Monday, May 28, 2012

Bionics On-on-on!--The Bionic Six

Airing back in 1987, the Bionic Six was a unique show for a number of reasons. Most notably was the ethnic diversity of the Bennett family, the surname of the Bionic Six in their civilian personas. The test pilot/engineer father Jack Bennett (Bionic-1) and oceanographer mother Helen Bennett (Mother-1) had two biological children, Eric and Meg (Sport-1 and Rock-1 respectively).

In addition the Bennett's adopted Japanese son Bunjiro "Bunji" Bennett (Karate-1) and African-American son, J.D. Bennett (IQ). Although all of the characters fell into a few stereotypical tropes (ex. Bunji was adept at martial arts, Meg was a "ditzy" blonde, J.D. as an African American possessed super-human strength but positively matched with super-intelligence) the dynamic of the family felt real and you could see the bonds held between them not only in the midst of battles, but in their civilian lives as well.

Jack was a doting father and husband who also cooked (I know, right!) much to the dismay of his family who disproved of his unappetizing albeit nutritious food. Contrary to her ESP-powered bionic sensitivity, Helen was a stern mother who fiercely protected her family. Complementary to this family dynamic would be Marvel's Fantastic Four.

As it is with families, their bonds are tested by crises they face together. In the origin of the team, the Bennetts are vacationing in the Himalayas performing research for Jack's boss Professor Sharp. An unusual energy reading of extraterrestrial origin urges Jack to investigate, however his family are inadvertently caught in the crosshairs and exposed to the strange energy. Left with no recourse but to use bionics to heal them, Jack finds himself surprised at their recovery and eagerness to work as a superhuman family.

The Bionic Six is one of the original success stories of charming cartoon families, featured a catchy and engaging intro, and crazy awesome costumes and 80's hair (I'm looking at you Rock-1)

Fantastic pin-ups of the Bionic Six by Ryan Odagawa: Bionic-1, Mother-1, Sport-1, Rock-1, Karate-1, and IQ

Click the links for profiles of characters and for full episodes.

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