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The Six Million Dollar Man & The Bionic Woman DVD reviews and comments


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#1 of 34 OFFLINE   bionicsuomi

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Posted November 12 2010 - 12:24 AM

Hello fellow bionic fans,


Now that we (at least in the zone 1 area) have gotten our "bionic" DVDs, I'd be curious to have your impressions.


"Bionicly" yours,


Alain



#2 of 34 OFFLINE   scifi1701

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Posted November 13 2010 - 06:10 PM

i just recieved my SMDM box set so nany extras in it i think time life did a great job and everything is so sharp clear and no commercials and the box it came in running steve austin iliked and the sound chip i also just recieved the bionic woman well a month ago anyway nice extras in it the only thing i found fault the bloopers were too short other wise i liked it cannot wait for season two as for season three it was not my favorite but would buy it to finish the series.



#3 of 34 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted November 13 2010 - 06:21 PM

Alain,


I posted this in the other T/L thread abd forgot about youre review thread.  Here's the posts from the T/L thread:


Mine arrived today, no box damage.  There was no bubble wrap, etc, in the shipping box.  That's something that a lot of shippers don't do like they should, not to let T/L off the hook there but it's not that unusual to see it.


I inspected every disc, no floaters, only a few minor mfg marks like we've all seen in larger TV/DVD sets.  I have yet to run across any of my pressed TV/DVD discs in my collection that have had a playback issue with similar minor markings on the discs.


Matt, and all that were involved with this pkging, Posted Image to you all for an outstanding job of design!  This thing even has an on/off switch for the sound circuit.   A light sensor for the door trigger Posted Image  don't open it in the dark Posted Image


I'm guessing that the circuit Bd has a battery on it.  I saw the flaps at the bottom where one can access the board when/if it's needed.


Matt, Jim, Joe, Paul, Brendan, all, many thanks for a collector's item that trumps just about any other set on the shelf in my library.


My early takes on some quick video comparisons:


I have the R2 sets of the 6M$M S2 set and the BW S1 set.  One of the first episodes that I wanted to compare was the T/L 6M$M S2 set with the "Bionic Woman Pt 1 & 2" episodes vs the R2 6M$M S2 set same episodes.


Here, to me, the clear winner is the T/L R1 episodes.  The video was noticably better, colors more vibrant and overall clarity better than the R2 episodes.


I compared the "Welcome Home Jaime" episodes to the R2 BW S1 episodes.  Here, I imagine my take will differ from some other takes.  This one, imo, was a lot closer comparison.  The T/L eps were slightly better to me but it was a close call for me.   We all knew though that the R2 BW transfers were a lot better than the R2 6M$M transfers.


For reference, I'm viewing all discs with a 50" Panasonic Plasma 1080p TV, about 8.5 ft distance, thru a Pioneer Region-Free Upconvert player via HDMI cable.


The big payoff with the T/L transfers to me is with the 6M$M series as they easily are the best of any of the R2/4 sets.  I spot checked a few episodes from the T/L set and they are fantastic.  It's been a long wait for this one.



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#4 of 34 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted November 13 2010 - 07:56 PM

I have also received the Time Life set and am starting to go through everything.  This thing is really loaded.


I did run some of the original Bionic Woman episode of SMDM to compare the picture with the Bionic Woman set and found that the opening scene was a little darker, but not that much.  Just enough to make clear that the scene is supposed to be taking place at night even though it was shot during the day.  And the Kenny commentary is the same as that on the other set.


Ran the Return of Bigfoot pts 1 and 2, and it brought back all the memories of the 70s and Bigfoot.  And there was something both touching and a bit silly about seeing Ted Cassidy and his stunt double in what is essentially a gorilla suit with a different face (with Hulk-eye contact lenses) jumping over the security fence at the facility in the beginning of part 1.  There's also a really funny bit at the end of part 2 where one bad guy gets thrown by Jaime toward Steve, who continues the throw toward Bigfoot, who throws the guy into a wall.  So it's a three-person bionic smackdown for that guy, and what did he do to anybody?


When I opened the box the voice chip did not work, but when I pulled the disc holders out and checked the little voicebox, I got it to work only when it came out of the package.  Strange.


I've been enjoying the insert booklets - although Lee Majors' introduction is identical in each one, the other notes are really interesting and timely.

I haven't noticed any discussion of Westworld - but I'll look for it in the featurettes.  I would think this would be a crucial item to acknowledge.



#5 of 34 OFFLINE   bionicsuomi

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Posted November 14 2010 - 02:54 AM

Question:


Have they modified the BW opening credits ???  Are they right ?  The "Return of Bigfoot" has an unusual opening, with music non-synchro and a different slide for Martin E. Brooks.  Have they been removed ???



#6 of 34 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted November 14 2010 - 03:50 AM

I'll go back and check about the opening to "The Return of Bigfoot, pt 2"...



