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James Hibberd

'Bionic Woman' Hits Bottom

November 8, 2007 10:38 AM

Bionic Woman (NBC)Continuing its ratings freefall, NBC’s “Bionic Woman” hit a new low Wednesday night and came in last place among major networks in the 9 p.m. hour.

After such a strong start last month, “Bionic” has dropped with every telecast amid ongoing behind-the-scenes showrunner turmoil. In its six episodes, the “Bionic” narrative has paired Michelle Ryan’s Jamie Summers with several potential on-screen partners rotating through the show as if on a lazy Susan, looking for a match.

Meanwhile the show has similarly cycled through producers, with reports of writer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights”) recently taking over the writers room, and others reporting that Jason Cahill (“The Sopranos”) is running the show, all of which continue to receive a “no comment” from NBC (itself a sign of trouble—who’s in charge of a prime-time show should not be a backroom secret).

“Bionic” scored a 2.7 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49, with NBC coming in fourth place for the night. Lead-in “Phenomenon” (2.2) was down from last week and “Life” was on par (2.6).

ABC won the night with the 41st annual CMA Awards, matching last year (5.4).

CBS was second with “Kid Nation” up a notch (2.1), “Criminal Minds” up a few ticks (3.9) but “CSI: NY” hit a low (3.5).

Returning to originals after airing the World Series and then repeats the last couple weeks, Fox came in third with “Back to You” (2.2), “Til Death” (2.4) and “Kitchen Nightmares” (2.9) returning to relative lows.

The CW came in second place in the 8 p.m. hour with a strong “America’s Next Top Model” (2.5), while “Gossip Girl” was on par (1.2).


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Comments (25)

That's too bad. The show is actually improving! The tone is a bit lighter, the kid sister a bit more likable, Miguel Ferrer's character less coldly amoral and more "exasperated uncle" (which works), Jaime did more super bionic stuff, and the heroes are all more sympathetic. And it isn't raining all the time.

The next thing they should do is figure out some excuse for Michelle Ryan to use her own cool Brit accent. They could just claim that her accident, and the surgeries, that followed it made her brain switch permanently into the "fake" Brit accent she used two weeks ago -- and she can't snap out of it. Then she'd be the only Brit-talking super-heroine on network TV, and she'd amp up the charisma factor by ten.

Give the show a chance! They were working on fixing it before the strike happened, and their efforts were starting to pay off!

I know I'm not the first to say this, but this show just seems like a bad "Alias" ripoff, just less interesting.


She doesn't do enough super-human bionic stuff and she isn't that charming.

They introduced a another love interest way too early.

She and her sister look nothing alike.

Don't know why, but her face really bother me too.

oh well, she was good on Jekyll (BBC).

Steve Jalar:

I haven't even tried to watch _Bionic Woman_ the last 2 episodes. Michelle Ryan just isn't believable in the role, either because of her flat acting, or she's just too slight and young to carry the part. It's disappointing in light of the _Battlestar Galactica_ connection in David Eick, it would have been great to see lighting strike twice in again revamping a 70's sci-fi cartoon into a valid drama. Instead it's just a muddled mess.

Bo Harper:

Having watched the original back in the 70s, I've really enjoyed this new version. However, I agree that at times it seems overly reminiscent of Alias. And while some of the special effects are much improved, some (like when Jamie bends steel) still look cheesy. Overall, I really do hope this show gets a chance to find itself. I was skeptical about Michelle Ryan at the start, but I think she's gorgeous and makes the role her own.


The reason for this show has nothing to do with tone ("too dark", "too light") and everything to do with the acting and the execution of the concept. If they wanted the show dark and rainy, they should have cast appropriately; MR seems like a nice young lady, but she is not hero-material.

Got to love the reruns~:

If they wanted to have a successful show they should have brought back Lindsey Wagner and incorporated her in to the show. I for one saw the Bionic Woman as in icon growing up and had she been part of the show I would have tuned again.

But this was just another feable attempt to redo a successful show - think Charlie's Angels.

How about admitting that the actresses that created these characters did their job at getting us to love them. Don't dish the original actors, incorporate them!!


Hard to watch a show about a former bartender who suddenly is smarter and knows more than everyone inside and outside of government. She just knows everything doesn't she?
Bring it back in September with a Re-boot and have the bad bionic blond become the good bionic blond and become the lead....that woman can act.


A perfect example of a show that NBC will use the WGA strike as a reason to pull the plug on.

Brion Finlay:

I agree that Jaimie doesn't do a lot of super-human bionic stuff and I agree that she isn't that charming - her character seems a bit self centered and arrogant.

However, I think Michelle Ryan *is* believable in that role - I know quite a few 20 something year old women who are quite self-centered and arrogant. This one just happens to have been fitted with bionic parts without her choosing.

I don't think that's the major problem with the show - after all, it worked for Buffy.

