The Six Million Dollar Man was a TV series loosely based on the Cyborg novel series. It introduced the world to the concept of bionics, a type of prosthetic that brought with it high-tech superhuman abilities. It was followed up by The Bionic Woman, and would also add a bionic dog. A series of made-for-TV movies added more people to the bionic world, including a new form of bionics that was more about augmenting the natural body rather than the usual prosthetic limbs, eyes, and ears. However tonight I want to look at a different form of bionics, as featured in Bionic Six, a 1980s cartoon not set in that continuity but produced by the same company, now known as NBCUniversal. While the main continuity was more of a secret agent series with the occasional sci-fi element, including aliens and robots, the cartoon was a full sci-fi superhero series set in the near future. It also has aliens and robots, but the latter shows up more often.
Bionic Six follows the Bennett family–former pilot Jack, his wife Helen, their natural-born children Eric and Meg, and their adopted sons JD and Bunji. (I’ll think you’ll be able to tell which is which.) Only Helen knew that her husband was also the superhero Bionic-1. It’s not until episode 10, nine episodes after we’ve seen Mother-1, Sport-1, Rock-1, IQ (oddly no “1” in the name), and Karate-1 have joined him, that we finally learn how they became the Bionic Six, and the debut of their enemies led by Dr. Scarab, the evil brother of the Six’s creator, Dr. Sharpe. I don’t remember if Bionic-1’s origin was ever given.
I had the episode cued up and ready on YouTube but just as I go to use it NBC/Universal takes it down despite it being up there for years. I’m hopeful this means that they’re finally going to do something with the show, maybe even release a version on DVD at long last. I enjoyed the two seasons the show aired in syndication and would look forward to owning a copy of the series in high-quality. Please support it if they do release it. It’s a good show.