The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman

The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978)
The Bionic Woman (1976-1978)
Type: Spin Off

   Steve Austin was a man barely alive. But they rebuilt him. They had the technology. Following a bad crash during a test flight, astronaut Steve Austin was rebuilt as the world's first bionic man - half man, half robot (In point of fact, it was later revealed Steve was the second bionic man but...). While he looked human, Steve had two bionic legs that let him run so fast the film had to be slowed down so we the audience could keep up, a bionic eye that let him see miles away and a bionic left arm that, well, let him beat the hell out of anyone. Steve was rebuilt by and worked for a government agency called the OSI (Office of Scientific Information). He fought terrorist, space probes run amok, aliens, Bigfoot... you name it, Steve kicked its ass. He was The Six Million Dollar Man.

   As it turns out, Steve had a girlfriend from high school who he still loved named Jaime Sommers. Jaime was a professional tennis player who, wouldn't you just know it, was critically injured in a skydiving accident about half a second after reuniting with Steve. Steve begged his bosses to save her life by using bionics. And so, because of Steve's love, our government dropped another couple million into a tennis pro! The payback would be of course that Jaime would do work for the OSI when called upon. She was given bionic legs, a right arm and a bionic ear.

   Oh but all was not happy for the bionic buddies. When she recovered, Jamie Sommers had partial amnesia! She started having memory flashes which would cause her to go crazy violent and cause her body to start to reject her bionic implants. It seemed Steve was the cause of her troubles. If she was going to live, she would have to move away from Steve and start a new life.

   So move away she did, to Ojai, California (she and Steve's home town) and into her own show, The Bionic Woman. There she took an apartment with Steve's mom and stepdad. Being bionic she couldn't exactly fairly compete as a tennis pro so when not on assignment for the OSI, she worked as a school teacher.

   The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman were to meet again however in any number of crossovers. Usually the plot would start on one show and continue onto the other and then, depending on the size of the saga, sometimes BACK to the first show again. In one plot, they helped these aliens who controlled big foot see... no I'm serious... see Sandy Ducan played this alien... yes, Sandy Ducan. Anyway, these aliens controlled Bigfoot who was really a superpowerful robot who guarded their secret base on Earth... I'm serious damn it! It was a very cool plot.

   Another major source of crossovers were the femmebots - robots built by a mad scientist to look like women. He would kidnap women and replace them with a robot double. They looked just like real people... only heavier. They weighed enough that they would leave deep crushing footprints in carpets and would destroy any pencil they would step on. That being said, they would occasionally and without a problem walk across flimsy wood planks or the like that should have snapped under that weight but didn't (Continuity guys! Hello?). The other sure sign someone was a femmebot would be if you punched them and their face flew off revealing nothing but mechanical eyes and lots of wiring. Later this guy apparently contracted out his femmebots to Austin Power's Doctor Evil.

   The crossovers stopped when The Bionic Woman was cancelled by ABC and then picked up by competing network NBC. As a side piece of trivia, this move earned actor Richard Anderson a note in TV history. He played Jaime and Steve's boss Oscar Goldman on both shows. The Bionic Woman moving to NBC caused him to be the only actor to simultaneously play the same role on two different shows on two different networks at the same time.

   Years later the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman would reunite for three different TV movies. The first introduced Steve's son who was, surprise, critically wounded so that Steve had to beg for him to be made bionic! Jaime Sommers acted as his therapist to get him accustomed to being bionic. Next came a movie featuring a new bionic woman played by, believe it or not, Sandra Bullock. She played a crippled girl who through a new type of nanotechnology bionics was able to walk again. It also meant she got to be bionic without having to get totally fake limbs like everyone previously. She got to keep her own parts! The third film centered on the long awaited culmination of Jaime and Steve's relationship with a bionic wedding. Just to keep the trend going, the priest was critically injured and... nah, never mind.

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