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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Spy > Adventure > Robots > Mystery > Comedy > Cold War > The Six Million Dollar Man – The Complete Collection (1973 - 1978/Universal/Time Life DVD Box Set)

The Six Million Dollar Man – The Complete Collection (1973 - 1978/Universal/Time Life DVD Box Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A-     Episodes: A-



When TV was at its best, many site the 1960s as the peak, yet the 1970s was just as important and is not always given that credit.  It could be because of the mature, groundbreaking, innovative series like All In The Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and further risk-takers like Hot L Baltimore, Alice, PBS, imports and others too numerous to list are not all as seen as they could or should be, but the innovations extended to comedies and genre series all the way to Saturday Morning TV, which featured more interesting series than you could imagine at the time.  The evening shows became so interesting and numerous, they were even spilling into syndication (like Space: 1999, helping to build that market) and this all included action and science fiction series.


1973 was a very interesting year for action and the Superhero genre.  Roger Moore became James Bond, revivals of Wonder Woman (the Cathy Lee Crosby TV movie that did not launch a series) and Captain Marvel in “Shazam!” (which was a hit) were in pre-production, the animated Superfriends was the top animated Saturday Morning TV hit (launching one of the most important toy lines of all time in Mego’s 8” action figures) and Universal (a pioneer of the TV movie) with ABC (the other innovator in the TV movie/telefilm field) broadcast a telefilm called The Six Million Dollar Man.  Based on the book Cyborg by Martin Caidin, it was broadcast early that year and became ABC’s biggest genre hit since their self-produced, ratings record Night Stalker (1972, holding the telefilm ratings record for over a dozen years) and sequel Night Strangler (1973, only a few months before the first Six Mil movie aired, the series that followed would be made by Universal) scoring well enough to have two sequels of its own.


Up and coming star Lee Majors, previously known for character actor work, the hit TV series The Big Valley and as a star on the rise overall was cast as the ill-fated Colonel Steve Austin, whose test flight of a high level government space vehicle nearly kills him.  He looses an arm, has both legs crushed and looses an eye.  This was common after severe accidents and in the middle of the Vietnam era, more commonplace than many wanted to talk about, even if the damage was from war and not test projects.  That innertextual sense hit a nerve in the culture, it was time for a new wave of hero fiction in general and a new kind of hero was born, but it was unusual it was from TV and not in a feature film.  Thus was the situation of how rich TV was at the time.


Like Columbo and the other mystery movies rotating in the Universal/NBC (long before they merged) hit NBC Mystery Movie series, ABC and Universal could have continued to make telefilms, but Universal decided they should make a weekly TV series with the main characters and the result was the first hit that would eventually propel ABC to being the #1 network for the first time in their history.  By the beginning of 1974, The Six Million Dollar Man was a mid-season replacement and despite al the great TV of the 1970s, would be the most commercially successful show of the decade, extending to a nationwide bionic craze whose bionic-mania would be further propelled by a landmark action figure line as Austin found his body parts replaced by robotic ones that would interact with his physical biology, its advertising campaign and other tie-ins that picked up where Star Trek and Planet Of The Apes left off created the foundation (especially at Mego and Kenner Toys) that would make Star Wars huge success possible.


Now, finally, The Six Million Dollar Man – The Complete Collection has arrived on DVD and as another highly collectible, special box set from the great people at Time Life who gave us incredible complete sets on DVD of Get Smart, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and animated Real Ghostbusters (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) features the three TV movies, all five huge seasons of the show, the episodic versions of those TV movies, crossover episodes with The Bionic Woman and a ton of extras that will get you up to speed on the show then and now.


The series became one of the most successful TV shows ABC or Universal were ever involved in and was a hit in syndication for many years after.  Yet, in recent years, the show and its hugely successful spin-off The Bionic Woman dropped out of sight.  Neither had made it to home video and even revival attempts failed.  Though the first few seasons arrived on DVD overseas in poor transfers and the first TV movie was issued in the old 12” LaserDisc format back in 1980 in the only official US release of any of the shows (!), this is the first time the whole series has ever been issued anywhere.


