I selected the episodes of the bionic series that we’d watch quite some time ago. I chose the ones with the big-name villains, and the ones with interesting guest stars. Spencer Milligan, Vito Scotti, and Christopher George are in this one. I didn’t pay attention to what the stories were actually about.
But I’m glad I picked this one for the novelty. It’s a remake of Mann Rubin’s story from the first season of Six, “Survival of the Fittest,” only with Jaime and Rudy Wells in trouble, and not Steve and Oscar. They even have the medical student who needs redemption, a wound that needs cauterizing via the wires in a bionic finger, and the producers hired the same three actors for the airplane’s crew so that they could reuse some footage of them bouncing around a cockpit and shouting “Mayday!” About the only thing new to this story is Scotti’s character, a swooning romantic fool named Romero who’s besotted with Jaime.
Marie had a late day and came home about six minutes before the end of the story. “Didn’t we watch this story just a few months ago with different characters?” she asked. If he noticed, our son didn’t say a word. He was thrilled by the plane crash and scared of the snake as though they were brand new problems.
I don’t want to watch all of the Bionic shows – we’d be here for years! – but I wanted to show my son some of the classic episodes, and that meant picking up some low-priced sets of the series, and so we might as well look at a few other installments, principally the ones with interesting casts. So about eighteen months ago, I had a careful look over an episode guide – yes, eighteen months ago, I enjoy planning ahead – and picked five of the first thirteen episodes.
But as it was so long ago, I didn’t remember who was in these episodes that made me want to pick them! So in this story, written by Mann Rubin, in which our heroes and some other survivors of a plane crash are being stalked on a Pacific island by villains who want to kill Oscar Goldman, we got to see Laurette Spang, who we’ve seen in a later episode of Isis, along with Christine Belford, who would play Baroness Von Gunther in the first episode of Wonder Woman, as a nurse.
Our son didn’t remember either of them, but what he did recall pleasantly surprised us. Among the cosmetic changes that the show’s new executive producer, Harve Bennett, initiated when he took the show from movie-of-the-month to a weekly series, there’s the iconic “running in slow motion” to indicate super speed. Steve shows off this power when one of the villains coshes Oscar and leaves him unconscious with a huge snake bearing down on him. Steve slow-motion-rushes to save the day, and our son said “Hey! He runs slow like they did in that Bigfoot show!” I’m glad that he remembered that. It bodes well.
The other cast reasons I probably picked this episode out for a watch: James McEachin, whose Universal series Tenafly had just been axed by NBC, plays one of the villains, and Jo Anne Worley, who was spending her post-Laugh-In days appearing as a guest star on everything, is the comic relief character. It’s not a bad story. Our son enjoyed it and was able to follow along, and it has a few pretty good action scenes.