After having a huge success with the looooong awaited release of The Bionic Woman Season One last year, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has followed it up with (what else?) Season Two. If you grew up in the 1970s, you were likely as big a fan of this show and its Six Million Dollar Man counterpart as I was. I have written many words on this site about my affection for these iconic shows (not to mention the massive boyhood crush I, and countless others, had on Lindsay Wagner), and I am about to write more.
As much as I loved Season One (and I did), Season Two ups the ante not only in quantity (nearly twice the episodes in this package as in Season One), but in quality. Things start off in classic fashion as the two-part crossover episodes The Return of Bigfoot Part 1 & 2 pit Jaime Sommers and Steve Austin against time-traveling aliens and Sasquatch. Yes, this is Grade A cheese, but from a purely nostalgic point of view, these episodes had me grinning from ear to ear. It’s hard to hate anything which boasts Ted Cassidy (The Addams Family) dressed up like Bigfoot.
Other Season 2 highlights include the epic, 3-part, crossover storyline Kill Oscar in which John Houseman unleashes his Fembots upon the OSI. These episodes alone make this set worth its already reasonable purchase price. (And, is it just me, or does Lee Majors spend an inordinate amount of time in these episodes running around with his shirt off?) The story which follows that, Black Magic, is also a lot of fun (… though it has nothing to do with magic, black or otherwise). It features Vincent Price in a dual role, a spooky old mansion, classic film stars all scheming to win a deadly scavenger hunt, and Lindsay Wagner looking absolutely stunning dressed like a Gypsy fortune-teller. Two more 2-part episodes stand out: Doomsday is Tomorrow and Deadly Ringer – the latter would garner Lindsay Wagner her first Emmy Award for Best Actress, as she played Jaime Sommers and her troubled doppleganger Lisa Galloway.
The bonus features on this 5-disc set leave a bit to be desired, but are certainly better than nothing. Chief among them is an 11-minute featurette called Bionic Blast, which continues what the Season One featurette Bionic Beginnings started. Much of the discussion here regards the stunt woman and stand in who made Lindsay Wagner’s work a bit easier. There are also four commentary tracks: two by series creator Kenneth Johnson (Doomsday is Tomorrow Parts 1 & 2) and two by Lindsay Wagner (Road to Nashville and Biofeedback). While Johnson’s loquaciousness reveals a staggering amount of knowledge about these shows (especially considering they were made 35 years ago), Lindsay Wagner is decidedly more laid back, and it is quite entertaining listening to her reminisce about a show which she obviously enjoys as much as her fans. Other than a photo gallery, that’s it for the bonus content. (Well, technically, this set refers to the two crossover 6MDM episodes as “bonus content,” but … come on.) Like I said, there isn’t a lot, but what’s here is pretty cool.
The discs round out like this:
6MDM – The Return of Bigfoot
The Return of Bigfoot Part II
In This Corner, Jaime Sommers
Assault On The Princess
Road To Nashville
6MDM – Kill Oscar Part II
Kill Oscar Part III
The Vega Influence
Jaime’s Shield Part II
Doomsday Is Tomorrow
Doomsday Is Tomorrow Part II
Deadly Ringer Part II
Jaime And The King
Beyond The Call
The DeJon Caper
The Night Demon
Iron Ships And Dead Men
Once A Thief
Not all of the episodes here are as good as those gems I mentioned earlier. Although looking back through that list, nothing bad is springing to mind. I don’t think I was crazy about Sister Jaime … then again, that was the episode where Oscar Goldman is driving down a country road and comes across some nuns tending sheep in the middle of it. He gets out and tells them, “I’m sorry ladies, but you’re going to have to get the flock out of here.” I don’t know how that line got slipped in, but I about busted a gut from laughing.
No matter the quality of the individual episodes, the talent, charisma, and beauty of Lindsay Wagner make all the difference. Quite often the script doesn’t give her a lot to work with, and yet with a tiny smirk, or a roll of the eyes, or a subtle giggle, or a tremulous whisper, she gives this character a rich, and rare, humanity – not bad for a sci-fi kids show. We CARE about her … especially when she’s battling those creepy Fembots.
Here’s hoping that before the year is out, Universal sees fit to release The Bionic Woman Season 3 (the NBC season, after ABC’s cancellation). Come to think of it, they should include the 3 reunion movies in that set, like the massive 40-disc complete 6MDM box set did. Just an idea. (Yeah, I know they weren’t very good, but they would complete the set, and who wants to pay for them? Plus, you get 1989-era Sandra Bullock as the bionic girl, remember?) Until then, this is pure nostalgic candy. Highly recommended.
THE BIONIC WOMAN SEASON 2: GRADE A-
BONUS CONTENT: B
Continue on to The Bionic Woman Season 3 DVD review.
NOTE: there is a brief problem with the soundtrack during the opening minutes of Deadly Ringer Part 1 – a problem which many of the commenters on Amazon feel is an unforgivable sin. It was a little annoying, but certainly not the unforgivable faux pas that some of these haters feel it was. (Sheesh, and I thought I was anal retentive.) Regarding this, Universal has released the following statement: Every episode in the Bionic Woman Season 2 DVD release has been digitally re-mastered for optimal viewing. However, the remastering cannot correct flaws that either were part of the original presentation or that happened over the passage of time. Certain moments within select episodes from Season 2 may include noticeable moments of imperfect picture or audio. This is reflective of the source material which unfortunately, is the best source material that is available to the studio and cannot be corrected. The episodes are still included in the set to provide as complete a collection as possible.
In fine: be thankful we’ve got this. We only waited 35 years.