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DVD Shopping Bag: Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Series

Better, Faster, Stronger?

By Robert T. Trate     November 23, 2010

Lee Majors is the 6 Million Dollar Man
© TimeLife/Bob Trate


“Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster”. -Oscar Goldman
We all know the show, but how many of us remember when it was on? The Six Million Dollar Man, featuring Lee Majors as Steve Austin, is a show from another age. There weren’t over a hundred channels to pick from so people’s entertainment was incredibly limited. That isn’t a comment on the show or its performance. It’s just strange to look back now and see the loosely stitched together plots, back lot Hollywood sets, numerous slow motion sequences and think that this passed for television? Well, it did and the adventures of Steve Austin ran for 100 episodes. It spawned numerous movies of the week and the Bionic Woman series. I took a gamble on Time Life’s exclusive box set and for the most part I enjoyed it.
The Pilot (awesome)
In the beginning Darren McGavin played the Oscar Goldman type character only to be replaced later by Richard Anderson. As a huge fan of McGavin’s work it was a downer not to see him at least in the second part of the TV Movie. The same thing happened with Martin Balsam as Austin’s confidant and Doctor friend. This great character is replaced by Martin E. Brooks. Obviously, they were both in there for just the TV Movie but why do this at all?
The plot for the pilot is actually much darker than one would think. Steve Austin doesn’t really want to live and even attempts suicide. It was probably the most realistic part of the show. Here is this man given a second chance and he doesn’t want it because he can’t feel whole. Today on television this would have been exploited and an essential part to the show. Roll that with how Steve would battle losing his humanity in a digital world. Is he still a man? Is he a machine? Where would one start and the other begin?
Steve is even double crossed by his own government so they can test out their new toy. This happens again later, but not really where I thought these stories would go. They immediately put Steve on the defensive and against the people who did this to him. Perhaps this was a comment on the times or a way for the audience to identify more with this man who had no control of his life. Bravo to Terrence McDonnell and Howard Rodman for their writing of the pilot. It easily translates for a modern audience.
Episode 2 (snore)
The rest of the TV Movie takes a drastic turn and becomes more of a poor man’s James Bond. Steve is sent out on mission and again is double crossed by his own government. Being the true hero that he is he wishes to go back and save his contact. Of course she is dead and the government uses this to their advantage again. Steve thinks he is avenging her death but really he is out to stop a nuclear arms deal from going down. There are a lot of great character actors scattered in this episode as well. Thankfully, in hindsight, this made for TV James Bond movie has a future Bond girl, Britt Ekland, supplying plenty of eye candy. The only thing that made it memorable, besides Eklnad’s body, was the ultra cheesy opening. The slick cool one we have all known and love wasn’t there. Instead it was a James Bond type song and really poor graphics.
The Search For Bigfoot (parts 1 and 2)
Several years ago when the SYFY channel was called the Sci-Fi Channel I saw the end of the episode: “The Search For Big Foot”. I was flabbergasted by what I saw and knew I had to see the whole thing. My expectations were more than met as this episode was packed with all kinds of Sci-Fi goodness. Steve is off to search the wilderness for some geologist friends that have gone missing. It starts out simple enough but Steve discovers a group of extraterrestrial scientists that have been observing mankind for years. Bigfoot turns out to be their muscle and the show down is on.
The episode was produced by the very same producer who brought us Star Trek 2 through 6, Harve Bennett. It was penned by Kenneth Johnson who delivered great science fiction television with The Incredible Hulk, V, and Alien Nation. The plot was smart, the casting was incredible, and it even featured Andrea the Giant as Bigfoot. It was great science fiction television and a blast to watch.
The Box Set
Packed with tons of special features this box set literally has everything (it even plays the theme). It is the perfect gift for the fan of the series or those that love retro-television (see bottom of column for full details). I would also like to mention that after watching Lee Majors in Human Target last season it was obvious why they cast his as the original Christopher Chance. It might just be one of the best casting decisions ever made.
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Series (follow link to Time Life.com)
2. 'Meet John Doe - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition
3. Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray]
4. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo) [Blu-ray]
5. Marvel Knights: Iron Man - Extremis
Alarm Starring Aidan Turner and Ruth Bradley
