15 Things You Might Not Know About THE BIONIC WOMAN - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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15 Things You Might Not Know About THE BIONIC WOMAN

Geek Dave has anatomical damage.

1. The character of Jaime Sommers first appeared in the two-part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man in 1975 titled "The Bionic Woman". When the producers were looking for their Jaime both Sally Field and Stefanie Powers were considered for the role.

2. Back in 1971, Lindsay Wagner had signed a contract with Universal Studios and worked as a contract player in various Universal Television LLC productions. Her primetime network television debut was in the series Adam-12 ("Million Dollar Buff"), and she went on to appear in a dozen other Universal shows, including Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, The F.B.I., Sarge, and Night Gallery (1971, as the nurse in the episode: "The Diary"). Between 1971 and 1975, she appeared in five episodes of Universal's Marcus Welby, M.D. and two episodes of The Rockford Files.

Her casting as Jaime Sommers in 1975 was supposed to be her last role honoring her contract with Universal Television LLC.
3. In her debut The Six Million Dollar man appearance, Steve Austin (as played by Lee Majors) travels to his old hometown of Ojai, California, to buy a ranch that is for sale and to visit his mother and stepfather. During his visit, he rekindles his old relationship with Jaime Sommers, now one of America's top tennis players. While on a skydiving date, Jaime's parachute malfunctions and she plummets to the ground, falling through tree branches, hitting the ground and suffering traumatic injuries to her head, legs, and right arm. Steve makes an emotional plea to his boss, Oscar Goldman, to save Jaime's life by making her bionic. Dr. Rudy Wells and the bionics team rebuild her.
In the second episode Jaime experiences severe and crippling headaches. Dr. Wells determines that her body is rejecting her bionic implants and a massive cerebral clot is causing her headaches and malfunctions. She collapses in Steve's arms and, soon after, dies on the operating table when her body shuts down.

4. The character of Jaime Sommers had proved so popular that ABC asked the writers to find a way to bring her back. In the first episode of the next season, it is revealed that Jaime had not died after all, but Steve was not told. He soon discovers the truth when he is hospitalized after suffering severe damage to his bionic legs; he sees Jaime before slipping into a coma. As Steve later learns, Wells' assistant, Dr. Michael Marchetti, had urged Rudy to try his newly developed cryogenic techniques to keep Jaime in suspended animation until the cerebral clot could be safely removed, after which she was successfully revived.

5. Spun-off into her own series, The Bionic Woman premiered on ABC on January 14th 1976, as a mid-season replacement. With fourteen episodes airing from January 1976 to May 1976, it became the fifth most-watched television show of the whole 1975–76 season –- despite only running for half the season! It ranked behind Maude, Laverne & Shirley, Rich Man, Poor Man, and All In The Family, but ahead of The Six Million Dollar Man. Take that Steve Austin!

6. Jaime's body is reconstructed with parts similar to Steve Austin's, but the actual cost of rebuilding her is not revealed. In a moment of typical sexism of the time, it is said in dialogue to be less than the $6 million it cost to rebuild Steve Austin because the replacement parts for her were "smaller".

7. However, when The Bionic Woman premiered in Germany, the show was called Die Sieben Millionen Dollar Frau, which translates as The Seven Million Dollar Woman. Double whammy!

8. To maintain the show's plausibility, creator/executive producer Kenneth Johnson set very specific limits on Jaime Sommers's abilities. He elaborated,
"When you’re dealing with the area of fantasy, if you say, ‘Well, they’re bionic so they can do whatever they want,’ then it gets out of hand, so you’ve got to have really, really tight rules. [Steve and Jaime] can jump up two stories but not three. They can jump down three stories but not four. Jaime can’t turn over a truck but she can turn over a car."
These limits were occasionally incorporated into episodes, such as season two's "Kill Oscar" in which Jaime fights the fembots and is forced to make a jump that's too far down for her bionic legs, causing massive damage to them and nearly causing her death as a result.

9. The Bionic Woman proved highly popular worldwide, gaining particularly high ratings in the UK. Broadcast on ITV, The first episode of the series ("Welcome Home Jaime") was shown on 1 July 1976 and was the most watched programme of the week, with approximately 14 million viewers. Two weeks later, the show's third episode ("Angel of Mercy") also became the most watched programme of the week.

The Bionic Woman's UK success continued with a further 10 episodes scoring in the top 20 during 1976. The series holds the title of being the only science fiction programme to achieve the No.1 position in the UK television ratings during the 20th century. By contrast, The Six Million Dollar Man never once entered the top 10 rating during its five seasons. Triple whammy!!

10. The season two episode "Deadly Ringer" won Lindsay Wagner a 1977 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role.

11. Although the show performed well across its first two seasons on ABC, the network elected not to renew The Bionic Woman, feeling it was no longer attracting the kind of demographic that ABC wanted.

NBC picked up the show for a third (and final) season, which ran from September 1977 to May 1978 with 22 episodes and featured a new character, Chris Williams (Christopher Stone), as a recurring love interest for Jaime. This was due in part to the change of networks, which prevented further crossovers by Jaime's former love interest, Steve Austin.

12. Although Lee Majors was contractually forbidden to appear in the third season of The Bionic Woman, in a unique situation, Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks became the first actors in history to play the same characters (Oscar Goldman and Dr. Rudy Wells) on two different television series on two different networks,

13. Maximillion, the bionic dog that featured in the third season, was so-named, because he cost $1 million to make.

14. Despite now being on different networks, both The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man were simultaneously cancelled in the spring of 1978. Unlike The Six Million Dollar Man, which ended with a standard episode, a resolution to the series was written and filmed for The Bionic Woman..

Titled, "On the Run", Jaime is called "Robot Lady" by a little girl who has learned about her bionics. Like Steve Austin in the original book Cyborg, she has to come to terms with the fact that she is not quite human. After three years with too many assignments to allow her time to herself, she resigns. However, the people in charge decide that she cannot just be allowed to leave and want to put her into a safe community where they can keep their eye on her. She goes on the run but later realises that she is still the same woman, despite her mechanical parts and goes back to work for the OSI, but with fewer missions and more time to herself.

This final episode was acknowledged to have been inspired by The Prisoner as Jaime is similarly being pursued by entities concerned about the secret information she possesses.

15. Years after its cancellation, three spin-off TV movies were produced between 1987 and 1994. They expanded the "bionic family" and explored a rekindled love between Jaime and Steve. In the final reunion film, Bionic Ever After? , Jaime undergoes a major upgrade, which not only increases the power of her bionics but gives her night vision.

And finally, the bionic couple say their "I Dos".

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