#7 of 34 OFFLINE   MattHR

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Posted November 14 2010 - 04:17 AM



Originally Posted by bionicsuomi 

Question:


Have they modified the BW opening credits ???  Are they right ?  The "Return of Bigfoot" has an unusual opening, with music non-synchro and a different slide for Martin E. Brooks.  Have they been removed ???



Unfortunately, the opening title sequence is not the odd variant that originally aired, but the traditional Season 2 version.  As with the modified (typo-corrected) sequence for Season 1's "Welcome Home, Jaime" two-parter, these are the versions which Universal supplied to Time Life.


Edit:  The only variant for the original title sequence for the ep is an odd use of "::" after "Jaime Sommers" in the opening text.  Otherwise, everything else was standard.  The use of a different shot of Martin E. Brooks has been thought to have existed by some non-U.S. viewers, but I've never seen it myself.  One of our contributors on the SMDM project has an actual off-air recording of the ep's original ABC airing from September 1976 as a reference.







#8 of 34 OFFLINE   bionicsuomi

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Posted November 14 2010 - 04:22 AM

So we get the classic Martin E. Brooks picture for this opening ?


When the episode was shown in Finland, they used all the original broadcast version.  Welcome Home, 1, by the way, had a BW opening (not the SMDM that many fan expert claimed to have seem originally but are unable to produce).


So back to Finland... Return of Bigfoot 2 had a different BW opening.  The music was slightly off-synchro... and the picture used for Martin E. Brooks was not the one where he appears with wagner but the slide from the SMDM opening, except that the picture is reversed (he looks in the oppositive direction), and off course, the red circle from the smdm opening clock /radar is removed.


I have it somewhere on VHS-PAL in my "archives".  I'll find it and ask a friend to transfert it to a video to share with the fans.


But i'm really frustrated that Universal played with the opening credits...



#9 of 34 OFFLINE   MattHR

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Posted November 14 2010 - 04:45 AM



Originally Posted by bionicsuomi 

So we get the classic Martin E. Brooks picture for this opening ?


When the episode was shown in Finland, they used all the original broadcast version.  Welcome Home, 1, by the way, had a BW opening (not the SMDM that many fan expert claimed to have seem originally but are unable to produce).


So back to Finland... Return of Bigfoot 2 had a different BW opening.  The music was slightly off-synchro... and the picture used for Martin E. Brooks was not the one where he appears with wagner but the slide from the SMDM opening, except that the picture is reversed (he looks in the oppositive direction), and off course, the red circle from the smdm opening clock /radar is removed.


I have it somewhere on VHS-PAL in my "archives".  I'll find it and ask a friend to transfert it to a video to share with the fans.


But i'm really frustrated that Universal played with the opening credits...



The shot of Marty Brooks (laughing with Lindsay Wagner on the set of "Kill Oscar-Part I") is the standard one and not one "recycled" from SMDM.  Marty Brooks was added to the primary cast of both SMDM and BW at the start of the 1976-77 season, and was then given a credit during each show's main title sequence.  The shot of him used for SMDM shows him in a more serious situation, and would have been awkward for use in BW's main titles—which were decidedly lighter in tone than SMDM's.


Edit: reworded a bit to clarify a few points.



#10 of 34 OFFLINE   bionicsuomi

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Posted November 14 2010 - 04:56 AM

Nevertheless, Matt, they should have left the old picture of Brooks where it was for the DVDs.  I hope they are respected the soundtrack, at least, for the openings as the arrangements changed twice during the second season, plus the special opening for Kill Oscar I.



#11 of 34 OFFLINE   MattHR

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Posted November 14 2010 - 05:49 AM



Originally Posted by bionicsuomi 

Nevertheless, Matt, they should have left the old picture of Brooks where it was for the DVDs.  I hope they are respected the soundtrack, at least, for the openings as the arrangements changed twice during the second season, plus the special opening for Kill Oscar I.


I agree.  Universal also shouldn't have tampered with the BW:S1 titles.  They believed they were making an "improvement", but were actually altering them from their original versions—versions that the fans have known for 30+ years.



#12 of 34 OFFLINE   MattHR

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Posted November 15 2010 - 03:50 AM



Originally Posted by MattHR 



Quote:
Originally Posted by bionicsuomi 

Nevertheless, Matt, they should have left the old picture of Brooks where it was for the DVDs.  I hope they are respected the soundtrack, at least, for the openings as the arrangements changed twice during the second season, plus the special opening for Kill Oscar I.


I agree.  Universal also shouldn't have tampered with the BW:S1 titles.  They believed they were making an "improvement", but were actually altering them from their original versions—versions that the fans have known for 30+ years.



Jim Sherrard (webmaster of bionicwomanfiles.com and consultant on both SMDM and BW DVD releases) is organizing information regarding the many variants used for BW's main title sequence to supply to Universal, with the hopes they'll be able to properly present the next two seasons.




