So, I was a huge fan of the original Bionic Woman when I was a child. Huge. I had the Steve Austin doll with the hole in the back of its head, as well as an Apollo capsule meant for GI Joe that I used to reenact his original crash, but it was really Jaime Sommers that had my heart. Meanwhile, my wife, who never saw the original, has been devouring the extensive and very smart backstory up on the new show's website. So we were both very excited by the potential.
And hence, we are both pretty damn disappointed. It was about 5 minutes in, when her boyfriend was spouting the cliché-riddled nonsense about how she was the unpredictable factor in his ordered life that I started to worry. And it just went downhill from there. The pilot's plot is just a patchwork of clichés that relies on a familiarity with the concept, the original, or the standard set pieces of the genre to make any sense. The boss is an asshole because that's what bosses do. Jaime's life is threatened if she doesn't agree to work for them because that's what they did in La Femme Nikita. When she escapes and runs home to her sister, who is worried sick about her, she doesn't tell her "Hi. I've been held captive in a government facility and now I'm bionic." She lies about what's happened to her - not because she has any reason whatsoever to cover for her captors (and isn't going public the easiest way to ensure your safety?) - but again because that's what you do in situations like this. (I caught 5 minutes of Chuck, where his hot spy contact was explaining to him why he couldn't tell his friends where he'd been. That's a comedy, and they handled it 1000x better.)
Now, I could maybe (maybe) overlook this in a pilot, giving the writers time to settle in, if the acting had been good. But apart from Katee Sackhoff, who can do no wrong even when given nothing to work with, the supporting cast is terrible. And poor Michelle Ryan - I've no idea what they saw in her. She is so bad I'm going to have a hard time convincing my wife to watch Jekyll, for which I am very bitter. So, bad script + good acting = I can give it time. And good script + bad acting means I can give it time. But bad script + unwatchable acting means I don't need to worry about this show ever again.
So thank god for Journeyman. I loved Kevin McKidd in Rome, and after this, I think I could watch him read a laundry list. Good, smart show, fantastic naturalistic dialogue, great acting across the board. Yes, it seems to be Quantum Leap on a budget so far, but it's really well done, with enough originality and a few curve balls to keep my wife and I interested. I'll be very curious to see what the explanation for this is - mystical or scientific. My problem with the original Quantum Leap was that a scientific accident resulted in a situation where moral determinacy came into play.(Why should there be a "correct" future and who's calling the shots?) Of course, this was all explained in the final episode, but I never made it that far! With Journeyman, and the lessons learned with shows like Lost, Heroes, BSG, etc..., I suspect they'll have to be forthcoming with answers a lot faster. They've certainly kept the twists coming, and meanwhile, I'm loving what little we've seen so far.