Convicted Starring Aileen Pringle
Kill Zone (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Jacky Wu, and Sammo Hung
Knight and Day (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Holiday Gift Set) Starring Tom Cruise, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jordi Molla
Knight and Day (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+ Digital Copy)
Roger Corman Collection 3 Escape from Prison Starring Pam Grier, Mike Connors, Beverly Garland, and Carole Mathews
The Sicilian Girl Starring Gerard Jugnot
Shadowland Starring Caitlin McIntosh, Jason Contini, Carlos Antonio Leon
Valhalla Rising Starring Mads Mikkelsen
Birdy the Mighty: Decode Part 1 Starring Luci Christian, Micah Solusod, and J. Michael Tatum
Birdy the Mighty: Decode 02 Starring Luci Christian, Micah Solusod, and J. Michael Tatum
Hell Girl: Three Vessels Collection 2
Bee Movie (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas / Anti-M Music Videos and more Starring Jonathan Harris, Bill Mumy, Angela Cartwright
Looney Tunes Super Stars: Foghorn Leghorn Friends
Looney Tunes Super Stars: Tweety & Sylvester
Madagascar (Two-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Marvel Knights: Iron Man - Extremis
Monsters vs Aliens (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Prince of Egypt & Joseph: King of Dreams (Double Feature)
Sinbad: Legend of Seven Seas & Road to El Dorado (Double Feature)
Wallace & Gromit: Curse Were-Rabbit & Chicken Run (Double Feature)
Fantasia / Fantasia 2000 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring James Levine, Steve Martin, Leopold Stokowski
Fantasia & Fantasia 2000 Special Edition
'Meet John Doe - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Starring Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold
Red-Haired Alibi (1932) / Stolen Jools (1931) Starring Shirley Temple, Theodore von Eltz, Buster Keaton
Return of Draw Egan (Silent) Starring William S. Hart
Walt & El Grupo Starring Janet Lansburgh
Hair High By Bill Plympton
Meet the Parents [Blu-ray] Starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro
Voodoo Cowboys Starring Whitney Mixter, Matt Yeager, Caleb Shaner, and Leo Smith
Make-Out with Violence [Blu-ray] Starring Eric Lehning, Cody DeVos, Leah High, and Tia Shearer
The Sorcerer's Apprentice Starring Nicolas Cage and Monica Bellucci
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+Digital Copy)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo) [Blu-ray]
Waiting for Gorgo Starring Geoffrey Davies, Kelly Eastwood, and Nicholas Amer
Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet, Volume 17 Starring Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, David Nelson, and Ricky Nelson
Eckhart 1
Eckhart 2
George Burns & Gracie Allen Show, Volume 1 & 2 (2-DVD) Starring George Burns and Gracie Allen
Have Gun Will Travel: Season Five, Volume One Starring Richard Boone and Kam Tong
Lucy Show: Three Season Pack Starring Gale Gordon, Jimmy Garrett, and Ralph Hart
Sid & Marty Kroffts Saturday Morning Hits
Soldiers of Fortune - The Complete Television Series 52 Episodes! Starring John Russell, Chick Chandler, Boyd Stockman, and Red Morgan
Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray] Starring Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Nick Tate, and Barry Morse
The Veil, Volume 1 & 2 (2-DVD) Starring Boris Karloff
Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Series Special Features:
-40 DVDs in a collectible packaging featuring a special audio chip and 3-D lenticular artwork
-All 100 original, unedited episodes (1974-1978)
-All three pilot TV Movies: “The Six Million Dollar Man”, “Wine, Women and War”, “Solid Gold Kidnapping, digitally remastered from original source materials
-All three made-for-TV reunion movies: The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman”, “Bionic Showdown” and “Bionic Ever After?”), digitally remastered from original source materials
-17 Featurettes:
Real Bionics: How Science Fiction Is Becoming Science Fact
An Iconic Opening: The Six Million Dollar Man Show Open Never Disappointed
The Bionic Sound Effects
The Search For Bigfoot
The Six Million Dollar Fans: So Loyal, So Bionic!
The Six Million Dollar Man's Best Villains, Best Fights
 TV Goes Bionic: The Untold Story Of The Six Million Dollar Man, Part I, II
Top Secret: The OSI, NASA and Bionics
The Pop Culture Effect
The Reunion Films: Life After The Series
Bionic Action…Figures!!!
The Stunts Of The Bionic Age: Pushing The Envelope
-6 Audio Commentaries: Writer Kenneth Johnson on “The Bionic Woman”, “The Bionic Woman, Part II”, “The Secret of Bigfoot”, “The Secret of Bigfoot, Part II” and Director Cliff Bole on “The Blue Flash” and “Vulture of the Andes”
-Mini-biographies of the actors and their characters: Getting to Know: “Steve Austin”, “Jaime Sommers”, “Oscar Goldman”, “Rudy Wells”
-OSI Mission Debriefings featuring all-new extensive interviews with Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks, Executive Producer Harve Bennett and writer/producer Kenneth Johnson
-Season 1-5 VIPs: A Celebration of The Six Million Dollar Man Guest Stars
-Interactive Bonus Feature: “Bionic Breakdown”
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


