New Bionic Woman tough, stylish and even partly human

CanWest News Service
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In the wake of bikini-clad Britney bombing and saucy snapshots of High School Musical teen star Vanessa Hudgens, its nice to be talking about tonights premiere of the new Bionic Woman TV show.

In the wake of bikini-clad Britney bombing and saucy snapshots of High School Musical teen star Vanessa Hudgens, its nice to be talking about tonights premiere of the new Bionic Woman TV show.

A remake of sorts of the 1976 Lindsay Wagner series, The Bionic Woman is an action-filled, stylish show that is not only entertaining but also a reminder that female role models can come complete with clothes and compelling back stories that dont involve rehab or the kind of close-ups that really are, well, just too close.

Played by stunning British actor Michelle Ryan, the Jaime Sommers 2.0 version is a complex woman that is equal parts perfected machine and flawed human being.

I love the fact Jaime is a tomboy, Ryan said recently from the shows Vancouver set. Shes in her trousers and her jackets and, yes, shes sexy and, yes, you know, shes smart, but shes very much sort of a modern woman in that she doesnt need to flaunt that. You know, she gives the guys as good as she gets and she doesnt flirt to get what she wants.

Jaime cant cook, she has man troubles and theres even some body-image issues. Yes, that from a rebuilt bionic woman. Phew, I feel better, dont you?

Ryan, who is best known in England for her long stint on the popular soap East Enders, said the human side of Sommers was really appealing to her.

At the core of it, its this human being and I just feel like shes got so much depth, really, and I think thats what, you know, the element I wanted to be like, said Ryan.

I wanted to find my voice and I want to be strong and confident and I feel like playing Jaime is helping me get there.

Oh, and Ryan likes all the butt-kicking stuff, too.

I love the fact that I get to do all these stunts, says Ryan. It sort of gives you a real buzz as you go through the week.

Despite a slight modification - Jaime is more bionic this time out, adding an eye to the bionic ear, legs and right arm - fans of the first series will be happy to hear theres a lot of good bionic fun.

Theres lots of sort of high-speed running and lots of jumping, said Ryan.

I think my dance training comes in very handy because I have good flexibility and were sort of doing all these sort of big flying, spinning kicks and I think theyre looking really dynamic and sharp on screen.

Its been 30 years since the first Jaime Sommers was rebuilt. Since then, science has shifted faster than you can say, Steve, how did it happen? (Sorry, shameless Six Million Dollar Man reference.)

You know, we constantly struggle, to be honest, in the writers room, to stay current, said creator David Eick. And the risk you run, of course, is that some things are just so hard to believe, even if theyre true, they dont play as true.

In this version of the show, Jaimes fate changes when the car she is travelling in is struck by a big truck driven by the first and apparently bitter bionic woman. Yes, there is another bionic woman (Katee Sackhoff, of Battlestar Galactica fame) and shes bad news for Jaime, but good news for the show.

A fringe benefit of being a freak, says bad-girl Sarah Corvus as she takes a big drag on a cigarette in the pilot episode. The anthracites (molecular machines that help build the bionics) filter out impurities.

Once a nice bartender whose biggest worry was her teen sister, Jaime now finds herself thrust into a world of shadowy government operations and villainous types, hell-bent on doing things villainous types like to do.

While the first bionic woman operated in a pretty much black-and-white, good-versus-evil world, the new Jaimes reality is far less defined. She faces external and internal battles that challenge her daily to find a balance between bionics and biology.

Note: If you wondered what happened to Isaiah Washingtons career after that whole Greys Anatomy thing? Well, hes rebounded to play Antonio Pope, a member of the covert government organization that created the bionic woman.

Bionic Woman premieres tonight.

Organizations: High School Musical

Geographic location: Vancouver, England

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