After the first TV movie, the two sequel telefilms decided to follow the James Bond/Spy path, a path that many assumed was dead.  Though Roger Moore’s first James Bond film Live & Let Die was a big hit, the last wave to TV spy shows that began in the 1960s were either gone (The Avengers, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) or had just wrapped up in the U.S. (Mission: Impossible) and the U.K. (Jason King, The Protectors, The Adventurer, Callan (all reviewed elsewhere on this site)) so the genre had been pronounced dead or played out very prematurely.  Like Live & Let Die, the sequel films even capitalized on the Blaxploitation style of action films, though the Austin sequels limited this to the opening credits and a funky theme song called The Six Million Dollar Man sung by none other than Dusty Springfield!


As these films were bringing in more strong ratings for ABC, Universal was already licensing the character and activity books were among the first items available with the older tower logo.  However, the Bond approach (especially with Moore successfully taking over as Bond that same year) was not going to work, did not feature Majors at his best and that is when Universal decided to turn it into a weekly TV series.  They were doing this at the same time with Kolchak: The Night Stalker, based off of two hugely successful TV movies ABC made on their own with Darren McGavin as a reporter whop battles supernatural menaces.  McGavin also played the man who greenlights the money to rebuild Steve Austin in the first telefilm: Oliver Spencer.  The great actor had already been succeeded in the Six Mil movies by the second film with Richard Anderson (who just starred with McGavin the year before in The Night Strangler, Kolchak telefilm #2) as a new character, Oscar Goldman.


The series was launched with the great Producer Harve Bennett (already trying out genre series on his own) overseeing the show.  A new opening credits sequence was created by the great Jack Cole with a new theme song by Oliver Nelson that both became classics in their own right and the show was on its way.  Though you hear Anderson as Goldman talk about rebuilding Austin, it is never implied he did what McGavin’s Spencer did, so a respectful continuity was kept even though there was no home video to speak of.  Universal and ABC knew syndication was a hot market, so they made the change, moved on and Anderson was the other permanent cast member for the whole run of the series.


The role of Dr. Rudy Wells was played by three actors.  Martin Balsam played him in the first TV movie, Alan Oppenheimer took over starting with the sequel telefilm and as the producers were unsure what to do with the character, had him showing up less and less.  By Season Three, Oppenheimer showed up a few times, only to be succeeded by Martin E. Brooks for a few shows.  After that, it was decided to keep Wells on all the time instead of dropping him and Brooks played the role until the final reunion telefilm in 1994.


What developed became the most successful TV phenomenon of the decade and in one of the greatest ironies in TV history, delivered one of the most successful spin-offs in TV history without even intending to in The Bionic Woman.  Once the show got started, nothing could stop it!


All the episodes (including Bionic Woman crossover shows) are as follows, with special notes on key shows and where audio commentary tracks are included:


As included on the Season One set and considered (by yours truly in particular) part of that season by default…


1) The Six Million Dollar Man (90 min/AKA Cyborg/originally broadcast on the telefilm showcase ABC’s Suspense Theater); Written by Henri Simoun and an uncredited Steven Bochco, Music by Gil Mellé, Directed by Richard Irving) with Darren McGavin, Martin Balsam, Barbara Anderson, Robert Cornthwaite, Ivor Barry and Olan Soule (Hanna Barbera’s voice for the animated Batman of the time on Superfriends, et al.)


2) Wine, Women and War (90 min/Written by Glen A. Larson, Music by Stu Phillips, Directed by Russ Mayberry, with Britt Ekland, Eric Braeden, Earl Holliman, David McCallum, Lee Bergere and Richard Anderson as Oscar Goldman (first appearance.))


3) The Solid Gold Kidnapping (90 min/Written by Alan Callou & Larry Alexander, Music by Gil Mellé, Directed by Russ Mayberry, with Leif Ericson, Elizabeth Ashley, John Vernon, Luciana Paluzzi, Maurice Evans and Terry Carter.)


The above three telefilms all broadcast in 1973.



Season One/1974


4) Population: Zero (Directed by Jeannot Szwarc (Jaws 2).)

