Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why the 1976 Bionic Woman Series was Better Than the 2007 Series

Adapted from an e-mail sent to a friend. Here's why I think the old Bionic Woman series was better than the old in every way:
  • Lindsay Wagner (1976) played her role convincingly; Michelle Ryan (2007) was very stilted in her delivery (she was much better in a Doctor Who special two years later so I'm not dismissed her entire acting career, just her performance in this series)
  • Wagner wore little to no makeup, which made her seem genuine; Ryan had a lot on, which I think actually further distanced her from the audience (I'm not making any guesses as to who made these decisions, just noting the overall effect)
  • Some people the camera just seems to fall in love with, and there is something intangible that happens; Wagner as Jaime the camera loved, Ryan as Jaime the camera shrugged (again, though, the camera seemed to like her Doctor Who character a lot more)
  • The 1976 dialogue, while not perfect and certainly of its time, seemed to resemble human speech patterns; 2007 had characters self-consciously talking in some sort of speech that was supposed to be cool, like an extreme version of Buffy-speak
  • The 1976 series had great sounds effects, very machine-like while I honestly can't recall the 2007 sound effects
  • The 1976 bionic parts used metal and wiring, very easy to visualize, especially since you could see Jaime's face at the same time; the 2007 series used nanotechnology which, while perhaps truer to modern day technology wasn't quite as easy to visualize and lacked the visceral quality of it being very clear that Jaime is missing a few of her original limbs (that is, where the camera shows the bionics, you can't see Jaime's face at the same time because the nanotech is microscopic)
  • Due to licensing rules, the 1976 series could use elements from Martin Caidan's novel Cyborg, while the 2009 series could not, thus losing Steve Austin, Oscar Goldman, or Ruby Wells, all critical parts of Jaime's mythos

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