mess.
I’m not saying there isn’t potential. There’s tons of potential. Which is really the problem. The producers threw everything into this one hour pilot. There’s simply too much happening at once. And it’s not one of those “you need to be smart to keep up” sort of thing. It’s more like “the producers and director needed to be smarter in how they presented and paced all this information to make it more entertaining, easy to understand, and palatable.” I don’t mind working a bit for my entertainment. This was too much work, not enough entertainment.
Bionic Woman is the latest in the perhaps ongoing 70s TV revival. Ever since Battlestar Galactica showed you could take a fairly cheesy, but cult-popular show from the 70s, and make it relevant in the present, it was only a matter of time before it was tried again. Especially since one of the guys behind Galactica is also behind Bionic Woman.
So we have Jamie Sommers (Michelle Ryan) leading a relatively normal mixed-up life. She’s smart, but dropped out of college. She works bar, has cool friends, a messed up sister and a drunk, dead beat dad. Oh, and a hot boyfriend. She’s also pregnant.
Then there’s a tragic accident. Fortunately, her boyfriend works for a secret organization. He has the technology. He can make her stronger...faster. And one ear, eye, arm and two legs later, we have a bionic woman (alas, no bionic fetus, though).
But not the first bionic woman. Turns out there’s another one that everyone thought was dead, but isn't. Oh, and she appears to be quite insane. Plus, there might be another super secret organization with a sinister agenda that has recruited Sommers hot boyfriend’s dad, who has a few secrets of his own. And does Jamie really want to be a secret agent woman?
I need a bionic brain to deal with all this shit. Too much, too soon. Not to mention most of the cast, and that includes Ryan, are fairly boring.
Most, but not all. God bless Katee Sackhoff (who also plays Starbuck on Galactica) who is Sarah Corvis, the first bionic woman. She’s completely nuts and you can’t take your eyes off her when she’s on the screen. The more interesting show would have been one focusing on her and how she was maybe driven completely insane by the process and following her adventures. But we don’t have that. We have this.
Hopefully it will get better. It’s worth another shot to see if they can fix the mess from the pilot. But apparently Sackhoff is only signed for seven episodes this season. Without her around to make things interesting, the show has its work cut out for it.
2. Dirty Sexy Money
We had a rule, back in my days with The Express. And it was, ‘If you can come up with the cool headline, you have to find the story the story to go along with it.” Good headline are much harder to come up with than good stories. So if you come up with one, you needed to find a story.
Now, let us consider some of the TV show titles this fall. Opposite this one is a show called Life. Wow. Chuck, which a good show, doesn’t exactly have a title that grabs you. Hell, I love House (and I seriously loved the first episode this season and what looks like an Apprentice style riff for the next few weeks), but it’s not exactly an attention grabbing title.
And now you have something like Dirty Sexy Money. You can just see the pitch meeting where they were trying to come up with something. “We need a show that sells. Something with sex and money and it’s really sleazy. It’s gotta have a dirty sexy money thing going on.”
I’m not sure I’ll end up watching the show just because it’s following the time-honoured tradition of trashy nighttime soap opera, although it is a little better class than that. That's the type of show I normally have little interest in. Most of the characters that appear to be the focus of show are going to be too aggravating to follow for their eventually comeuppance. There are three saving graces that might persuade me to stick around. Number one is Donald Sutherland as the Tripp Darling (what a great fucking name) patriarch of the dysfunctional Darling family. How can you not like Sutherland? He was the only reason I made myself suffer through the hideous West Wing knock-off last year where he played the evil senator.
The second reason is Peter Krause as Nick George, the newly hired lawyer who has to deal with the Darling family. His estranged father used to be the family’s lawyer, until he died (or did he?) in a mysterious plane crash. He’s a nice moral centre among the chaos of the over-the-top craziness of the rest of the family.
And finally, there is enough humour there to make it intriguing. I don’t know if it will work. They might go completely insane with the show. But I did like the little touches, such as the secretary programming George’s cell phone with a distinct song for each Darling member. The crazed reverend gets a religious hymn. The Paris Hiltonessque daughter gets “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates. And the daughter who George “deflowered” many years ago and who still wants him gets “Pretty Woman” much to his horror and his wife’s fury.
I don’t know if I can take it, but it’s worth seeing which way they decide to go with this. If it’s melodrama, then I’m gone. If they can have some genuine, non-cringing fun with it, then I might just stick around.