5) Survival Of The Fittest

6) Operation Firefly

7) Day Of The Robot (Henry Jones debut as robot maker Jeffrey Dolenz with John Saxon as Major Frederick Sloan, who Dolenz replaces with a killer robot in this classic episode; inspired the popular Bionic Kenner villain action figure Maskatron.)

8) Little Orphan Airplane

9) Doomsday, and Counting

10) Eyewitness To Murder (a season highlight with Gary Lockwood, William Schallert, Ivor Barry, Leonard Stone and Regis Cordic.)

11) The Rescue Of Athena One

12) Dr. Wells Is Missing

13) The Last Of The Fourth Of Julys

14) Burning Bright (William Shatner is fellow astronaut Josh Lang, who has gained the power to communicate with animals and people, plus control them from flying through a radiation field, but he cannot control his powers and starts to lose control.  This was intended as a possible pilot for a spin-off TV series that never happened, but could have worked.)

15) The Coward

16) Run, Steve, Run (first of two Henry Jones/Dr. Jeffrey Dolenz returns, out for revenge on Steve Austin.)


Season Two/1974 - 1975


17) Nuclear Alert

18) The Pioneers

19) Pilot Error

20) The Pal-Mir Escort

21) The Seven Million Dollar Man (A racing car driver (Monte Markham, Martin Caidin’s first choice for the Steve Austin role) is made Bionic after a car crash nearly kills him, so OSI rebuilds him if Steve should not be able to finish his work, but Barney (Markham) cannot handle his newfound powers and the two are on a collision course.)

22) Straight On 'Til Morning

23) The Midas Touch

24) The Deadly Replay

25) Act Of Piracy

26) Stranger In Broken Fork (Sharon Farrell (It’s Alive) is among the highlights of this exceptional show.)

27) The Peeping Blonde

28) The Cross-Country Kidnap

29) Lost Love

30) The Last Kamikaze

31) Return Of The Robot Maker (Henry Jones’ Dr. Jeffrey Dolenz tries to destroy Steve one more time by replacing Oscar with a robot in this classic episode, making for one of the greatest showdowns in the history of the series.)

32) Taneha

33) Look Alike

34) The E.S.P. Spy

35) The Bionic Woman (Two parts with Lindsay Wagner with audio commentary by Writer/Producer/Creator Kenneth Johnson.)

36) Outrage in Balinderry

37) Steve Austin, Fugitive (Jennifer Darling is introduced as Peggy Callahan and the denim blue outfit Steve has on here was reproduced as an outfit for his action figure.)


Season Three/1975 – 1976


38) The Return Of The Bionic Woman (Two parts with Lindsay Wagner with audio commentary by Writer/Producer/Creator Kenneth Johnson.)

39) The Price Of Liberty

40) The Song and Dance Spy

41) The Wolf Boy

42) The Deadly Test

43) Target In The Sky

44) One Of Our Running Backs Is Missing

45) The Bionic Criminal (Monte Markham, The $7 Million Man, returns and is given back his powers to go car racing again despite Steve’s protests, but he has other plans.)

46) The Blue Flash (with audio commentary by Director Cliff Bole.)

47) The White Lightning War

48) Divided Loyalty

49) Clark Templeton O'Flaherty

50) The Winning Smile

51) Welcome Home, Jaime (Two parts/Bionic Woman crossover with Lindsay Wagner that finally launched the spin-off series.  Some have said that the first show debuted here on Six Mil, others as the first Bionic Woman, but could it have been both?)

52) Hocus-Pocus

53) The Secret Of Bigfoot (Two parts with audio commentary by  Writer/Producer/Creator Kenneth Johnson/Andre The Giant (the very successful international wrestler) is the title character as the OSI has to investigate the disappearance of two scientists in the mountains, but get more than they could have ever imagined.  Severn Darden, Stephanie Powers and Charles Cyphers also star.)

