Revisiting The Six-Million Dollar Man...

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Warped9, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The version on the new Season 1 set does appear to be the original and doesn't include any spliced footage from later episodes.
     
  2. the G-man

    the G-man Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kevin Smith? Does Steve make a lot of pee, poop and pot jokes and is Oscar a repressed homosexual comic book fan?
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Commissioned" doesn't mean "made." Whatever their initial plans were, the fact is that there were only two TV movies aired on the ABC Suspense Movie, not six. The first aired on October 20, 1973 and the second on November 17, with the weekly series premiering 2 months later on January 18, 1974.

    Like I said before, it's important to remember that weekly movie blocks were quite common on network TV in the '70s, and "wheels" like we're discussing here were just one kind of movie block. All the networks set aside regular time slots in which to show movies, but only a very few of those movie-of-the-week schedule blocks were done in the wheel format. Most were just potluck. Some of them might include the occasional recurring series along with all the standalones, but that didn't make them wheels.
     
  4. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    That's good to know. I'm thinking about getting it. I wouldn't necessarily want the whole series, but I might like to have the beginning and the end.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The Solid Gold Kidnapping ***

    Steve Austin races against time to find and rescue a kidnapped high level American official.

    This was marginally better than Wine, Women And War though still not as good as the original pilot film. Once again we have something of a Bondian type story and with a similar feel and sensibility. The distinction is that this is better acted and the rest of the cast is more on par with Lee Majors. But I found much of the writing run-of-the-mill and predictable.

    On the flip side I once again applaud the more realistic depiction of Austin's abilities with very low-key sound f/x.

    It's interesting that after these two lacklustre TV films (after a respectable original pilot) that they decided to go ahead with a series. But I don't recall or have no knowledge of how these TV features were received back in the day.
     
  6. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    All I can say is that I and my friends loved them. But we were all in our early teens at the time.

    I think this last one is the story where Steve rescues the guy by putting him in a wheelbarrow and wheels him out of danger at 60mph; then the guy asks if Steve has any "spare parts in black." :rommie:
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Either that or the cast in the previous one must've been really bad.


    As I said, the weekly series premiered only 2 months after the third movie, 3 months after the second. It takes longer than that to get a weekly TV drama/action series into production, so the decision to proceed with the weekly series must've been made before the movies were aired. Audience response wouldn't have been a factor. It must be that the network execs found the movies promising enough to give the series a go-ahead. Or maybe the ratings success of the original movie alone was enough to warrant a series, and the movies were just meant as a further introduction to bridge the 10-month gap between the first movie and the series.

    Then again, the second and third movies were produced by Glen Larson (which would explain why they were lame) while the weekly series was produced by Harve Bennett. Maybe the network had enough faith in the concept (from the pilot's success) to realize that the weakness of the later movies was due to the producer instead, so they decided to give the franchise to someone they had more faith in. In fact, now that I mention that, it sounds familiar. I think I may have heard or read somewhere that Bennett was hired to "save" the 6M$M franchise much as he was later hired to "save" Star Trek.
     
  8. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Terrible, goofy show. Pure 70s.
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Consider Lee Majors was the only carryover from the original pilot. Gone were Martin Balsam and Darren McGavin. The new cast of Richard Anderson and whats-his-name (I can't recall the new actor playing Rudy Wells) seemed so flat and artificial. All the characters of the second feature came across as caricatures with little nuance or background to make them seem somewhat more fleshed out. Steve Austin played by the same character comes across as more three-dimensional because we already know his backstory and he's played by the same guy.

    In the third feature Oscar Goldman and Rudy Wells come across better because they're given a bit more to do and the actors seem a little more comfortable in their roles. Goldman in particular starts to feel more fleshed out. The guest characters also seem better performed. It's hard to put your finger on any one thing, but a number of little things went to making the third feature more bearable to watch despite mediocre writing and a predictable plot.

    Another strike against features 2 and 3 is the music. The theme song is horrible as is the closing credits theme. And some of the music throughout the features is so dated to the point of being annoying. Unlike much of Star Trek TOS' music it doesn't stand the test of time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  10. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

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    Apologies for any confusion - the versions of the movies in the Season 1 set that was just released are the original broadcast versions - the good ones. The reedits are included in an additional 5-disc set (which also includes the reunion TV movies) which is likely only going to be available as part of the mail-order Time-Life set (though I'm expecting the reunion movies to get some sort of release on their own as they did in the UK).

