DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL!
Channel surfing through the decades with Bionic Blonde.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2011
Must See TV
Alas, I am still a sissy. I don’t like sports. I hate westerns. Although I did watch The Big Valley sometimes, but only because I found myself mesmerized by the commanding presence of Barbara Stanwyck, even before I discovered she was a Hollywood legend. Besides, that guy named Lee Majors was really cute, especially back when he was a blonde.
Recently, I've received some nice emails from blog readers who share my affinity for The Bionic Woman, and often the subject of "what other shows did you used to watch?" comes up in the conversation.
So I thought I would take a blog field trip today and highlight some of the other TV series I followed over the years, which I suppose to some degree may have influenced how I inexplicably wound up here. As you might guess, the comedies far outnumber the dramas in my dream television lineup. See if you happened to follow some of the same ones.
In my early years, syndicated reruns of I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show are most vivid, and still remain some of my favorite comedy shows today. In the 70s, I adored The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Carol Burnett Show and (like you), The Bionic Woman. The following decade, I seemed to gravitate towards shows like Cagney & Lacy, Remington Steele, Moonlighting, Cheers, Designing Women, Golden Girls, Murphy Brown, The Cosby Show and Newhart. And for a period of time in the early 80s, I would even schedule my college classes around the daytime soaps General Hospital and One Life to Live. Luke and Laura... Karen Wolek. I knew these characters better than Economics 101.
In the 90s, Friends, Frasier, Will & Grace and The X-Files were my faves. Followed in the 2000s by CSI, Absolutely Fabulous, Gilmore Girls, and more recently, 30 Rock, The Closer and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I know there are a lot more great shows out there now, but I just don’t watch that much television anymore. Reality shows? Puhleeze. Food Network? I can’t cook, no matter how easy those b*tches make it look. But I will say for the record, right here and now, that if Lindsay Wagner would ever agree to go on “Dancing With The Stars,” I would totally DVR it.
While I know many other Bionic Woman fans are, I have personally never been much into sci-fi. (X-Files was about as far as I could go into that genre.) As I apparently had no aspirations to grow up and wear a bathing suit to work, Wonder Woman simply did nothing for me. I always preferred TV shows that were grounded in reality, and mostly with strong female leads with whom I could somehow identify.
My all-time favorite actresses? Ingrid Bergman and Meryl Streep on the big screen, plus a weakness for Doris Day in her light comedy films of the 60s. I also love to watch Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith kick royal butt in period dramas. In television: I still haven't found anybody who can approach Lucille Ball or Mary Tyler Moore for their timeless comic genius, and on the drama side, I would give the superbly gifted Lindsay Wagner, Tyne Daly, Judith Light and Gillian Anderson more Emmys than they already have. I know there are many more immensely talented thespians out there, but these just happened to be tied to the shows that were my must see TV over the years.
On the lead actor side, I have always admired Cary Grant, Dick Van Dyke, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin and George Clooney. I have others that I would (Matthew McConaughey) just give awards to (Brad Pitt) simply for the (Jude Law) guilty pleasure of watching them on screen.
When Sally Rogers wrote for Alan Brady, I learned that women were actually allowed to be writers, too, so as I grew older, many of the aforementioned shows caused me to become more conscious and appreciative of this aspect in a series. While I didn't realize it at the time, Carl Reiner's brilliant scripts on The Dick Van Dyke Show were shaping my expectations for good television at an early age. I remember being blown away by the dialogue banter in the first few seasons of Moonlighting, and that kind of clever, fast-paced comedy/drama script mix never became evident to me again until I happened upon Gilmore Girls 15 years later.
And while I don't want to spoil any future Bionic Blonde episode reviews, It probably goes without saying I would not even be here right now if it weren't for Kenneth Johnson's convincing and emotionally grabbing “The Bionic Woman” story and the character creation of Jaime Sommers on the The Six Million Dollar Man, plus his magnificent 2-parter “Doomsday Is Tomorrow.” Before long, my review of On The Run will also be mentioning Steven E. de Souza for scripting an episode I would never forget. And applause is also forthcoming to Alan J. Levi for his masterful directing in "Deadly Ringer." Without his Hitchcock-esque canvas in this episode, I wonder if Ms. Wagner could have ever gotten the Academy to look beyond her bionic clichés and truly take notice of her tremendous acting talent.
So, for what it's worth, my kudos to the writers, producers and actors of all these shows that have entertained me over the years. If you find many of your favorites are also on my list here, then perhaps this is the same television influence recipe that caused us all to land on this silly little blog celebrating Jaime Sommers and The Bionic Woman.
(not the show, the salutation)
The Bionic Woman and the character of Jaime Sommers are © Universal Studios. This website is produced by a fan just for fun, and is in no way affiliated with, nor endorsed by, Universal Studios or the cast or crew of this series. No copyright infringement is intended.