Friday, July 06, 2012

Why I Still Love DVD

Today I finally finished watching The Bionic Woman on DVD. It was one of the first television shows to feature a true series finale with narrative closure: "On the Run," in which Jaime Sommers, feeling monstrous because of her bionics and sick of OSI missions eating up her life, resigns from the organization and finds herself on the run from a government that sees her as property.

It's a great episode, far better than any other in the somewhat lackluster third season. But frustratingly, in the final moments, Jaime decides to keep working for OSI after all, with the stipulation that her workload be reduced.

Fortunately "On the Run" features an audio commentary by the episode's writer, Steven de Souza, famous for scripting later hits such as Commando and the first two Die Hard films. De Souza reveals that the episode as scripted ended with Jaime escaping a squad of government goons and running off into the sunset, free to pursue her own destiny. But the demands of syndication forced the inclusion of the coda so that viewers wouldn't be confused should the finale appear in the middle of the rerun schedule, as it inevitably would.

It's a shame that things turned out the way they did, but "On the Run" is still a pretty good episode, and as de Souza recommends, you can always pretend the ending was filmed as originally scripted.

Why do I still love DVD? Because from time to time the format can still offer compelling glimpses into the behind-the-scenes world of film and television production.

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