What this show lacks vis a vis Buffy or Eick's Battlestar Galactica, or shows like Heroes or Jericho is character development in the supporting cast. We don't know anything about anyone else on the show or the universe that the show exists in.

So we don't care about the others, and I think that is what makes it seem more important that the main character should carry the show with flashy bionic fx or incredible charm and wit. But I think even if that were added to her character, the show would still be boring if she didn't use her bionic fx or bionic charm to actually DO something to engage her environment or the other characters in the show.

It wouldn't really take much to kick this show up to Heroes quality - only to start showing us some more about what the other people are doing in this world, and to let us know what the stakes are.

Who this show is missing vis a vis Buffy or Battlestar Galactica or Heroes is Joss Whedon or Ron Moore or Jeph Loeb. The cast is fine. Its the writers that will make the difference.

Bionic HangNail:

Last night's episode where Jamie and Tom the CIA dude go to Paris was so LAME. The show is turning into a weekly CHICK-FLICK movie on TV where the chick happens to be bionic. I like looking at Michelle Ryan, but the show's producers (whoever they are at this point, nobody really knows or cares at this point!) are losing the MALE audience. The show has become a weekly one-hour CHICK-FLICK movie for ONLY chicks who want to see the BIONIC GIRL go all gaa gaa over that boring CIA guy. Who cares about that CIA guy? Good God, the new BIONIC WOMAN show is not even a good ALIAS copycat show at this point. Maybe the writer's strike will save this show because maybe when the writer's strike is over, NBC will either go back to what the writing was that made the pilot so good -OR- NBC will get better writers to turn the show into a better show. Maybe they should have given the CIA guy a name like Steve Austin and then maybe we would have become more interested in the show by wondering when they would put him in an accident after which they would have to put bionics on the dude and then we could become more interested in an idiotic bionic love story between the new Jamie and new Steve bionic couple where we know there is a bionic breakup between the two.... And where's Sarah ("Mad Bionic Girl") Covis? And whatever happened to that guy who was sewing up his arm in the pilot? And what about all the other background plotlines like the five-year lifespan for Bionic People. Is Jamie actually going to die at the end of five TV seasons? Or is Jamie going to die after five more episodes of bad ratings? The production values are up for the BIONIC WOMAN show, but the show's writing is going down the drain towards possible eventual cancellation and therefore Michelle Ryan may look forward to doing car commercials and mattress commercials on U.S. American television in the future just like Lindsay Wagner.


agreeing wiht most comments so far. but no one has mentioned the increasingly abysmal writing. taking last night for instance, here's just one example: how is it that jamie can walk into a room and id a dozen guys from across the room, most of whom are barely looking her direction, yet cant seem to get a read on a guy standing 2 feet from her with full face in view. i'll tell you why. cause the lame writers couldn't come up with anything more creative to ratchet the suspense and get them down the the wine vault. dumb, dumb, dumb. that is just one example in last night's episode that is indicative of the boring, trite, and down-right derivative (yes, a bad version of alias) writing that seems to be getting worse and worse.

it would seem as tho the studio has been using ucla students for writing staff way before the strike hit.

Oh, that's a shame. I've been quite enjoying that series - it's one of the few new series I've been watching in fact. 6 episodes is way too few for a new series to settle down and get into its groove, so to speak. I hope they don't cancel it before it gets a chance.

Dancing Without Bionics:

I can't wait till January 2008 when NBC tries to compete with FOX's new Terminator show by re-doing and re-naming BIONIC WOMAN by dumping Michelle Ryan's Jamie Sommers and re-placing her with Katee Sackhoff's Sarah Covis and then calling the show: THE BIONICNATOR: THE SARAH COVIS CHRONICLES. Sarah Covis would have weekly bionic battles with humaniod-looking robots from the future while also fighting her bionic-enduced mania causing by the FIVE-YEAR lifespan death sentence of Bionics. And every other week of this EXCITING BIONIC TV SERIES that is broadcast on BIONIC WEDNESDAYS, Sarah would be having MAD ENHANCED BIONIC SEX with Jae or with some mad Steve Austin-type character who tries to turn her to good side of bionics marketing where Sarah begins a modeling career on NBC's new bionic version of AMERICAN'S TOP BIONIC WOMAN MODEL show hosted by Tyra Banks whom NBC is trying to steal away from The CW.


I love Michelle...nice bod and great lips and she is a good actor but the show is real poor...please don't even mention Alias in the same paragraph as this show. That show's first 2 seasons were as good as any show ever to be on the tv.

Steve Johnson:

It's unfortunate but hopefully ratings will improve next time out. I for one really enjoy the series, think MR is doing fine and that people should give the show more time to find its sea-legs, there are so many angles the show could take.


I have only watched and will watch only one episode of this show. I grew up watching the original. In my opinion this shoe is a slap in the face to Lindsay Wagner, the true bionic woman. I agree with the other posters who have said that Ms. Wagner should have been made part of the show somehow.

