Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

Spoilers? Really?

The networks seem pretty sanguine about the online appearance of the two opening episodes of DEXTER’s second season along with the pilots for several as-yet unaired series, leading some people to speculate that they were let out on purpose.

Next season, why not go for it for real? Get a sponsor to underwrite the show in return for an on-screen corner graphic in the place where the broadcaster’s logo would go. At a stroke, an act of piracy becomes a new revenue stream. Every time a file gets shared or a disc gets copied or passed around among friends, the ad that pays for it goes right along with it.

Yes, I know those graphics are obnoxious intrusions. But it’s either that or DRM.

Spoilers now follow…


I’ve been given a disc with the leaked preview of THE BIONIC WOMAN (or are they just calling it BIONIC WOMAN? There were no credits or captions in the print) and I’d rate it as ‘more or less competent’ – the kind of show you watch until the end and only then get the full sense that your time hasn’t been well-used. It’s no GALACTICA, that’s for sure, although a few of that show’s regulars pass through.

In essence, the parts that are interesting aren’t original and the parts that are original aren’t interesting. It takes far less from its progenitor than it does from BLADE RUNNER, from which it lifts wholesale and without a trace of shame. Instead of runaway replicants with creator issues we have runaway semi-androids with creator issues. Katee Sackhoff starts off in the Darryl Hannah role, then upgrades into the Rutger Hauer role for the show finale… which is a bionic sockfest on a city rooftop in the pouring rain, complete with a hanging from-the-eaves moment!

As Jaime Sommers, Michelle Ryan is a pleasing presence (indie-movie-pretty rather than impossibly-TV-glamorous) but she makes little mark. That may not entirely be her fault – her character takes a passive line throughout almost the entire hour and when she does take action, there’s nothing to make you buy it.

And yet… give me episode two and I’ll probably watch it. Between the high concept and the stolen clothes there was enough to make me feel… I dunno. At home for a while.

(And yes, I’m told that plain BIONIC WOMAN is the title)


This proved to be a workmanlike bash-through of the material, picking up in the wake of TERMINATOR 2 and seeming to pretend that TERMINATOR 3 never happened (originally it was meant to take place in the timespan between the two, but Josh Friedman’s script openly contradicts several aspects of the premise of that forgettable movie).

It starts badly, with the (for me) unforgiveable sin of kicking off with a piece of high action and then, just as the danger seems certain to overwhelm the characters, cutting to Sarah sitting bolt upright in bed and panting. It was just a dream. As a fan of Friedman’s writing, I’m loath to believe that he came up with it or fought for it.

After that the story doesn’t really go anywhere that you don’t expect; but then, given that the point of the franchise is the extended stripped-down chase, you’re getting what you came for. The threat comes from an anonymous army of craggy bodybuilders in the Arnie mould.

Plus-points are FIREFLY’s Summer Glau as their robot protector – I know she ticks all the boxes for cute, but put everything together and it all adds up to weird, which keeps things kind of interesting – and pacy direction from ex-X-Filer David Nutter.

(the proper name for those screen-corner logos is a DOG, btw. It stands for Digital Onscreen Graphic)