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The Six Billion Dollar Reboot

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Deadline reports that Dimension Films is moving forward on The Six Billion Dollar Man. Yes. Billion.

Peter Berg is attached to direct, with Mark Wahlberg stepping into Lee Majors’ shoes as Colonel Steve Austin, pilot and astronaut who’s critically injured in the crash of an experimental craft. The two worked together on Lone Survivor, based on the true story of Navy SEALs fighting Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan. Universal Studios, who backed Berg’s Battleship, may co-finance the production.

This is, of course, an updated reboot of The Six Million Dollar Man, which ran on ABC from 1973 to 1978, first as a series of television movies and then as a full series. The show was originally inspired by the novel Cyborg (1972) by Martin Caidin. The four-book series depicted a somewhat darker Steve Austin, who was more likely to kill and had slightly different abilities.

A spinoff series, The Bionic Woman, ran from 1976 to 1978. First running on ABC, then NBC, the show was one of the first to cast actors in the same roles from a show on a rival network when Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks appeared as Oscar Goldman and Dr. Rudy Wells, respectively. The show was rebooted in 2007 as Bionic Woman by David Eick after his success with rebooting Battlestar Galactica. However, the Bionic Woman remake was cancelled after only eight episodes.

In 2003, Dimension Films was ready to fast-track an action-comedy version of the film with Jim Carrey set to star in the wake of his success in Bruce Almighty. Director Todd Phillips was attached to give the adaptation the same treatment he gave Starsky & Hutch, with the source material serving as fodder for parody rather than serious re-interpretation.

Wahlberg has proven himself a capable actor, but can Dimension deliver a solid reboot of the classic show? Will audiences respond favorably? Or will this adaptation suffer the same fate as Bionic Woman, the Knight Rider reboot, and the revamped Land of the Lost?

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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