Ex-Eastenders star’s show is a Bionic bomb
Sadly not bomb as in ‘da bomb’, or even bomb as in ‘she’s so hot, what a bombshell’ but just plain old- ‘wow, that show really blows’. Michelle Ryan did a spectacular leap from Easties to star in a major NBC remake of Bionic Woman. Obviously she had to fake a (pretty decent) American accent, otherwise she would have had to play a villain. Americans really seem to think that Britain is a nation of moustache twirling, manically cackling, well dressed bad guys. Lord forbid a good guy might have an English accent. Today however, reports are that the show has been canned without finishing its season.
With the full NBC money machine behind it, Bionic Woman took in some of the highest viewing figures of any new show in the US. But testament to a truly awful story that managed to be both somehow dated (two bionic legs and a bionic arm- meh) and boring, viewers ran far, far away. There were THREE versions of the pilot shot. With that kind of indecisive creative vision, of course the show was going to have a certain blandness. This blandness translated smoothly into the performances. A passionless turn from disgraced Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington and Michelle Ryan’s (sorry luv) grating performance as failed to turn the dismal writing into something believable. Even Katee Sackhoff, who by far gave the most powerful performance as the Bionic girl gone bad, could not save this tragedy of a show. When the moments that are supposed to keep us hooked are ones where Michelle’s character Jamie is unable to use her Bionic arm (“Oh no Jamie’s going to have to use the NON BIONIC ARM!”) you know a show is dead in the water.
Bionic Woman has no doubt had a shorter lease on life due to the writer’s strike. However with NBC’s terrible decision to axe the making of any new pilots it looks like we can look forward to more bland and uninventive shows in future. This basically means that instead of making 30-50 pilots a year, from which the best ones will go to air, shows will now either be commissioned or not. Pilot schemes encourage experimentation and risk taking, however by abandoning this process we will see much more conservative decisions being made. This means we can look forward to remakes of previously successful formulas and spin-offs of what is already on TV. Think ‘Law and Order: Parking Fine Unit’. Still, there may be a good side. Maybe Michelle Ryan can pick up an episode playing a villainous compulsive parking fine flouter. She is English after all.