The character was so popular that ABC asked the writers to find a way to bring her back. In the first episode of the next season, it is revealed that Jaime had not died after all, but Steve was not told. He soon discovers the truth when he is hospitalized after suffering severe damage to his bionic legs; he sees Jaime before slipping into a coma.
Jaime retires as a tennis player and takes a job as a schoolteacher at an Air Force base in Ojai, California. She lives in an apartment over a barn located on the ranch owned by Steve's mother and stepfather, both of whom are aware of Steve and Jaime's bionic implants and their lives as secret agents. Season three opened with the two-part episode "The Bionic Dog", in which Jaime discovers Max (short for Maximillion), a German Shepherd dog that has been given a bionic jaw and legs and can run at speeds up to 90 mph. His bionics pre-date Steve's and Jamie's, as he was a lab animal used to test early bionic prosthetics. He was named "Maximillion" because his bionics cost "a million" dollars. When he was introduced, he experienced symptoms suggesting bionic rejection and was due to be put to sleep. Jaime discovered the condition was psychological, stemming from a traumatic lab fire that injured him when he was a puppy. With Jaime's help, Max was cured and went to live with her, proving himself to be of considerable help in some of her adventures. The original intent was to create a spin-off series featuring The Bionic Dog, and at the end of the two-part episode that introduced him, it was implied Max would stay with Jaime's forest ranger friend Roger Grette in the Sierra Mountains and Jaime would visit occasionally. However, the network rejected the proposed spin-off series and Max stayed with Jaime instead, making several appearances throughout the third season of The Bionic Woman.
In the last episode ("On the Run"), Jaime is called "Robot Lady" by a little girl who has learned about her bionics. Like Steve Austin in the original book Cyborg, she has to come to terms with the fact that she is not quite human. After three years with too many assignments to allow her time to herself, she resigns. However, the people in charge decide that she cannot just be allowed to leave and want to put her into a safe community where they can keep their eye on her. She goes on the run but later realises that she is still the same woman, despite her mechanical parts and goes back to work for the OSI, but with fewer missions and more time to herself. The final episode was inspired by The Prisoner as Jaime is similarly being pursued by entities concerned about the secret information she possesses.
The second film, Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989), introduced Sandra Bullock as paraplegic Kate Mason who becomes a next-generation bionic woman and Sommers again helps train the neophyte cyborg.
On October 9, 2006, NBC Universal announced that it was bringing the project back, with new producers and a reworking of the concept. The project's one-hour pilot was given an official greenlight by NBC on January 3, 2007. English actress Michelle Ryan (affecting an American accent) was cast in the title role for this pilot, and Katee Sackhoff played Sarah Corvus, the bionic woman's nemesis. The series was subsequently picked up by NBC and debuted on September 26, 2007. Eight more episodes were produced and aired before the Writers Guild of America strike forced a halt to production. Series developer and producer David Eick told the official website of the Sci-Fi Channel (now known as Syfy) on March 18, 2008, that the series had been cancelled.
I vividly remember the original two-parter The Six Million Dollar Man episode, The Bionic Woman, featuring the love story of Jaime and Steve and her traumatic death, when it aired in March of 1975. And obviously, I wasn't the only one. The Bionic Woman series creator and head writer Kenneth Johnson, on one of the commentary tracks included on this disc set, credits this episode with kicking The Six Million Dollar Man into the ratings' stratosphere, and obviously initiating the move to create a spin-off (I would argue that these two episodes returned The Six Million Dollar Man to ratings success, as you'll see below). Again, not having seen these shows in 35 years, what came up through my memory most was the palpable chemistry between Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner, and to their credit, it still works today. Now, to be fair, it's entirely acceptable to laugh a little bit at Majors' odd, gruff warbling on the classic, hilarious Sweet Jaime song that threads through their romance montages, where he sounds like a combination of William Shatner and Clint Eastwood from Paint Your Wagon (a delightful bit of fun not exactly helped by Majors' leisure suits unbuttoned to the chest hair, and the gold chain). But Majors (a funny actor who wasn't really stretched that often by his material) has never been better than when he's interacting with the natural, charming Wagner (something Johnson alludes to, as well--Majors is excellent during her death scene), and it's easy to see that Wagner's future on TV was assured with her initial appearance here. TV was my life as a kid, and I was a very aware little viewer, and I remember what an impact this little bionic romance had on the public's imagination. So, it was hard (then and now) to let those initial good feelings go when watching the rest of The Bionic Woman series unfold. Either unwilling (from a thematic angle), or unable (from a storytelling or simply production logistics standpoint), to consistently link the two series with an on-going romance (at least in this first season...), the producers and writers don't come up with an entirely satisfactory resolution to Jaime's relationship with Steve, having her ping-pong back and forth from having no feelings for him anymore, to pally-pally, non-committal drop-ins during a mission, to Jaime worrying like Sandra Dee about whether or not Steve mentions her when he talks to Oscar. That connection between Majors and Wagner was, by all rights, the primary source of the resulting The Bionic Woman series, so to see that chemistry half-heartedly ignored does put a bit of a pall over the proceedings (not helped, either, by the several unconvincing stabs made to give Jaime new romances in these 13 episodes).