54) The Golden Pharaoh

55) Love Song For Tanya

56) The Bionic Badge

57) Big Brother


Season Four/1976 – 1977


58) The Return Of Bigfoot (Two parts/Bionic Woman crossover with Lindsay Wagner/Ted Cassidy (Lurch from The Addams Family) replaces Andre The Giant in this sequel where the aliens have a traitor (John Saxon in a new role) among them who has enslaved and hijacked Bigfoot to steal and destroy everything around them.  Powers and Darden return, but Sandy Duncan makes an underappreciated appearance as alien Gillian and though it has a few moments that are off-kilter, it works well)

59) Nightmare In The Sky

60) Double Trouble

61) The Most Dangerous Enemy

62) H+2+O = Death

63) Kill Oscar (Three parts/Bionic Woman crossover with Lindsay Wagner; Joe Harnell’s terrific alternate Bionic Woman theme (made after Jerry Fielding’s classic version) can be heard here/This is the peak of the series, its longest story, its only three-parter and has a terrific pace as the vengeful Dr. Franklin (John Houseman as the best villain in both series, not long after his great performance in Norman Jewison’s Rollerball (1975) with James Caan) has built a deadly, powerful army of machines called Fembots which he intends to use to destroy the OSI and get revenge on the government for rejecting his innovative ideas.  Also of note are Janice Whitby as Katy and Corrine Michaels (appropriately from the Mr. R.I.N.G. episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker) as Lynda.)

64) The Bionic Boy (Two parts/Vince Van Patten in another attempt to do a spin-off that never happened, but could have as Andy Sheffield, whose father is a target and both get slammed in a landslide.  Andy survives and gets new legs, now needing to clear his father’s name.  Joan Van Ark, Greg Evigan and Dick Van Patten also star.)

65) Vulture Of The Andes (with audio commentary by Director Cliff Bole.)

66) The Thunderbird Connection

67) A Bionic Christmas Carol

68) Task Force

69) The Ultimate Imposter (Stephen Macht played Steve’s friend Joe Patton, who becomes an OSI agent with powers given to him by a new program to feed tons of information directly into the brain via computer in a pilot ahead of its time, but yet another on that did not launch a series.  Pamela Hensley, David Sheiner and Kim Basinger also star.)

70) Death Probe (Two parts/the final great villain of the series is introduced in The Venus Space Probe, a Soviet space machine that lands in the U.S. by accident.  Steven E. de Souza wrote this classic that also stars Nehemiah Persoff, Jane Merrow and Beverly Garland and even involves sleeper agents!  A Kenner toy was briefly made of this machine too, though it is nowhere to be found in this collection, it is noted in the foldout of this season.)

71) Danny's Inferno

72) Fires Of Hell

73) The Infiltrators

74) Carnival Of Spies

75) U-509

76) The Privacy Of The Mind

77) To Catch The Eagle

78) The Ghostly Teletype


Season Five/1977 – 1978


79) Sharks (Two parts, with William Sylvester from 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

80) Deadly Countdown (Two parts with Jenny Agutter (Logan’s Run, Walkabout), Lloyd Bochner and Steve Austin creator Martin Caidin.)

81) Bigfoot V (Ted Cassidy as Bigfoot in the last of three appearances of the fan favorite.)

82) Killer Wind

83) Rollback

84) Dark Side Of The Moon (Two parts)

85) Target: Steve Austin (Spy Who Loved Me references.)

86) The Cheshire Project

87) Walk A Deadly Wing

88) Just A Matter Of Time

89) Return Of The Deathprobe (Two parts as the Venus Space Probe has returned, but with more deadly devices.)

90) The Lost Island (Two parts with Jared Martin of Fantastic Journey.)

91) The Madonna Caper

92) Dead Ringer

93) Date With Danger (Two parts with Elaine Giftos.)

94) The Moving Mountain



Because the extras have featurettes on the guest stars, we decided not to list most of them, especially as not to ruin any surprises as in this case, the show has been out of circulation for so long, that would spoil any surprises.


