In 1973 ABC debut a television series that would become a pop culture phenomenon of the 1970′s, “The Six Million Dollar Man”. That series would propel Lee Majors into superstardom, lead to a successful spin-off called “The Bionic Woman”, huge merchandising sales with dolls and board games, and become one of the network’s biggest prime time hits.
For years “The Six Million Dollar Man” did not see a DVD release due to licensing issues with Universal and its original creators, but in 2010 the entire series was released through “Time-Life”. Now, if people couldn’t afford the complete box set or couldn’t buy directly through “Time-Life” all seasons of “The Six Million Dollar Man” will become available for purchase individually.
On November 29, 2011 season one arrives in stores. This 6 disc collection contains all 13 season one shows, the very first three telefilms that launched the series, and a slew of bonuses including the featurettes “How Science Fiction Is Becoming Science Fact” and “An Iconic Opening: The Six Million Dollar Man Show Never Disappointed”, season 1 VIP’s: A Celebration of The Six Million Dollar Man Guest Stars, an interview with executive producer Harve Bennett, and Interactive Bonus Feature: “Bionic Breakdown”.
The video is Full Frame (1.33:1), the audio is English-Mono, and subtitles are in English SDH.
All three telefilms have been fully restored from their original broadcasts with their original openings and the episodes look impeccable.
The following is a list of the three television films of “The Six Million Dollar Man”, all 13 episodes, and their original airdates:
1.”The Six Million Dollar Man”, March 7, 1973
2 “Wine, Women, and War”, October 20, 1973
3.”The Solid Gold Kidnapping”, November 17, 1973
Episode 1. “Population:Zero”, January 18, 1974
2. “Survival of the Fittest”, January 25, 1974
3. “Operation Firefly”, February 1, 1974
4. “Day of the Robot”, February 8, 1974
5. “Little Orphaned Airplane”, February 22, 1974
6. “Doomsday, and Counting”, March 1, 1974
7. “Eyewitness To Murder”, March 8, 1974
8. “The Rescue of Athena One”, March 15, 1974
9. “Dr. Wells Is Missing”, March 29, 1974
10. “The Last of the Fourth of Julys”, April 5, 1974
11. “Burning Bright”, April 12, 1974
12. “The Coward”, April 19, 1974
13. “Run, Steve, Run”, April 26, 1974
Was this review helpful to you?
There are many things American companies do that puzzle me, but this has to be one of the top 5: Why would you (as a company) have a show that is so iconic that people who have never SEEN it would still recognize references to it, and NEVER release it to DVD — even in the year when you attempt to revive the concept franchise by re-making the spinoff “Bionic Woman”? (I won’t even discuss the incomprehensible decisionmaking process that decides to utterly change the entire basis of THAT show…).
When I purchased the first season of The Six Million Dollar Man, I expected it to be a purchase purely for nostalgia. In fact, I was braced to end up being UNABLE to watch the show (I’ve found it hard, for example, to watch MacGyver or Kung Fu, two other nostalgia favorites of mine).
To my utter surprise, in some ways this is a BETTER show than I remembered. The writing is tight, often clever, and LESS stereotyped than I was prepared for. (For example, the first major appearance by the Soviet Union’s forces is not as adversaries!) Oh, there’s stereotyping and events-of-convenience galore, but they’re worked into the plots which are less simplistic than many of the follow-on TV action-adventure shows, and overall better acted. (The early movies are not entirely consistent with the series — besides a change in some actors, the nature of Steve’s relationship with Goldman and the OSI undergoes a fairly radical shift; for that reason I am focusing here on the actual TV first season rather than the movies)
It’s clear that the producers, actors, and writers were still trying to “work into” the overall concept and try to figure out a way of keeping the action and the characters balanced. The actors — specifically Lee Majors and Richard Anderson — make it work. Steve is a man who has, with great difficulty, overcome the shock of becoming part man, part machine, something he had not asked for and not been prepared for, and has come to accept that he’s been given a gift that carries terrible responsibility with it as well. Oscar Goldman is a quintessential spymaster who has, through his interaction with Steve, found himself forced to become more human than is, perhaps, encouraged in his field, in order to keep the friendship and loyalty Steve offers.
One very nice touch is that Steve Austin’s background as an astronaut is, surprisingly, at least as important as his bionic secret for many of his missions. The “superstar” nature of astronauts, especially in the era of this show, is recognized and used appropriately. Being one of the astronauts who actually walked on the moon makes Steve special in a number of ways, including the ability (in what was a more relaxed era, surprisingly) to sometimes just gain access to locations and the confidence of people who would otherwise be terribly suspicious.
The adversarial relationship of the United States and the Soviet Union, as I mentioned, is present, yet is not overblown. Given the era and the setting, it would have been trivially easy and even understandable to demonize them, make the Soviet Union behind almost every plot, providing Steve with ready-made villains to trash. Instead, the worst enemies are invariably rogue organizations — terrorists, obsessive scientists, conscienceless weapons dealers, spies with their own agendas — and, often, simple nature and human error.
This is a world in which it’s assumed that people are, at heart, not only mostly alike, but mostly preferring to get along. It’s the exceptions, the men and women who don’t CARE about other people at all, who cause most of the trouble in the world, and one man with dedication, a clear vision …and perhaps some nuclear-powered additions… can often triumph and make the world a better place.
The bionics themselves are more carefully worked out than I had expected. While certain limitations are clearly originally intended purely for story-opportunity purposes, they’re generally used consistently. Moreover, the classic opening animation can now be stop-framed and examined carefull, as we could never have done in the old broadcast days, revealing that the producers/designers had put a great deal of thought into the bionic capabilities. The numbers don’t *quite* add up accurately, but they’re not all that far off compared to what a slapdash and handwavy approach to the technology would have produced.
In the first season, many of the iconic features are still being “worked out”. Occasionally we see Steve running, not in the classic slow-motion bionic run, but at the actual speed his running would require. These scenes merely reinforce the CORRECTNESS of the decision to make the 60mph running sequences slow-mo; in slow motion, Steve running looks dramatic. At what would be actual 60mph speed, he looks SILLY.
Similarly, the classic “bionic sound” is missing in most of the first season episodes,…
All good fun of course, I can’t imagine many people that buy this DVD are new to the adventures of The Bionic Man.
The big downer with this season is the poor colour balance and rendering to digital. On my big LCD screen its muddiness is apparent.
I’ll wait until Universal gives this show the technical technical attention it deserves.Until then it remains a pricey DVD.