Review The Six Million Dollar Man (1973)

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
Great show of the seventies and a lot of fun too! Steve Austin as played by lee Majors was a real hero when he was fighting robots, mad scientists, bionic baddies like The Seven million Dollar Man, Big Foot and The Death Probe but some of the spy shows were a bit dull towards the end of the series!
JB
 

Doctor Omega

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The book that started it all....


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Cyborg is the title of a science fiction/secret agent novel, written by Martin Caidin, which was first published in 1972. The novel also included elements of speculative fiction, and was adapted as the television movie The Six Million Dollar Man, which was followed by a weekly series of the same name, both of which starred Lee Majors, and also inspired a spin-off, The Bionic Woman.

Plot summary

Cyborg is the story of an astronaut and test pilot, Steve Austin, who experiences a catastrophic crash during a flight, leaving him with all but one limb destroyed, blind in one eye, and with other major injuries.

At the same time, a secret part of the American government, the Office of Strategic Operations (OSO) has taken an interest in the work of Dr. Rudy Wells concerning bionics - the replacement of human body parts with mechanical prosthetics that (in the context of this novel) are more powerful than the original limbs. Wells also happens to be a good friend of Austin's, so when OSO chief Oscar Goldman "invites" (or rather, orders) Wells to rebuild Austin with bionics limbs, Wells agrees.

Steve Austin is outfitted with two new legs capable of propelling him at great speed, and a bionic left arm with almost human dexterity and the strength of a battering ram. One of the fingers of the hand incorporates a poison dart gun. His left eye is replaced with a false, removable eye that is used (in this first novel) to house a miniature camera. Other physical alterations include the installation of a steel skull plate to replace bone smashed by the crash, and a radio transmitter built into a rib. This mixture of man and machine is known as a cyborg, from which the novel gets its title.

The first half of the novel details Austin's operation and both his reaction to his original injuries—he attempts to commit suicide—and his initially resentful reaction to being rebuilt with bionic prosthetic hardware. The operation has a price: Austin is committed to working for the OSO as a reluctant agent. The second half of the novel describes Austin being teamed with an already experienced female operative, and his mission to the Middle East as both spy and weapon. Austin, already coming to appreciate his bionic implants, relies heavily on his augmentation during the mission and by the end accepts his role.

Steve Austin series

Caidin's book was written as the first of a series, and during the next few years, he wrote three more books that were, for the most part, independent of the continuity of the television series (upon which additional novels were written by other authors):

None of the sequels to Cyborg were adapted for the television series.
 
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johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
I remember seeing most of those toys either in the shops at the time or on the net (Sasquatch figure) and Maskatron was meant to be the John Saxon robot from Day of The Robot episode but I didn't know they did a Fembot doll! Which is strange as they were a bionic Woman foe rather than a Steve enemy! Why didn't they do a Seven Million dollar Man figure too?

JB
 

Doctor Omega

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Also on the cards is Warners’ recent acquisition of the rights to The Weinstein Company’s “The Six Billion Dollar Man” film reboot of the iconic 1970s TV series. Damian Szifron is attached to pen and direct with Mark Wahlberg slated to star.
 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
They've been talking about this for years and nothing ever happens! So don't worry about it! They've been on about a remake of Hellraiser for the last decade or more and that still hasn't turned up, although there is a tenth movie been made but they're holding it back for some reason!
JB
 

Doctor Omega

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M.A.C.H. 1 was a comic strip that ran in the British science fiction comic 2000 AD. The strip was created by writer Pat Mills and illustrator Enio. It debuted in the first issue of 2000 AD, which was published in February 1977, and ran nearly continuously until issue 64, dated 13 May 1978.


Development

Pat Mills has said the idea was a deliberate ripoff of The Six Million Dollar Man after kids said they wanted to see that in a comic, and the concept of a computer brain as a partner was taken by John Wagner from Marvel Comics' Deathlok.[1] The name came from Doug Church while Mills, according to Church, came up with the acronym on the spot.[2]

Premise

Initially, M.A.C.H. 1 thematically resembled the Six Million Dollar Man, but with more graphic violence. As the strip continued the tone became increasingly dark. This contrasted directly with The Six Million Dollar Man, who began as a killer, but was progressively softened by the TV networks until it fitted into family entertainment.


Plot

John Probe is a British Secret Service agent at first engaging in missions against Communists, terrorists and organised crime. He has been given extreme physical enhancement by a method known as "compu-puncture" to give him "hyperpower", and a computer imprinted onto his skull to control and advise on use of the hyperpower. The computer also grants him occasional mental skills, such as how to pilot aeroplanes, drive an armoured car, or specific scientific and military knowledge he would not normally possess. Probe eventually discovers that his superior, Denis Sharpe, had engineered the compu-puncture treatment which had given him his abilities so as to erase Probe's pre-augmented memory and to cause his death if he did not receive frequent treatment. As a result, Probe was forced to work for Sharpe.

Probe attempted to leave Sharpe and the service several times, but was forced to return for controlling hyperpower injections - although one story suggests that he has left Sharpe for an unspecified but considerable length of time. Probe's computer would often attempt to overrule or counter his human emotions, but as the story wore on Probe became more and more resentful to both the computer and Sharpe's orders, often disobeying the computers advice completely. Eventually, M.A.C.H. 1 killed Sharpe and then sacrificed himself to enable aliens, provoked into attacking Earth by Sharpe, to return home. Probe's life before his compu-puncture treatment was never clarified or explained, and it was stated several times that the only person who knew anything about his prior life was Sharpe himself.

Characters
  • John Probe: A British Secret Service agent who volunteered for a special procedure whereby his physical strength, speed and agility would be enhanced using 'compu-puncture' (M.A.C.H. stands for "Man Activated by Compu-puncture Hyperpower"), a computerised form of acupuncture. His metabolism was controlled by a computer implanted in his skull, which also fed him tactical information such as the amount of strength or the exact throwing angle required for a given task.
  • M.A.C.H. Zero: M.A.C.H. 1 later met M.A.C.H. Zero, a prototype agent who had not been equipped with a computer implant and had consequently been driven insane by the uncontrolled hyperpower. M.A.C.H. Zero later appeared in his own strip, involving a search for his son Tommy, based on a case of mistaken identity
  • Tanya Maski, an East European M.A.C.H. agent created after Sharpe sold the compu-puncture techniques to the Soviets. Maski had been created using inferior technology and although she possessed similar hyperpower to M.A.C.H. 1 would burn out much sooner. Aware of this, she sacrificed herself to allow M.A.C.H. 1 to escape and confront Sharpe over his involvement.
  • M.A.C.H. 2 a robot successor to M.A.C.H. 1, created by Sharpe in order to remove the human element and perceived limitations from the M.A.C.H. project. M.A.C.H. 1 fought M.A.C.H. 2, and was beaten, but managed to severely damage M.A.C.H. 2 during the fight. Sharpe prevented M.A.C.H. 2 from killing M.A.C.H. 1, recognising that the human element - which was what enabled M.A.C.H. 1 to damage M.A.C.H. 2 - may still have use.


 

Doctor Omega

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I guess you weren't a successful film or television series until you had been ripped off by a UK comic!
 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
Hmmmm! Can't say I've ever heard of M.A.C.H.1! But just moments before while I was reading the image, my son came up to me and said is that a Bionic Man comic strip? So it was that obvious even to an eight year boy of contemporary times!!
JB
 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
Do you have to move the pieces around the board in slow motion?
As long as you're not doing the game in the tradition of the early pilot movies which didn't have the slo-mo effect or the ka-chinky noises every time he used his powers! :emoji_grimacing:
JB
 
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