My wife has given me some great birthday gifts over the years. But one of the very best—and one that I’ve been able to enjoy for a particularly extended period of time—is the Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection DVD box set, which I received shortly after it was released in 2010.
|Darren McGavin's Oliver Spencer (left) could save Steve Austin's life—but not his own job.|
|Balsam left—but the mustache stayed.|
|She wears white even when she's not in uniform.|
Overall, if you accept the time period in which this TV movie was produced and the limited production values, it’s a pretty good start.
“I didn’t like the first Rudy because he wasn’t as funny as the main one (Brooks) and the main one seemed much younger.”
That’s Dusty Springfield singing, by the way. Yeah, I was shocked too.
The first season, which contained only 13 episodes, gets off to a good start with “Population: Zero,” about the entire population of a small town dying under mysterious circumstances. Steve’s investigation leads to a vengeful ex-government scientist demanding to be paid a fortune or he’ll kill another town.
MADDIE: “I enjoyed that episode the first time around, but when I saw it redone on The Bionic Woman, I was like, ‘I know everything that’s going to happen in this!’”
|Farrah as astronaut Kelly Woods, paving the way for Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist.|
MADDIE: “I thought the Farrah Fawcett episodes were ‘eh.’ I wanted to see Steve with Jaime.”
|Best left lost.|
|This episode belongs in kitty litter.|
|Jennifer Darling as Callahan (right): A most welcome addition to the series.|
MADDIE: “I like Callahan a lot! I loved seeing her talking on the phone to her mother, and we see that there are, like, 25 locks on the front door of her apartment! I like the way Callahan talks, she’s very small and very funny and she gets into these crazy situations but she always finds a way to help. I was glad to see her come back in later episodes.”
|An old Baba Booey?|
But most significantly, the second season introduced two more bionic characters—both would return, but only one would capture America’s heart.
|"Let go of me—there's more scenery I want to chew!"|
MADDIE: “I really liked that one. I liked the guy who played Barney—he reminded me of William Shatner! I liked how he hooked up with the nurse that Steve used to date. I didn’t like the way he thought he was better than Steve just because he cost a million dollars more, and he wasn’t nice like Steve. He would always talk out of the side of his mouth. But he was fun to watch because he would always try to do more than Steve and there was chemistry between him and Steve.”
When audiences across America saw these two episodes, they fell in love with Jaime almost as much as Steve did, and they were appalled by her demise. They demanded that the tragic ending somehow be reversed—and at the start of Season Three, they got their wish.
© All text copyright Glenn Greenberg, 2013.