#13 of 34 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted November 15 2010 - 05:01 AM

I love The Bionic Woman.  I have vague memories of the show, and have never seen in it in syndication.  IT's great fun and Lindsay Wagner is just charming, and sweet.   I just finished "Claws" last night.  I'd better take my time with this set.  I don't want it to end too soon.

I hope I enjoy $6 million man as much.  Do you think Universal will release seasons 2, and 3 of BW?


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#14 of 34 OFFLINE   bionicsuomi

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Posted November 15 2010 - 10:18 AM

I hope Jim can actually make them go back to the original BW opening for Return of Bigfoot... and correct the sound.


I just hope Universal hasn't already printed those DVDs for the second BW season.



#15 of 34 OFFLINE   bionicsuomi

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Posted November 15 2010 - 10:20 AM

Season 2 of BW is supposed to be released in the earliest part of 2011 (source: K. Johnson, during the home Theater talk).



#16 of 34 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted November 15 2010 - 10:33 AM

I've had a little time to check some of the T/L discs and there are some issues:


"The Bionic Woman" Pt 1 & 2 have some apparent cropping and "zoom" issues with the tansfers on these 2 episodes.  Has anyone else noticed this with these episodes?


"Secret Of Bigfoot Pt 2" also has some cropping/zooming issues as well.   Check the opening credits frame area and it appears that the frame was zoomed in around ~20%?  as compared with the U.K. releases.


"Bionic Boy":   There is some audio distortion present at about 1hr 25 min into the episode.


"Return of Bigfoot Pt 2" has some audio issues.  It sounds like the audio track was reduced making it difficult to hear at times.




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#17 of 34 OFFLINE   slats7

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Posted November 15 2010 - 01:55 PM



Originally Posted by Jeff Willis 

I've had a little time to check some of the T/L discs and there are some issues:


"The Bionic Woman" Pt 1 & 2 have some apparent cropping and "zoom" issues with the tansfers on these 2 episodes.  Has anyone else noticed this with these episodes?


"Secret Of Bigfoot Pt 2" also has some cropping/zooming issues as well.   Check the opening credits frame area and it appears that the frame was zoomed in around ~20%?  as compared with the U.K. releases.


"Bionic Boy":   There is some audio distortion present at about 1hr 25 min into the episode.


"Return of Bigfoot Pt 2" has some audio issues.  It sounds like the audio track was reduced making it difficult to hear at times.



Yeah, something's amiss.


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#18 of 34 OFFLINE   Jeff*H

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Posted November 15 2010 - 06:01 PM

I've spent some time this afternoon pouring through various episodes on the set and have a few observations:

  • Season 2's "The Bionic Woman" transfer is definitely a modest improvement over Uni's Bionic Woman Season 1 DVD version.  I am wondering if this is due to one of the following reasons:  1) TL took Universal's original master and made their own new (remastered) transfer for the TL DVD set, while Universal made their own separate remastered transfer (instead of using TL's) for the BW set, or 2) perhaps the extra compression used on the Uni BW S1 set negatively affected the quality (they put 5 episodes on the disc), whereas TL only had 4 shows on their disc?
  • The BW title sequences on the SMDM set look MUCH clearer, less muddy and feature better color and resolution than the BW title sequences on the BW S1 set
  • For a very easy comparison of SMDM print quality to BW print quality, look no further than "The Return of Bigfoot".  Part 1 from SMDM looks good; Part 2 from BW looks ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!  In fact, it seems that most all of the BW episodes do indeed have better color and resolution and clarity than most of the SMDM episodes, possibly due to the film stock they used or the way the film was processed for BW (or better storage of the masters?).  Someone pointed out earlier that Kenneth Johnson wanted a higher-quality, more 'film'-like appearance to the BW series; it shows.
  • I was absolutely amazed at the visual quality of the pilot movies (excellent remastering), particular the very first one, and was enthralled by how much better it plays as a 90-minute movie version (which I'd never seen before) compared to the syndication version "The Moon and the Desert", which as we all know was heavily padded with stock material from throughout the entire series.  It's an entirely different piece of work, in fact, and infinitely preferable in the movie form.
  • "Death Probe" Part 2's video quality was significantly weaker than Part 1's.  In fact, the colors looked more faded and washed out compared to the first part.
  • Many of the SMDM episodes' video quality are on par with BW's video quality, but it seems to vary somewhat episode by episode.  On balance, all of SMDM's audio and video quality is MUCH better than the R2 versions.
  • The quality of the 3 reunion movies is VERY good, much better than the prints I've seen in syndication over the years (Family Channel had a marathon once, which I recorded), and in fact they never looked this good when they originally aired on the networks (probably true for the episodes as well).
  • Seeing these shows without syndication edits (particular those from the Sci-Fi Channel) is a fresh new experience; I never thought their edits bothered me a whole lot until I realized today that Sci-Fi wasn't necessarily taking big chunks out, but rather they were snipping tiny pieces here and there, re-editing the music in places to fit their cuts, and using time compression in spots (I've saved recordings of their episodes for comparisons) in order to get them to a 45-minute run-time as seamlessly as possible. 
  • The SMDM menus and sub-menus for the DVDs are incredible!  I love the animation and the music that are featured--the layouts are very nice and easy to use.  It's a shame that Universal didn't put the same effort towards the BW Season 1 DVD menus, which are static and use images of lesser-quality.
  • I love the fact that the chapter breaks line up with each commercial break seamlessly.  Additionally, the episodes that have a prologue prior to the opening title sequence have a chapter break before the titles, and immediately after.  Universal's BW set did not have chapter breaks at each commercial, if I recall.  Little touches like this always add to the enjoyment of any tv show on DVD.
  • The packaging is superb.  I don't think I can conceive of any better way, or more user-friendly way, to do a set like this.  I finally had to turn the sound chip off after a while, but it totally puts a smile on your face the first few times you open the case.  The individual season cases and their respective artwork are very attractive, and held all the discs with no floaters when I opened them.  The liner notes are very detailed, and I learned a lot about the series that I never knew before thanks to these.  Also, the lenticular image on the top of the box is the VERY BEST moving image of this type that I have ever seen used before, far more sophisticated and animated than other lenticular imagery I've seen used in other sets and marketing pieces elsewhere.
I haven't dived into the extras much yet, but I have no doubt they are as enjoyable as the episodes themselves, and I want to savor them and work through them very slowly.