Still...there's Wagner, and she's endlessly interesting here, even if she's basically asked to do the same few set-ups over and over again (a briefing from Oscar, a bit of espionage derring-do, some humorous "pocket bionics" sprinkled throughout the episodes to keep the kids happy, before the big action conclusion). Sporting an all-American, fresh-scrubbed, youthful "girl next door" appeal filtered through an engagingly open and warm spontaneity, Wagner can do no wrong here, defining the very notion of "star" (someone the viewer finds instantly likeable and attractive and emulation-worthy), while retaining an intelligence that only hints at what she could do as an actress with some weightier material. Again, though, that's not to discount what she's given here: anchoring an action-adventure/sci-fi/romance drama requires an actor who can move between these genre requirements, and Wagner does so with admirable ease (Anderson takes his role dead-seriously...and he's a delight doing so). Perhaps a bit shaky in tone at first due to some of the early episodes' scattershot approach (bringing Jaime back to life in Welcome Home, Jaime doesn't really work...and why is multi-million dollar bionic spy Jaime protecting a lion, ferchrissakes, in the miscalculated Claws, or helping school bus driver Donald O'Connor in the thoroughly familiar mob/blackmail story, A Thing of the Past?), The Bionic Woman picks up speed as it finds its footing, eventually knocking out one entertaining episode after another. The Deadly Missiles features tons of fun bionic action as Forrest Tucker hot-wires Jaime's injured leg (he asks her if they sent an owner's manual along with her), before Jaime digs up a buried junction box like a hound on crack (the sound effects cues are uniformly excellent here-and always amusing). Bionic Beauty rushes firmly into "camp" territory (hate that inexact term, but it fits here) as Wagner enters a beauty pageant and instead of bending iron bars for the talent portion of the contest, sings the single-most hated song of the 1970s: Feelings (when she did that, I got the whim-whams). And what would a TV episode about a beauty pageant be without Bert Parks, who shows yet again how subversively funny his whole pageant shtick was all along (when told about Goldman's threat, Bert sneers, "There's also an Oscar Meyer who makes weiners." Classic). Winning is Everything gives Jaime a shot at her first post-Steve Austin romance, with dreamy manic/depressive race car driver John Elerick chickening out during some gnarly rally sport action (Jaime kisses him...but you can tell there's no bionic "boiiiinnngggg"). Canyon of Death has an intriguing subplot concerning Indian identity amid the hijinks with a stolen jet pack, while Fly Jaime combines Airport '75 with Lost (or more accurately, Gilligan's Island) as Jaime plays a stew (I'm feeling faint...) and helps Dr. Rudy who's critically injured. The Jailing of Jaime could have done more to play up the rogue agent element of the plot, having Jaime unfairly accused of treason before she breaks out of jail, but the plot is solid, and the action credible. Mirror Image gives Wagner a chance to shine in a dual role, dredging up one of TV's favorite goofy plots--the evil twin, in this case, a plastic surgery duplicate--for delightful results (watch the funny, farcical elevator sequence that's perfectly timed by director Alan J. Levi). And finally, the seasonally-appropriate The Ghost Hunter, written and directed by series creator Kenneth Johnson, is a low-key but thoroughly enjoyable (and extremely well-directed) little ominous psychological/occult thriller, with Jaime encountering a very real supernatural presence troubling Kristy McNichol and her dreamy/angry scientist father. 2b1af7f3a8