Monday, October 08, 2007

Bionic Failure

I finally managed to view the first two episodes of Bionic Woman last night. If I could sum up the show in a few words, I would do so and simply leave it at that. But because this ill-conceived remake was so phenomenally bad that I actually woke up this morning thinking about how bad it was, I am forced to blog about it ad nauseum.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

Banking on Super Girl Power themes that made shows like Buffy and Dark Angel so popular, the first episode of Bionic Woman follows the soon-to-be-no-longer-ho-hum life of Jaime Sommers, a young woman struggling to juggle living with her stereotypically whiny teenage sister who was abandoned on her doorstep by their absentee father, with her lackluster job, which she's taken on in lieu of going to Harvard because she feels some kind of obligation to said whiny teenage sister.

We see Jaime at her job, working as a bartender at a really wild looking nightclub. She is not only the most conservatively dressed bartender I've ever seen, but she's the slowest one, too. Is it possibly, Jaime, that all those people crowding the counter are waiting for you to pour that shot with just a little more urgency?

Cut to dinner with the boyfriend of 5+ months where she drops a bomb that's sure to complicate her boring life. Shocker! She's pregnant! How will that affect her life?

By some turns of the wheel, boyfriend--conveniently-placed nano-biologist/mad scientist guy whose name is unimportant and who is even duller than Jaime--drives her home and they are involved in a car accident that (insert medical montage here) results in said mad scientist replacing her legs, ear, eye and one arm with $50-million worth of implants that swirl through her newly-healed flesh like the cooling dredges of a phosphorescent lava lamp.

(Insert some boring conflict stuff here about why the mad scientist was allowed to install all that hardware into his now not-pregnant girlfriend. Question how or why he was even allowed to bring her to this super-secret underground complex.)

Some more turns. Boyfriend helps Jaime escape, but obviously has an ulterior motive. Whiny teenage sister freaks out on her about where her sister's been. The explanation: skiing. This coming from the leader of the "clandestine organization dedicated to protecting the world from threats." Or something like that.

They lost me at the word "clandestine."

At some point, Jaime and mad-scientist boyfriend have boring bionic sex. Not even remotely interesting to watch. I was expecting her to...well, maybe that part of her wasn't replaced. But c'mon! The possibilities for comedy were ignored as much as the opportunity to give Lee Majors a cameo.

Then, boyfriend gets shot by--ta-da!--Katie Sackoff, "the first bionic woman" tasked to end his life, and the only really bright spot to the whole first episode.

Now, instead of using her newfound powers to rush her critically wounded boyfriend to the hospital, Jaime goes after Starbuck--I mean, bionic woman #1. They have a big catfight in the rain on a rooftop. It's a draw. Some more turns and boyfriend is whisked off to the hospital. End of first episode.

By the beginning of the second episode, boyfriend is dead, Jaime finds out that he has a dossier on her as thick as her skull, and whiny teenage sister is still as whiny as ever. Some more stupid stuff happens, Isiah Washington of gay-bashing fame is introduced, and nothing makes sense. At this stage, you can probably tell I'm too tired to explain the rest, but suffice to say, I was not impressed, especially when Isiah speaks a copyeditor's key freak-out phrase: "It was just merely a testing ground."

I could go on and on about the nonsensical plot, poor writing, and the characters' utter lack of personality. I got no sense whatsoever of who any of these people were, or what they were about. Everyone was annoying or boring or both. Moments that had real potential to be awe-inspiring or different fell completely flat or were ripped off from some other show or movie. (See Jaime's jumping the rooftop moment a la Peter Petrelli/Spider-Man/Neo/The Tick.)

Does this mean that the female superhero genre is at its end? No. The problem with Bionic Woman is not in its concept, but in everything else. As a viewer accustomed to the intricate drama of Heroes and Battlestar Galactica, the witty dialogue of Buffy and Angel, and the angst and layers that permeate a simply children's cartoon like Avatar: The Last Airbender, I am forced to have a higher expectation for all my wicked sci-fi robots and chicks and crime and secret organization shows.

To the Bionic Woman writers and producers: please, please, please, pull it together, and for god's sake, give us something worthy to watch!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thankful that it's not the clap

It's not strep throat.

That, at least, is my prediction: I went to the doctor this past Monday and they took a swab to check for strep, but since they haven't returned any results on the test, I'm assuming they've found nothing to be concerned about.

Of course, it always raises red flags when the doctor asks: "Is there any possibility of gonorrhea or clamydia?"

I stared at her blankly. "No."
Doc: "Are you sure? Is there any strange discharge or burning sensation?"
Me: (thinking) Aren't you the doctor? Shouldn't you be telling me if it's the clap? And wouldn't strange discharges and burning sensations be the first thing I'd tell you about? "I'm sure."
Doc: "Well, ask your partner about it."
Me: "Uh...okay."

So thus far, I've ascertained it is not the clap or whatever euphemism they use for clamydia. It seems to be getting better, and I can swallow solid foods now with only a little difficulty (still working on toast and hard, rough foods).

Of course, now I'm actually sick with a touch of a cold/cough, so it's hard telling one way or another. On the other hand, yay for food! Healed just in time for turkey!