There clearly was a lot of time, love and energy put into this set, and it certainly shows from top to bottom.  In short, it's a SMDM fan's dream set, a truly complete collector's edition.  I have been waiting most of my life for a set like this, and I hope it wins tons of industry awards, it deserves them.  My supreme thanks to everyone that was involved this this--all the consultants, package designers, TL personnel, Universal and everyone else who was involved with this labor of love--everyone should be very proud of this achievement.  It was worthy every penny of the $200 I spent on it, and well worth the wait.


Anyway, enough blathering on my part--I have to dive back into this thing and continue riding this bionic adrenaline rush through the rest of the night (and early morning!)


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#19 of 34 OFFLINE   Jeff*H

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Posted November 16 2010 - 09:25 AM

Just watched the 85-minute Lee Majors interview from the bonus features set, and I was grinning like a schoolkid listening to him fondly reminisce about his favorite episodes (in particular he loved working with Andre the Giant and had some great stories to tell about him), working with the rest of the cast, talking about Farrah Fawcett, the stunts, the action figures, and even his time on "Fall Guy" and "Big Valley".  What an amazing, comprehensive interview--I don't think there was any ground they didn't cover with him.  He even talks about the 4th-season 'stache and the bellbottom pants!


Seeing bonus material like this that was produced with such TLC, and listening to the wonderful stories these actors tell (while they're still around and able to), is a true joy to behold for a lifelong fan such as myself.  If only other studios had done such in-depth interviews like these for other shows...


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#20 of 34 OFFLINE   MattHR

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Posted November 16 2010 - 10:28 AM

Originally Posted by Jeff*H 

Just watched the 85-minute Lee Majors interview from the bonus features set, and I was grinning like a schoolkid listening to him fondly reminisce about his favorite episodes (in particular he loved working with Andre the Giant and had some great stories to tell about him), working with the rest of the cast, talking about Farrah Fawcett, the stunts, the action figures, and even his time on "Fall Guy" and "Big Valley".  What an amazing, comprehensive interview--I don't think there was any ground they didn't cover with him.  He even talks about the 4th-season 'stache and the bellbottom pants!


Seeing bonus material like this that was produced with such TLC, and listening to the wonderful stories these actors tell (while they're still around and able to), is a true joy to behold for a lifelong fan such as myself.  If only other studios had done such in-depth interviews like these for other shows...



We must really give credit to Jeff Eagle and his team at Giant Interactive (the producers of the set's interview featurettes) for extending their hand to the small group of us fans throughout the whole process.  While Jeff is an acknowledged fan, I recommended their team read Herbie J Pilato's The Bionic Book for preparation and as a reference.  Giant requested us to submit a list of questions and topics to pose to the talent for their interviews.  We knew the set would be purchased by both hardcore and casual fans, so we made sure there was a wide range of topics covered, including a few that we knew had never been addressed before—ones we hardcore fans had always wanted to learn about.  I was especially pleased to have Vince Deadrick (Lee's stunt-double) and Jack Cole (designer of SMDM's main titles) participate, as they had never been the subjects of such in-depth interviews before, and certainly had some great stories to tell.







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