The Six Million Dollar Man: Series 2 [DVD]
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Complete second season of the classic action series. Astronaut and test pilot Steve Austin (Lee Majors) was almost killed in a plane crash. Fortunately for him, the government had the technology to rebuild him with experimental bionic parts, giving him super-speed and strength. To repay the government for their help, Steve joined the Office of Scientific Investigation and uses his superpowers to help fight crime, espionage, and space aliens. In this season, the Bionic Woman is introduced for the first time, Steve retrieves a nuclear warhead from a former WWII Japanese pilot's home, saves the last Golden Cougar from extinction and battles his doppelganger who's stealing secrets from Oscar's office, then assumes his identity to get to the bottom of the plot. All in a morning's work for the man-machine. Episodes included: 'Nuclear Alert', 'The Pioneers', 'Pilot Error', 'The Pal-Mir Escort', 'The Seven Million Dollar Man', 'Straight on 'til Morning', 'The Midas Touch', 'Deadly Replay', 'Act of Piracy', 'Stranger in Broken Fork', 'The Peeping Blonde', 'The Cross-Country Kidnap', 'Lost Love', 'The Last Kamikaze', 'Return of the Robot Maker', 'Taneha', 'Look Alike', 'The E.S.P. Spy', 'The Bionic Woman (1)', 'The Bionic Woman (2)', 'Outrage in Balinderry' and 'Steve Austin, Fugitive'.
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This season has a number of great episodes:
The Pioneers - Oscar and Rudy secretly use two astronauts as part of an experiment in cryogenics. It goes wrong and the capsule crashes. Pre-MASH Mike farrell plays the crazed astronaut who reacts badly to the chemicals and becomes super strong. Steve tracks him through the forest and fights him in a couple of nice sequences.
The Seven Million Dollar Man - this is my all-time favorite episode. Monte Markham plays Barney Miller (changed to Hiller in a sequel episode thanks to the Hal Linden series), a man who was given four bionic limbs before Steve's accident. Barney can't handle it and gets drunk with power. There are two amazing bionic action sequences: the first when Barney roughs up a gang of terrorists ("it's wild Steve! It's wild!") and the final showdown between Steve and Barney. Also, a bionic arm-wrestling match is great fun to watch. There's a nice joke at the end which Lee Majors delivers nicely and this episode becomes a classic.
Straight On 'til Morning - Meg Foster plays a stranded alien colonist trying to get home. A good7 years vefore ET, Steve helps her get there.
Deadly Replay - Steve gets to relive his accident in the rebuilt lifting body he crashed, to finally conclusively discover that it was not his fault.
Return of the Robot Maker - awful title, but a great episode. A sequel to The Day of the Robot (actually the thrid in the trilogy which also included Run, Steve, Run from the first year), Henry Jones returns with an Oscar Goldman robot. There's some amazing action as Steve dodges a war games session. The episode caps with the great Steve vs Oscar bionic fight. Looks like Richard Anderson had a great time in a role he would sort or re-do in the later Six Mil/Bionic Woman crossover "Kill Oscar."
Steve Austin, Fugitive - The season finale is another sequel, this time to the first year's Eyewitness to Murder. Steve is framed for murder by Gary Lockwood, who returns as Hopper, a criminal he put behid bars. This is also the first appearance of Jennifer Darling as Callahan.
Finally (but not the last episode) is the great Bionic Woman two part episode. Steve reunites with his childhood sweetheart Jaime Summers (Lindsay Wagner). The fall in love all over again, but their new life is endangered when she is critically injured in a shydiving accident. Steve begs Oscar to save her with bionics. He does for for a price: he will ask her for her services when needed and Steve must allow it without argument. Steve agrees. She is saved, and after a period of adjustment, Jaime accepts Steve's marriage proposal. All seems swell, but Jaime seems to be having shooting pains and bionic spasms she keeps to herself. Then, Oscar calls in his marker. Steve falters in his promise, but Jaime wants to repay Oscar for saving her life and they both go on a mission. Her spasms and pain nearly cause the mission to fail, but they get away with it (recovering a perfect money printing plate). But the real tragedy comes when Rudy Wells discovers her body is rejecting the bionics and she suffers a massive cerebral hemmorage. And dies.
This is an epic, heartbreaking episode, one that rightfully earns its place in television history. One one thing keeps this episode from being my favorite: Lee Majors sings. Not just a little number for color, but at least three full songs! It wouldn't be so bad if he could sing, but his attempts are laughable. Not only that, they take away from the drama of the story. Such a shame, but not even his paethic warbling could ruin so classic a story. Only the follow-up at the network's insistence in the third season would render this episode's climax hollow.
another downside: the print of the Bionic Woman is not the original two part episode. It is the video edit version, which motis the end credits of part one, the intro and recap and episode titles of two. There are jumps in music and scenes, the joins are obvious. It's clear Playback is giving us the syndicated versions of each show, although uncut. The Bionic Woman's "Kill Oscar" release in that show's second year makes it obvious.
The transfers are acceptable. Hopefully, the legal issues which have kept this series off of American DVD will be cleared up and the series will be remastered and restored. It would be great to have the series complete, with crystal clear picture and with the crossover episodes rightly placed in the respective series' running order (with counterpart episodes included as bonuses like in the Magnum PI sets, etc.).
Until then, these will have to do and it's a great placeholder to keep the impatience down. Hopefully, Playback with finish both Bionic shows soon.
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