Six Million Dollar Man: running in slow-mo (TV retrospective).

Meet Steve Austin of “The Six Million Dollar Man,” the man with a secret worth six million dollars and the unintentional humor that made this show a cyberpunk sitcom of the ’70s. Portrayed by Lee Majors, Steve is a former astronaut turned bionic powerhouse with an arm that can go toe-to-toe with a bulldozer, legs faster than a speeding ticket, and an eye with a 20:1 zoom – imagine the possibilities with that lens!

Unlike the swanky James Bond, Steve was a down-to-earth, reluctant spy who approached espionage with the enthusiasm of reading appliance manuals. Engaged in secret missions with the fictional government agency OSI, his disdain for spying was evident, much like the iconic electronic sound effects accompanying his bionic feats of strength and speed.

And let’s not forget that bionic eye, a marvel of ’70s tech fantasies, equipped with night vision, infrared filters, and of course, the handy 20:1 zoom. Whether spotting villains from miles away or examining the details of a fine wine from across the room, Steve’s eye was an unrivaled tool in his bionic arsenal.

“We can rebuild him; we have the technology,” solemnly declared Oscar Goldman, a phrase that would echo through pop culture, epitomizing an era both fascinated and terrified by the boundless possibilities of technology.

The series also introduced us to Jaime Sommers, the iconic Bionic Woman. After a tragic parachuting accident, tennis-pro Jaime got a hardware upgrade, turning into a cybernetic operative. Following an experimental cryogenic procedure that saved her life, she bounced back, ready to break glass ceilings in her spin-off series.

What made “The Six Million Dollar Man” a classic were its super-bionic feats, masterfully balanced between fantasy and the absurd. Steve could jump high but not too high, run fast but not too fast. This delicate dance between thrilling action and unintentional comedy made the series a humorous relic of classic television.

With its memorable sound effects, close-ups of Steve’s bionic eye, and slow-motion sequences, the show etched its place in pop culture history. Each episode offered a delightful blend of sci-fi, action, and a dash of humor with Austin’s earnest but reluctant hero leading the charge, making it a nostalgic classic that continues to bring smiles and laughter to viewers.

Six Million Dollar Man
Slow-mo bionics.


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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