I can’t deny that television series from the 70’s and 80’s have certainly remained ingrained in my memory banks. Needless to say, the idea of a fanedit from one of my most fondly remembered shows, The Six Million Dollar Man, certainly set that old “nostalgia” part of my brain ticking – and when it’s a Bionic Bob edit, well, you know you’re in pretty safe hands.
The main bulk of the edit is based on the 1st episode proper once the series was given the green light, “Population:Zero”. It’s a wise choice, as it’s certainly one of the strongest from the first season, with a wonderful eerie “small town” style atmosphere to it. Not only that, but it actually lends itself remarkably well to the way in which Bob wanted to approach this edit, which is to basically make this as the perfect TV pilot to introduce us to the man who is, Steve Austin. This in itself is a blessing, for as much as I like the first TV movie, “The Moon and the Desert”, it really does drag in terms of pacing and once you push aside all the intriguing scenes of Steve’s accident and his process of recovery after becoming the world’s first bionic man, there is little else left to engage the viewer – well, at least this viewer anyway.
By inserting scenes from the first TV movie in the form of flashbacks, CYBORG becomes a much more multi layered version of the Population Zero episode. Of course, there is a real danger of such scenes feeling very random if they’re used too much or at the wrong moment, but one of the advantages by using this particular episode comes in the fact that Steve ends up wearing what appears to be the same space suit which he wore during the ill-fated test flight, resulting in the flashbacks feeling very natural for the most part. A shame therefore that the very last one, between Oscar and Rudy, whereby they discuss the psychological affect which the bionics are having upon Steve, does feel a bit forced. This is due to a) the fact Steve was not present and therefore would have no memory of this and b) because it also involves the shady activities of another villain from a different story which therefore have no relevance to this edit. However, Bob kind of gets away with this because on the flip-side it does work in relation to leading up to the “Lost Adventure” which makes for a very enjoyable bonus feature.
Having started to watch season1 of SMDM recently, one aspect I did miss was the bionic sound effects which I remember so fondly. I didn’t even realise that they simply didn’t exist in the first season! So, I was very relieved to see Bob has inserted these at every “bionic super feat” opportunity (Even if I think I worried my girlfriend, as every time it happened I appeared to have the smile of a 8 year old plastered across my face!). The added music also works very well – to the point where it’s hard to tell when it’s new and when it’s part of the original source. I also liked the POV zoom effect for Steve’s bionic-eye – very nicely done.
On the technical side, Bob’s editing is nicely executed, particularly the way in which the flashbacks are utilised (nice use of the heartbeat sound effect and they feel very much like they come from the time period in which the programme was originally produced). Picture quality is fine throughout for a programme of this age and I couldn’t really notice any interlacing on my TV, something which I know he had issues with when making the edit. As DwightFry mentioned, the aspect ratio appears off a little – it’s still 1.33:1 (or 4.3 if you prefer) in theory, but it does have little black bars at the top and bottom which give the impression of something in the region of 1.66:1. if you were to zoom the picture up. But hey, it’s not a real big deal and after about 5 minutes I’d forgotten about it.
Now, as much as I’m a fan of all BionicBob edits, the audio side of the equation can occasionally fall a little short. Certainly it’s a side of fanediting which has got better for Bob on each edit and I’m glad to report that CYBORG continues the upward trend of smooth transitions and sound levels which for the most part appear just about right. Good job mate
All in all then, CYBORG is everything I wanted this edit to be. It genuinely has become the ultimate Six Million Dollar Man pilot for me and to anyone who was coming to the series for the first time, I would quite honestly show this over any of the three TV movies. A well deserved 9/10.
Oh, and as for the news that there will be at least one more SMDM edit to come? All I can say is you’ve made me so excited that I want to go on ebay and purchase the “Bionic Transport and Repair Station” – my favourite toy which I used to have when I was about 5 or 6! Thank you Bob
This review is based on my opinions and my personal viewing experience, nothing is meant as an attack. Spoiler warning!
I really liked this edit! I like the music replacement because i could never tell where there was new music; so it is very well done. There are some volume issues, but probably wont be noticed by the casual viewer and they did not spoil the experience for me. I think i heard a small pop at the closing of one of the flashback scenes that i don’t think was supposed to be there.
I would have worked on the style of the transitions between flashbacks more, Bob almost had the Easy Rider type transitions going in a few places and it would have been better if perfected a bit more IMO (however interlacing issues may have may have made it very difficult for Bob to do all the things he would have liked to do in this matter). When Steve is looking into the fire: i thought it would have worked better if you cut to a shot of a garbage can burning (close up shot of fire, not necessarily a burning garbage can) and have it zoom in on the fire, as it zooms in it blurs and transitions into the flashback, then when the flashback is over use the same method only reverse: unblur/unzoom -> shot of steve watching fire, then you wouldn’t have had to re-use the eye shot (which wasn’t colored for night). Some of the transitions felt a bit forced but if i didn’t know it was a fanedit i probably wouldnt have thought about it (but there’s only so much to work with when fanediting). But that’s just me. I like the slick use of the heartbeat, and black and white to color and back again works just right!
I felt a few bits of dialog in the flashbacks were odd as i wondered what they were talking about (when they would mention stuff from another episode).
I think BionicBob accomplished what he set out to do, Great Job man!
I must say that i liked The Lost Mission bonus edit the best, it was hilarious and fun as hell!
The menu design is the best Bob has done thus far IMO and the extras are very nicely executed.
I mentioned earlier in this review that Bob was faced with interlacing problems and had to use some filters to make sure it wasn`t apparent, i NEVER ONCE noticed any interlacing on my tv so Good work, Bob!