Looking back at the series, it has aged incredibly well.  The effects that were done were usually with prop tricks, film speed manipulation (including the signature slow motion action that this show pioneered) and some of the greatest, most entertaining, most memorable stuntwork in TV history.  Few series have ever had such great casting, especially in the genres this show covers.  Though the great Harve Bennett moved away from the James Bond imitation in the telefilm sequels, this remained a spy show and is one of the greatest of all of them, yet the end of The Cold War two decades ago has not aged the show as badly because it was not as stuck on those themes as the rest of the genre would be until the late 1980s.


To its amazing credit, the show was very fair with foreign countries even when they were fighting the U.S. (versus he later Mission: Impossible seasons, learning from that show’s mistakes after Martin Landau and Barbara Bain left) while not demonizing anyone, yet being uncompromising in battling them.  From the USSR to the Middle East, the show handled these issues more realistically and cleverly than many will remember.


As a Superhero genre show, the series was never based on a comic book (even though Carlton later made some as the show became a hit), yet his powers put him in the gray area between heroes with superpowers (Superman, Hulk, Spider-Man) and those with more realistic ones that make them exceptionally able-bodied (named Batman, as the show inherited the next generation audience the 1960s Adam West show had and was gaining in syndication itself).  Austin could easily fit in the Marvel and DC universes and even inspired some of its characters.


But most of all, it was an action series that respected its audience, which began as a more adult (at least teen) audience, then expanded to every generation, socio-economic class and became the phenomenon it was and remains today.  Lee Majors helps this and though he was sometimes accused of being mechanical himself, the shows reveal that to be a myth.  Majors actually handled everything perfectly, from the stunts and fights with the physicality that shows the top rate athlete he was in real life, to the well-timed humor and practicality of the jokes, to giving better acting performances (some of them daring moments for any male hero to this day) than he’ll ever get the credit for.  Add his empathy in the role, his energy and the dignified way he always carried himself (you could believe 100% he was also an astronaut and ace flight pilot) and his work as Colonel Steve Austin remains one of the greatest home runs in TV history.


Though Darren McGavin was great as Oliver Spencer, a character that was dropped despite the fact they could have continued him, Richard Anderson (Forbidden Planet, The Night Strangler, Frankenheimer’s Seconds) was perfect casting as Oscar Goldman, the official who eventually becomes one of Austin’s best friends as they take on the most dangerous and strangest OSI missions.  They had chemistry, were totally believable together and Anderson was able to convey that he always had all mission activities on his mind, yet could put them aside to help his friends.  It is not easy and like Leo G. Carroll on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., was so good he landed up playing the role on two TV shows at the same time. Anderson was a movie star and this success was a long time coming, even if it happened on TV.


If Martin Balsam stayed as Dr. Rudy Wells, that would have worked as he was great in the original pilot, but Alan Oppenheimer (who also played the head of robotics before all gores wrong (or “worng” as the poster says) in the 1973 Michael Crichton hit feature film thriller Westworld) also did a great Wells and found his own way of making the character work.  You believed him too.  But Martin E. Brooks eventually became the most successful Wells, making him a regular character and keeping him going the longest.  That the series got lucky three times in a row with three great actors in the role is typical of the kind of luck the show had from day one.


It remains one of those rare series the least of the episodes are watchable and entertaining just because everyone is so good and the show did take more risks than it gets credit for.  When they show was good, it was really fun and the joy and energy it had was apparent in every single episode.  When the show was at its best and so great, it was some of the best American TV ever made and the talent involved all around is nothing short of remarkable, all working at the peak of their abilities even in the face of budget restrictions.  No wonder it became one of the hottest shows of all time, even when you look at the ratings to this day.


In speaking of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., most of the principles interviewed were saying that Six Mil as the first hour-long show (the Adam West Batman was a half-hour and designed as two part shows to recreate the idea of a movie serial) ever to offer two-part double-episode stories.  U.N.C.L.E started doing this in 1965 in its second season and did this at least a half-dozen times.  Few other shows followed, but for the record, U.N.C.L.E did this ten years before Six Mil., but any crossover appearances with Stephanie Powers in The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. did not include episodes of a story starting on one series and continuing or finishing on the other.  The result is that the facts and recall of those interviewed is otherwise on the money.


