ScifiPulse’s series “Relaunch, Reboot, or Reimagine” is back, and this time we are taking on The Six Million Dollar Man. To refresh yourself on the rules for this article series, you can find them here.
“Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive.”
“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better… stronger…faster.”
Based on Martin Caidin’s 1972 novel, Cyborg, The Six Million Dollar Man was first brought to television in the form of three television movies which aired in 1973. These TV-movies were so well received that ABC turned it into a standard television series that ran for five seasons from 1974 to 1978 and generated 99 episodes.
After the show ended, the franchise maintained such popularity that three more television movies were produced and a spin-off series was even created. This spin-off series being The Bionic Woman, which ran for three seasons between 1976 to 1978.
The Six Million Dollar Man was helmed by legendary television producers Kenneth Johnson and Harve Bennett, and the show has remained so popular that many other creators and studios have considered renewing this franchise. In addition to several comic books, several studios have invested time and money into creating a film based on this show. The most recent example is Warner Bros.’ The Six Billion Dollar Man. This project gained traction because it is set to star Mark Wahlberg, but has recently hit a speed bump with director Damian Szifron being removed. To date, the most successful continuation of the franchise was the 2007 reimagining of The Bionic Woman.
The Six Million Dollar Man is an intellectual property that is still popular and clearly still worth a ton of money, so we at ScifiPulse are going to share our ideas as to how this series can be brought back.
Reboot It – Tye Bourdony – @lighterSideScif
Col. Steve Austin is a former combat pilot with three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he went on to fly with the legendary Blue Angels. Austin was ultimately recruited by Space Now founder Efron Husk, to head the Millennium Mark I project; to win the prestigious X-Prize.
Space Now’s Millennium Mark I is a practical suborbital reentry vehicle, capable of easily carrying space cargo and personnel in and out of low to high Earth orbit. The kind of revolutionary and breakthrough vehicle that can change not just space aviation, but advance the future of humanity itself.
On the Millennium Mark I’s first public voyage to compete for the X-prize and just before successfully completing his mission, the Millennium Mark I experiences a major malfunction, which almost kills Col. Steven Austin the fiery re-entry of his craft.
But thanks to modern technology and the significant resources of the billionaire space visionary, Efron Husk, Steve Austin’s broken body is rebuilt. Husk and Space Now make Austin a better human in every way. Spending over Six Hundred Billion Dollars, Efron Husk turns Col. Austin into a bionically enhanced man, who will lead humanity into the future, whether he’s ready or not.
Husk tells a reborn Steve Austin a horrifying secret only he and an elite few know. The atmosphere is beginning to burn up, with the entire world getting hotter at an exhilarated rate not yet revealed publicly.
Humanity has less than two to three decades at best before extreme temperatures become unbearable and lead to the inevitable destruction of the human race. Billions of people worldwide will perish, but Husk has a plan to save humanity. He calls is the ARC Initiative. But it can’t save everyone, just a precious few. Enough to seed the human race again on three new worlds.
Space Now’s ARKS (need a cool acronym, which I have yet to come up with) are the only hope Husk sees for the continued survival of the human race. Several ARKS will travel beneath the sea’s waves, into the deepest levels of the world’s oceans. While other ARKS will set up colonies on the moon, with the longest ARC voyages blasting off to seed Mars with human colonies.
Efron Husk appoints Steve Austin Captain of Space Now’s first of three Mars colony ships, due to begin deployment in five years’ time. Austin’s mission is first to ensure the success of the Colony Mars ARK ships completion. And second, to support the greater ARK project.
The search for the human talent needed for the ARK Initiative, along with the needed materials and technology, will take Steve Austin to every corner of the planet. At times facing off against competing global, industrial, political interests and adversaries, as well as Mother Nature and cold space itself.
Relaunch It – Ian Cullen – @ScifiPulse
Although it was tried several times in the late 1980’s and early 90’s with three TV Movies, a relaunch of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman is still as possible as it was back then. When you look at how the world has advanced since the 90’s with high-speed internet, virtual reality, Bluetooth, and no end of wearable technology’s coming into play, then bionic technology no longer seems so farfetched.
In fact, back in 2013, we heard about Frank the world’s first Bionic Man, which was, in essence,e a robot. Not a Cyborg as depicted in Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. But this does show that we do indeed have the technology. Which in turn means that someday, if we haven’t already, we could see human beings with bionic limbs.
Our relaunch would start at the funeral of Oscar Goldman. We’d see the older Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers in attendance along with Steve’s son, Colonel Michael Austin, and his wife and son, Joe Austin. While the funeral is going on they are all speculating about the organization called ECD who they believe had Oscar killed.
The ECD has been running interference on various diplomatic missions to try and find a compromise with Russia and North Korea and thus far have been very successful. The world is no longer a safe place.
Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers now long retired from the OSI still work casually as mentor figures for the OSI’s bionic program. Bionics are now far more common place than they once were and are used to help amputees by replacing their broken limbs with new enhanced limbs that in the commercial world are only slightly better than human limbs. However, agents of OSI all have some form of bionic enhancement of some description or other. They are a special breed that is needed in today’s unstable world.
As was shown in the movie, Bionic Showdown, other countries have now gotten Bionic operatives, which has leveled the playing field somewhat for both military and covert soldiers and spies.
This relaunch would focus on Joe Austin who is Steve Austin’s grandson. The show will pick up shortly after Joe has gotten his bionics and we’ll see him being trained for missions, which he will be leading as part of the OSI’s new Bionic Taskforce. Think Mission Impossible, but on steroids and with bionics.
The series would focus on Joe and his team, and their various missions in and around the world stage. Joe’s immediate superior at the OSI will be Mike Sloan who pretty much fills the role of the late Oscar Goldman as both a leader and mentor figure. Heading up the Bionics research division and filling the role that Rudy Wells filled will be Dr. Kate Mason who is a former OSI operative and the worlds second Bionic Woman. Due to Kate having been played by Sandra Bullock in the Bionic Showdown TV movie, this role will have to be recast, but suffice to say, Kate is every bit as smart as Rudy Wells, who taught her everything she knows.
Of course, we’ll see Steve and Jaime on and off in this new series, but they will be mentor figures for Joe who is still learning about how his Bionics work and coming to terms with them. My idea for Steve and Jaime would be to have a subplot that deals with Bionics and the ageing process. What are the costs in terms of age related illnesses that Bionics can cause, and how will Steve and Jaime deal with those obstacles do the bionics have to be rebalanced to accommodate for arthritis in the remaining human limbs. Do herbal remedies come into play? So we’ll not see Steve and Jaime running around like they once did.
A bulk of the stories in this relaunch will see Joe and his team go up against various ECD agents as well as other nefarious agencies. We’ll see missions where Joe and his team have to rescue people wanting to move to a safer country. Basically a modern take on the sort of Cold War stories we saw in the classic shows.
The feel of the classic series would remain a part of this continuation with the humour and light dramatic approach that made the original shows such a favourite with the family audience. But we could potentially see other science fiction elements brought into play. The universe that the original shows created was always fairly relevant to the times, but the science and technology we saw was always streets ahead of the now and seemed to be very farfetched at the time. I think any relaunch of the original Bionic shows should emulate that approach.
Reimagined – Nicholas Yanes – @nicholasyanes
The original The Six Million Dollar Man series was a staple of science fiction television in the 1970s. Despite the growing distrust towards the US government during this decade, The Six Million Dollar Man largely depicted the government in a positive manner and centered on the main character, Steve Austin, having a clearly patriotic relationship with the agency he worked for. Further, the science fiction in this show clearly embodied an optimism towards scientific advancement.
This sense of positivity towards the government and science will not be in how I would reimagine The Six Million Dollar Man.
Scientific theories on nanotechnology and molecular machines were popularized in the late 1950s, and this is when the back story for the show’s name will begin. The idea being that the scientists in the 1950s and 60s who were first theorizing about nanomachines predicted that this technology could be made for six-million dollars. The science was dismissed by the government and the military at the time, and research was permanently labeled “The Six Million Dollar Man Project” to mock it. This research would eventually be purchased by a military contractor who was also investing in private civilian space flight.
After NASA astronaut and Air Force Officer Steve Austin is horribly injured when a prototype spaceship crashes, the company offers to save his life if the military allows them to monitor Austin’s health. With nothing to lose, Steve’s injured body is given to company so that they can use him in one of their nanotechnology experiments. The experiment works and the nanotechnology not only rebuilds Steve, it gives him enhanced strength, speed, senses, and the ability to connect to any digital technology.
While Steve is grateful to be alive, he finds himself uncertain in his new role as a super solider for the government. Moreover, he finds his immediate connection to all things digital to be a sensory overload at first and decides to live a life free of any digital technology when he is not at work. However, just has he begins to adjust to his new life he begins to realize that he is suffering from laps of time and there is evidence of him doing things he doesn’t remember.
Using analog technology and help from friends who are underground hackers, Steve learns that his nanites are encoded to allow the government and the military contractor to control him from a distance; basically, he is now the property of the government and a multinational corporation.
Once these ideas are fully established by the middle of the first season, the series will find Steve on regular missions for the government and the corporation while trying to free himself from their control. With this, the show will use Steve to explore how technology shapes our day-to-day lives, corporate espionage in the 21st century, digital surveillance, and the problematic legal issues surrounding ownership of consumer digital goods.
So what do you think of this? How would you like to see The Six Million Dollar Man brought back? Comment below or harass us on twitter at @NicholasYanes, Tye Bourdony – @lighterSideScif, and @SciFiPulse.
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