    In terms of what seasons to get, you're pretty safe getting the first 3 seasons. Season 1 had a vitality to it as they were testing the show's sea legs. Two words to recommend Season 2: Jamie Sommers. Season 3 for the same reason, except moreso because she appears in a number of episodes, plus you get the introduction of Bigfoot and Stefanie Powers (famously a onetime candidate to play Jamie) as alien babe Shalon. As a fan of the series since it first aired as a weekly in 1974, Season 3 has, pound for pound, more of my favorite and well-remembered episodes.

    Season 4 and 5 are starting to get into "fan only" territory. Season 4 had more Jamie crossovers, but it was also the season of "The Moustache" and the show started to falter. (If you want to avoid Season 4 altogether but want to see the Jamie episodes, they're all included in the Season 2 Bionic Woman set). By Season 5, the show was running on fumes. There were still some very good episodes, and I'm looking forward to seeing them (I'm intentionally going through my Time-Life set slowly because I don't want to end my fun too soon after a generation waiting for this thing to hit home video, so I'm only in early Season 4 right now), but the Bionic Woman had switched networks by this point so they weren't allowed to feature Jamie anymore. But Lee Majors did shave off his 'stache, so that's something.

    The movies are a nostalgia trip, but weren't particularly very good, though they tried some interesting experiements. The first movie was clearly a pilot for Steve's now-bionic son Michael, but it's mostly interesting for a) having Steve do things with his bionics he'd never have been allowed to do in the original series, and b) featuring Martin Landau as a scenery-chewing villain - after having got stuck in this rut for the previous decade, very soon after making "Return of the SMDM and the BW" Landau experienced a career resurgence that climaxed with him getting the Oscar for Ed Wood a few years later. The second film was another pilot for a new Bionic Woman series starring Sandra Bullock. I'll let that sink in - and man she was hot in that movie. The last film was a straight-up reunion film and was more relaxed, and gave Jamie some kick-ass action along the way.

    It's a shame some folks hate the show on the simple basis that it was made in the 1970s. I wonder if they ever watch TV shows just for the fun of it.

    Alex
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  11. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    All of which is part of its charm.

    Does he do anything for the fun of it?
     
  12. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You say that like it's a bad thing.
     
  13. marillion

    marillion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sometimes I wish I had been just a bit older in the 70s, when shows like this were new. I only remember watching and enjoying them as a kid.. I don't remember all the cast changes from pilot to pilot, movies rather than episodes, spliced footage (although I DO remember that from BSG)..

    Then again, maybe it's a good thing I don't remember all this stuff..

    Ok, hands up.. Who had the Steve Austin 12 inch action figure with the hole in his head you could look through? I sure did!
     
  14. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    *hand up*

    I did too.
     
  15. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    *Wing Up*

    Me Three
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sometimes it's cool to rediscover a show in reverse, as it were. I grew up thinking of Martin E. Brooks as the Rudy Wells, so imagine my surprise when I caught reruns in the '80s or so and discovered that Rudy had previously been played by none other than Alan Oppenheimer, whom I knew from his work as a voice artist for Filmation Associates, playing roles like Ming on Flash Gordon and Skeletor on He-Man (both of whom had the exact same voice, but Oppenheimer had a lot more range than that, also playing Man-at-Arms and Cringer/Battle-Cat on He-Man, for example).
     
  17. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I watched it for a while then drifted away... the last one I watched was the one where he returned to the Moon, which was being pushed out of orbit somehow, and at the end he turned a nuclear bomb into a shaped charge by hammering on it with his fist and making it possible to force to Moon back into orbit. I wish I was kidding! :eek: :lol: It was a fun show for a while, and I read the first Caidin book too and recall liking it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  18. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    *crest up*

    My brother had Steve and I had Maskatron.
     
  19. Icemizer

    Icemizer Commodore Commodore

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    Still have mine and its still cool.
     
  20. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Me and my brother each had one (my very wise granny tended to buy two of everything to avoid fights).