But finally, it is the shows that count, what landed up on screen.  The series started out as a series of cutting edge telefilms, continued as a series ahead of its time (and in some ways, still is), started having critical and commercial successes at every turn, helped make 1970s TV 1970s TV and all involved became icons of the era.  It had been many years since I saw the show, a show I have seen each episode of many times, some more than I could count.  It is stunning how consistent the show really is.  If you look at it from a narrative standpoint, it just got better and better until it peaked in its fourth season.


When ABC did not renew the show and Universal could not get any more spin-offs from it, NBC picking up The Bionic Woman ended any crossover adventures and that would cause both shows to end sooner than they should have.  Watching again, each had a few more good seasons in them at least, but this split ended the world they had built, cut into the chemistry and innovation and Six Mil started to become a follower in the genres it covered and not the trendsetter it was.  Bond was referenced more than before as Spy Who Loved Me was a big comeback hit for that franchise, Jaws is referenced in the final Season Five opener Sharks! (a two-parter) and when the Venus Space Probe returns, it has more than a striking resemblance to Darth Vader.


However, the show did just about everything it could have done, set new high standards for TV production and any big genre hit since owes something to it. 




The 1.33 X 1 image is varied a bit as you would expect from a television series of its age, especially when you include several episodes from another show, plus three TV movies shot under further, different circumstances, but in most cases, this is the best these shows have ever looked and are far superior to all the foreign DVD releases in picture quality.  In cases where new prints have obviously been struck (the Kill Oscar three-parter in particular), the results are so stunning that DVD can barely handle all the color and definition from the original 35mm film elements.  In a few cases, the material can look soft, detail challenged and color short, but that is rare and this is far superior to the fading prints that were often syndicated.  The three telefilms are also shot on 35mm film and look good, but not great and Bionic Ever After? Is particularly soft, likely finished on professional analog NTSC video.  None look as good as the better (and especially the best) episodes of the original series, plus their optical and digital effects (plus a few ill-advised visual tricks) are more dated than the series!


The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad throughout and though it can show its age from episode to episode, but again, Universal did a better job than many recording the audio for their TV shows at the time and some of these shows sound exceptionally clean and clear through the set.  The sound design on some episodes are better than the show ever got credit for.  My only complaint is that John Houseman’s classic opening lines describing the Fembots in the first Kill Oscar episode is not as clear as it is on the supplements for some reason, over shadowed by the sound effects.  Maybe they should have remixed those shows for stereo, but the audio ranges from good to better than ever throughout the five seasons.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the three TV movies are not bad, but not that much better than the best monophonic shows, with some compression and less imaginative sound design.  They can sound newer, but not as much as expected, though it is also a good move they did not try and do 5.1 upgrades.


Extras are many and include the audio commentaries marked above with the episode guide listing above, plus all six sets have paper foldouts with listing of the contents of each DVD and the Season sets have essays included by various authors.  Each season set ends with VIP Celebration of the guest stars of each season.  Many are named, few are missed and some are pictured without being identified, but it is amazing how many names and names to be showed up on the show.  Season One adds Real Bionics and An Iconic Opening (with creator Jack Cole) featurettes, Interactive Bonus Feature: Bionic Breakdown that goes through every ability Steve Austin started with and was added over the five seasons of the show and OSI Mission Debriefing: Executive Producer Harve Bennett interview.  Two adds The Bionic Sound Effects featurette.  Three adds The Search For Bigfoot featurette and OSI Mission Debriefing: Writer/Producer/Bionic Woman creator Kenneth Johnson interview.  Four adds The Six Million Dollar Fans featurette and OSI Mission Debriefing: Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman) interview.  Five adds The Six Million Dollar Man’s Best Villains & Best Fights featurette and OSI Mission Debriefing: Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells) interview.


