Fifth-episode verdict: Bionic Woman

The Carusometer for Bionic Woman3-Minor-Caruso

After much delay, the Carusometer and I are ready to deliver our verdict on Bionic Woman. To say the show has been variable would be an understatement. The pilot episode was a full five on The Carusometer. NBC obviously took note and revamped it, resulting in a new first episode that was marginally better. A “dull as ditchwater” (sorry, Annie and Clarabel) second episode was no better, despite the arrival of Isaiah Washington in a somewhat pointless recurring role.

However, episode three seemed to be from another show altogether, with real humour and characterisation, as well as a weird drugs metaphor creeping through. Since then, the show has failed to recapture that third-episode magic, although it’s now hit some sort of stride.

Michelle Ryan is no longer second fiddle to Katee Sackoff and managed to show some charisma in episode five, albeit only when she was allowed to use an English accent. The show’s supposedly feminist subtext, which had the subtlety of the Three Stooges at first, is now quietly chugging away in the background and displaying some kind of nuance, which is nice. And episode five also showed us what the series might look like if super Jamie weren’t to spend all her time whinging and the show managed to find some plots that didn’t revolve around bionics.

All the same, it’s still not brilliant. Where there should be some sort of excitement, there’s just a gaping void. It’s not cringingly bad, it’s just not great.

So The Medium is Not Enough declares that Bionic Woman scores a three or “Minor Caruso” on The Carusometer. A Minor Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caurso might guest star as a bionic man. The show receives many plaudits at first, after Caruso’s somewhat robotic style of acting is deemed to be a perfect fit with the show. However, after being granted a five-episode arc, he is quickly written out after he demands his character be given a ‘bionic sense of right of wrong’.”


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.