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karas1 11/23/2010 5:02:27 AM

I remember The Six Million Dollar Man from when it was first broadcast.  And from when there were 7 channels on my family's TV.  It seemed like a lot of entertainment choices back then.

Roqueja 11/23/2010 6:33:15 AM

Absolutely loved TSMDM series as a kid.  I'm going to have to have a good long hard look at the price tag on this.  Also, it was Andre the Giant, not Andrea.  That would probably be his really ugly twin sister.

mike10 11/23/2010 6:50:38 AM

I also watched The Six Million Dollar Man when it first aired and my cousin and I had nearly all of the toys and I currently have the Steve Austin figure. Kids today don't know what cool toys they missed from the 70's and 80's. I recently brought the copies of the show on EBay before Time Life announced the DVD set so I will be buying myself this new set for Christmas. 

redvector 11/23/2010 7:01:28 AM

Batman Beyond: The Boxed set was also released today. I'm suprised that mania didn't mention it.

Tevii 11/23/2010 8:09:59 AM

Same with The Expendables

jedibanner 11/23/2010 1:02:03 PM

I was gonna mention it, just bought the Expendable Blue Ray, really nice additional material.

Wyldstaar 11/23/2010 3:29:07 PM

I'd like to get TSMDM, but I don't want that big box and can't afford it anyway.  Guess I'll have to wait for season one to be released.  I've waited this long, a bit longer won't kill me.

doublec 11/23/2010 9:09:28 PM

Uh, the  video list shown here is next week's releases.

And the Bigfoot episode is named The Secret of Bigfoot, not Search, and starred Andre The Giant, NOT Andrea, for Christ's sake, as Sasquatch.

tiberiuscan 11/24/2010 5:44:53 AM

Loved the original series BECAUSE of the cheezy effects. (Why does a man who can run 60 miles an hour run in slow motion)? ANSWER: the speeded up effects looked even cheezier. B.T.W. the original TV Movie was based loosely on the original novel by Martin Caidin. As in the novel Steve does not accept his bionica and does consider himself a Frankenstein. Caidin would eventually try and sue ABC for the way they 'bastardized' his creation. His Steve Austin was much more beleivable and could not run 60 miles an hour or lift a ton with one arm. Nor did Caidin's Steve Austin have a Bionic Eye (though he did in later novels after the series became a hit.

Also Britt Ekland was NOT in the original Pilot but was in the SECOND Pilot episode called "Wine Women and War". At that time ABC was looking for an action adventure more in the realm of James Bond and there was less focus on his bionics.

The Six Million Dollar Man and it's successor The Bionic Woman may not go down in history as the greatest television shows ever produced but it's Bionic legacy is still very much alive today.

Wyldstaar 11/24/2010 4:37:38 PM

Checked out the Batman Beyond box set at BestBuy today, and was very disappointed.  The collection comes in a long flat plastic case that doesn't easily fit into most dvd shelves.  I'd prefer to get the extras that come with this set, but not if I have to get that stupid case for them.  I'm going to wait for a few months.  The complete Battlestar Galactica set was first released in an awful display case as well, and was later released in a more managable format.  Maybe BB with do the same.

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