The Bonus DVD set selections start with the three Telefilm Reunion Movies made from 1987 to 1994, including Lee Majors, Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks in all of them.  The underrated, clever Writer/Producer Michael Sloan (The Equalizer, Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) was behind the scenes doing the same for all three telefilms here.  They include:


The Return of The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman (1987, also starring Martin Landau, Gary Lockwood, William Campbell, Catherine McGoohan and Lee Majors II, written by Michael Sloan and Bruce Lansbury.  Music by Marvin Hamlisch.  Directed by Ray Austin, it was intended as a relaunch of a new series of TV movies or a new TV series.)


Bionic Showdown (1989, an attempt to launch yet another Bionic series, but with new stars.)  NBC and Universal had then-unknown Sandra Bullock in the role of the next bionic lady (an athlete named Kate Mason) and a bionic partner in Jeff Yagher as Jimmy Goldman, but they did not pick it up, missing out on launching future Oscar winner Bullock to stardom sooner!  Robert Lansing and Josef Sommer also stars.  Michael Sloan, Robert DeLaurentiis and Brock Choy wrote the teleplay, Bill Conti did the music score and Alan J. Levi directed.


Bionic Ever After? (1994 aka Bionic Breakdown, also starring Anne Lockhart, Farrah Forke, Alan Sader, Ann Pierce and Dave Thomas)  The longtime leads get married, something that would have killed the series as much as anything.  Lite and professional, it is the poorest of the three telefilm reunion films, but I should add that none of them really captured the excitement and chemistry of the shows at their peak despite ambitious work in all three and some moments in each that did work.  Music by Ron Ramin.  Teleplay by Michael Sloan and Norman Morrill, Directed by Steve Stafford.


The first two were on NBC, with last being on CBS, meaning that after 21 years, all three major networks had original Bionic broadcasts.  Hardly any franchise in TV history can claim that.


Over the rest of DVDs 2 & 3, the original three TV movies are presented in their broken-down versions, cut into double episodes for repeat and syndication purposes, but they do not work as well (and are not as fun) as the original TV movie cuts in the first set, though I like their inclusion which is especially valuable for fans, those who may have only seen them that way to recall if they saw them at all and how the network and studio handled such recuts at the time.  The opposite (episodes cut into TV movies, even feature films for movie theaters!) was common since the 1950s George Reeves Superman.


Other extras include additional featurettes, but even when there is some overlap, the producers of this set have cleverly added alternate camera angles from the interviews and film clips (where there might not have been clips in other variants on this set) to show what the subjects are discussing.  DVD 4 adds four featurettes: TV Goes Bionic: The Origins Of The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Age Of TV: The Success Of The Six Million Dollar Man, Top Secret: OSI, NASA and Bionics and The Reunion Movies: Life After The Series, plus the four-part Meet The Cast section.  This includes four “Getting To Know” pieces including Lee Majors and Steve Austin, Lindsay Wagner and Jaime Sommers, Richard Anderson and Oscar Goldman and Dr. Rudy Wells with the three actors who played him.  DVD 5, the final of 40 DVDs in this set, includes three more featurettes: The Pop Culture Effects, Bionic Action… Figures!!! (they cover some, but not all of them and not even all that is shown on camera of one of the great toy lines ever made) and The Stunts Of The Bionic Age, plus the last interview so the man himself has the last word on the show - OSI Mission Debriefing: Lee Majors!


All the interviews (including with fans and other stars from the show like Lindsay Wagner, Janice Witby, stunt people and others who made the show) are excellent, fun and all have great stories to tell.  Big fans (like your truly did) will get a big kick out of some of these long unspoken gems.  The series has not been on TV since the early days of The Sci-Fi Channel (before they changed their name, for sure) and its absence on TV or DVD has been one of the great empty spaces on store and collector shelves.  Also, the box (it is black, but imprinted with electronic circuitry all over) has illustrations on the side and a lenticular picture of Austin running from the opening credits that moves when you move and look at or open the box.  Be sure to have the lights on when you do for one more surprise.


The Six Million Dollar Man – The Complete Collection finally marks the return of one of the greatest TV classics of all time, a legend and international mega-hit like few series before or since.  It is one-of-a-kind, still delivers what the audience wants to this day, is worth going out of your way to purchase and is guaranteed to find new generations of fans… serious fans!



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-   Nicholas Sheffo


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