Ever since NBC announced its much-anticipated remake of The Bionic Woman, fans have been wondering what original bionic woman Lindsay Wagner thought of the new series. Well, she’s seen it and apparently she isn’t all that impressed.
Wagner began playing tennis pro Jaime Sommers in episodes of ABC’s The Six Million Dollar Man back in 1975. She was the perfect mate for former astronaut Steve Austin (Lee Majors) and became bionic after a tragic sky-diving accident. Steve pleaded with his boss Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson) to save her with bionics and their romance was able to continue. Unfortunately, it all came to an abrupt halt when Jaime’ body rejected her bionics and she died.
Fortunately, the audience loved the character and ABC asked that she be revived. We learned later that Jaime had been secretly cryogenically frozen until doctors could find a way to repair the cerebral clot that had ended her life. The surgery was a success except that it left Jaime with some brain damage which included the loss of most of her memories of Steve. Sad as that was, it was the perfect way to launch The Bionic Woman spin-off series with Wagner and Majors making occasional appearances on each other’s respective shows. There was a happy ending to the story years later when Jaime regained her memories, rekindled her romance with Steve, and married him in a trio of reunion movies.
Though The Bionic Woman seems a bit campy today, it was an extremely popular adventure series in the 1970s. It’s no small wonder that NBC decided to remake it and take advantage of the special effects that are now available. What does Wagner think of the new version? She says, “It’s very different. It’s very much like what the shows are today, kind of dark and broody and violent — what people seem to be getting off on these days. So, it’s not at all what we were doing. We were doing a show for kids intentionally and making it fun and make it in such a way that adults could enjoy it, too, with their children.”
The new Bionic Woman series was generally well-reviewed and had the most online buzz of any new series this season. After a strong opening episode of 13.9 million viewers, the ratings have slipped in subsequent installments. The second episode dropped to 10.9 million viewers while the third came in at 10.1 million. The ratings would have to drop quite a bit before the peacock network would consider canceling it, especially considering the network’s disastrous season last year. The network recently ordered three additional scripts but doesn’t have enough faith just yet to give a greenlight for more filming. The original Bionic Woman series lasted three seasons (two on ABC, one on NBC). Despite being “cooler,” will the new version last as long as the original? Time will tell. Stay tuned!