Friday, February 15, 2008

Isn't it bionic?

Even though we've not actually seen it yet - unless you're in the TV preview industry or you know how to work the internet - the knives are out for The Bionic Woman. Not the show as such, but the star, former EastEnder Michelle Ryan.

I can't tell you the amount of people who are really thrilled it's about to be axed because, and I quote, 'what's she doing in it in the first place?'. First, how do they know this without having seen it, and second, why does her failure to keep the show alive give them such pleasure?

It's not jsut around here though. Every media outlet, especially The Guardian, were hugely snippy about Ryan being cast in the role. They couldn't get over the fact that a no great shakes soap actress had landed a plum role in a major new US drama. How dare she! She's a soap star, therefore she's crap. OK, I'll admit, she's not the world's greatest actress, but she's not Chelsea Fox either, and everyone deserves a break, so good for her. People were genuinely annoyed.

In the US, coming out of a soap is not such a big deal as it is here. Sure, things have changed drastically post-Nick Berry and Sarah Lancashire and the rest of that life after soap generation, but in the US it's always been that way. There's no snobbery. A soap is a place you go where you learn your craft on the job and use it as a stepping stone to better, more exciting things. Of course, not everyone's going to make it, and yes, there are some crap actors out there - and not just in soaps.

But it's the schadenfreude I can't (under)stand. Michelle Ryan was never one of those 'I'm off to Hollywood, peasants! See ya!' types. She never showboated, she never grandstanded. She just did supremely well. And now people are revelling in her failure.



Steve said...

The things that all her critics are ignoring are that a) she's by far not the worst thing in Bionic Woman, and b) Jekyll, which was ace (and which she was ace in).

Little Johnny Jewel said...

Yes, the benefit of living in the States is that I have been able to see The Bionic Woman.

Yes, that's the benefit.

Anyway, the show wasn't cancelled because of Ms Ryan, who did a perfectly reasonable job on the show, and actually managed a very passable accent, the usual stumbling block.

Shows like that get cancelled more often than not, so it's hardly her failure. I didn't get cancelled because of her, it just didn't catch on. Because it was a bit crap.

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

A Canadian friend of mine (who therefore has no idea who Michelle Ryan is) watched a couple of episodes of the new Bionic Woman and said it was boring and humourless. Since I generally trust her judgment on the entertainment value of such things, I probably won't bother tuning in...

office pest said...

I am looking forward to seeing it, to judge for myself. I agree that a series being cancelled should not have to have the lead tarred and feathered as if it must obviously be their fault. How very begrudgingly British of those that think that way.
Look at that chap outa Friends. His latest show was great they said, but they cancelled it anyway.
In fact I hope it becomes so popular over here that it is recommissioned, especially for us. Like Baywatch. Am I joking; I might not be.

Apatt said...

I have never seen Michelle Ryan in Eastenders because I have an aversion to soaps, but I have seen her in Bionic Woman (by torrent download) and she made a believer out of me! She is drop dead gorgeous and did well with some awful dialogs. The show is watchable but it has script, characterisations, plotting and pacing problems. None of which is Ms. Ryan's fault. Given time it may have improved. I hope too see her in more shows soon, and that she gets another chance to crack the US.

Andrew Collins said...

I am very proud to have written scripts for Michelle Ryan when she was on EastEnders and she always delivered them exceptionally well. (I wrote the one where she kissed Dr Trueman at the medical school ball.)