I have watched every episode of Bionic Woman and agree with quite a few thing already written here.
The first major problem the show has is the writing. Plot holes so big even Jaime's bionics can't carrier her through . They have created a lead character who is so spoiled and unlikable that the audience doesn't care what she does. I realize that they have tried to make her more likable as the show has progressed, but she still acts like a spoiled brat at least once or twice a show.

You have a person in a dead end job and a bleak future and yes she was in a horrific car wreak so she has a few demons . But instead of thanking them because they saved her life and made her better and have opened up a exciting new life for her, time and time again she has acted like a spoiled, petulant brat; who has betrayed the company over and over again to get back at them for not being honest to her and letting her do things her way.

Get a new staff of writers, create a new show bible, You need the lead to be likable, you need interesting things for your lead to do. Major villains would be nice besides the other bionic woman . Bring back the doctor/boyfriend who wasn't mortally wounded in the pilot but somehow died in the second episode as a villain. Anyone on the show heard of story arcs ? Make the support staff more interesting.

How about some cybernetic shock troopers who's new limbs aren't as advanced as Jaime's but are just as deadly. just when things start to look like she has the hang of it, Rip Jaime's normal arm off and give her a new one. Anything would be better than what they have come up with so far.

This show had so much potential and they have totally wasted it. They need writers who have an exciting and compelling vision and who have the talent to put that on the page and then onto the screen.

Dave L:

I have said sence day 1 NBC is done when they tried all these old re makes I said for sure they were finished, don't want to tell you but I told you so. there lucky to have football once a week thanks Dave L

Dave L:

I have said sence day 1 NBC is done when they tried all these old re makes I said for sure they were finished, don't want to tell you but I told you so. there lucky to have football once a week thanks Dave L

Dave L:

I have said sence day 1 NBC is done when they tried all these old re makes I said for sure they were finished, don't want to tell you but I told you so. there lucky to have football once a week thanks Dave L

Bobbie L. Washington:

I've read most of the post and apparently there are some who are still watching this show hoping it will turn around. Many have hit their observations right on point. For me, I held out that this show would do well, unfortunately, there were some hackneyed plots and characters the writers pulled from B and C level development. The angst ridden teenage sister needs to be shipped out with the hackneyed derivative absentee parents. Why is this woman who is clearly socially active saddled with babysitting a spoiled know-it-all brat kid sister? The parents aren't dead so let them own up to their responsibilities. How bionic is she? In this era of technology, she should be able to do more with the new technology than the original version. Why is she such a pollyanna? In a world of terrorist, why is she questioning if a person is good or bad based on their attractive looks? And I agree with the lame CIA boyfriend plot. This is such a tiresome ploy. Who falls in like, let alone love in 15 minutes in these stories that you are suppose to buy, hook, line and sinker?

All the elements are there for this not to fail and yet it is languishing under poor writing from guys who are perhaps to young, watched too much Brady Bunch, never experienced hardship or tragedy and get all of their ideas from soap operas. One post was right, this is becoming to CHICK-FLICK. She is supposed to be kicking ass and doing feats of daring. Has any of the writers seen The Matrix, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, X-Men?

Maybe with all of the changing at the helm and NBC weasels tinckering with it rests the problem. Maybe they should let those who post these comments give them better alternatives to the storylines. Get rid of the teenage sister would be a first start of if anything, here's a thought, make her smart and reliant and not some a-typical get drunk, throw a wild party with your shallow friends, drive a car and get caught by the police, yadda, yadda yadda. Sigh! All teenagers are not that irresponsible. Let her in on ther secret and make her an asset rather than an anchor.


This show is just absolutely awful in every sense of the word. Production, acting, story, you name it.
I managed to watch the pilot and half of the second episode.
I guess they gave every monkey in the world a typewriter...


Couldn't watch the show after the first 4 or 5 episodes. The character of Jamie is so out of sorts for who and what she is, it just doesn't make sense. Honestly, part of what made the original work so well was the naivete of the main character. Here, Jamie is a one-stop-femo-shop. She's a psuedo-mom, a sister, a lover, a spy...it's just too much and too muddled. Why mess with the original ?

I want this to succeed. I really do. But the n BW producers need to take some advice from the people who have reinvented Superman for the small screen in the guise of the brilliant Smallville.

Meanwhile, too - the BW producers need to start respecting the mythology of the original series, and they have to cool it with all that dark edgy stuff, stop having the new "Oscar" killing people.

And for pity sake - please stop it with all those rediculous "let's try to be cool" shaky camera angle moves.

Just place the friggin' camera on the actors and and let them act.

Herbie J Pilato

(Order your copy via HERBIEJTVBOOKS@aol.com)


I really liked bionic woman! I thought it was a good show. I think it's worth saveing and anyone else who does should E-mail NBC.Com and write in and tell them to save the show! COME ON GUYS!!!

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