The Bionic Woman – review

Caught the second episode last night. Finally, writers are getting the idea that people who like science fiction are pretty sophisticated. We can handle in depth plots and emotional overtones, not to mention the gray areas of the world. Like the new Battlestar Galactica, the Bionic Woman has some real teeth to it. Not as much as BSG, but some teeth.

Yet, I still can’t like it. It suffers from the same problems that many science-fiction shows have. How to work out ‘super-powers’. More on that in a minute. I’d like to mention one HORRIBLE plot discontinuity in the second episode. Jamie is listening to the news at a bar. The news is talking about a town that has been quarantined. She later goes through several scenes… including several long training periods and one scene where they mention that she has been in the organization for only three days. Then she goes to the town and is told that the event happened last night. sigh…

On to the superpowers:

Speed:  Again, from episode two, Jamie sees a woman about to jump off a building.  She looks around then runs to the woman.  A guard in the building sees a blur and then looks over his shoulder to see the glass door swinging.  Later in the episode, Jamie is told that she can run at 60mph, maybe more.

hmmm… Last time I checked, I could easily see something moving at 60mph.  It wasn’t a blur.  I occasionally watch racing on TV and I’ve seen motorcycles moving at almost 200mph… they weren’t a blur either.  Even when the camera is not tracking the object, it does not blur at any reasonable speed.  To cause a blur in human vision would require that the object be moving at a speed that the human eye could not refocus on it.  Like a hummingbird’s wing.  According to wiki, the hummingbird’s wing beats anywhere from 8 to 70 beats per second.  So that appears to be our limit.

Jamie’s legs MAY be moving at that rate… we could figure it out.  But her body isn’t.   Let’s see… running stride of 6 ft.  60 mph becomes 1 mile per minute.  So about 5500 ft per minute.  Say 900 strides per minute.  Thats 150 strides per second.  So her legs would blur, but wuld her body?

Then we come to the glass door.   It was swinging.  I submit that an object hitting a glass door at 60mph would shatter the glass.

Biology:  So Jamie’s legs can move at 150 strides per second.  Were her hips replaced?  Unless there’s a separate mechanical mount point for her legs, then her hip sockets have to support 150 strides per second.  I guess they could have coated the bone in teflon or something, but what about the heat?

And what about that shoulder?  Her arm can survive an impact with a brick wall, but can the rest of her body survive the jolt from that?

Bionics are a cool idea, but without replacing most of the biological structures with mechanical ones, you won’t be able to do what Jamie could do.  In the case, the whole is weaker than the parts.


~ by OgreMkV on October 4, 2007.

One Response to “The Bionic Woman – review”

  1. I did wonder whether over-analysing the practicality of bionics is an indication we’re wiser and more sophisticated these days, but then I remember as a little boy in the 70s discussing the exact same stuff with schoolfriends about the Bionic Man; how can he lift a car if he’s got a normal spine? How can he run that fast if his hips aren’t bionic? So I think the premise has always been that flaky, really. Maybe it just looks flakier when you try to be too serious about it.

    It’s the same problem with comics. However much profound emotional realism and noirish blah-de-blah, superhero comics have the unavoidable absurdity of people fighting crime in silly costumes. Batman, well trained as he may be, wouldn’t last five minutes in the real world. Someone would just shoot him, and that’d be that.

    And yes, I too thought the timescale of the episode was totallys screwed. I also found myself thinking it didn’t really hold up at all; I had no idea who the bad guys were, or why they were doing whatever they were doing, or how they were wandering around a town in quarantine, or why if it was safe for the “Dept Of Agriculture” folks to walk around it, nobody else was, and I found also I didn’t care too much. Toothbrush Girl handled the mass death of everyone (including her grandparents?) well, didn’t she?

    It was pretty weak, all in all.

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