There’s a new channel on my television, and it couldn’t have come sooner. It seems like every time I put on MeTV these days, Raymond Burr is there, interrogating people in black and white or wheeling around in color. A couple of months ago, they inexplicably took the Rockford Files out of rotation and replaced it with Ironside. The only logical explanation is they’re giving Rockford the summer off so they don’t wear out the brand. But without Rockford between the Mod Squad and Hawaii Five-0, the whole morning line-up falls apart.
I downgraded my cable a couple of months ago, and since then I’m not entirely sure what channels I have and don’t have anymore. I didn’t even realize the non-premium cable channels went past 100 until last year. I still had a lot of unexplored territory for discovering new, unknown networks, and since it was looking like a long, dry TV summer, I decided to finally scroll through all the channels up to 300, just to see what was there.
I struck gold at 186, that’s COZI, the new kid on the block. First there was TV-Land, then MeTV, and now COZI appears to be the third wave in premium reruns. It goes a level deeper into the 70s to drudge up two classics that have pretty much eluded the wave of re-run mainstreamification so far. You know who I’m talking about: Steve and Jaime–The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman.
Other than one brief glimpse at the Six Million Dollar Man on Youtube last year, I haven’t seen either of these shows since they aired in the 70s, when my friends and I would plan our weeks around Steve Austin and to a lesser extent Jaime Sommers.
My only beef with COZI is that the picture doesn’t seem to be formatted to fit the screen right, so that the image appears to be vertically over-stretched, but you quickly adapt. I’ve known about this channel for almost two weeks, but this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down to a full episode of one of the high-end shows. I took notes.
The episode, No. 9 of Season 2, is called “Act of Piracy.”
As in the other Six Million Dollar Man episode I briefly reviewed, Steve is helping a team of scientists set up earthquake sensors (on the ocean floor this time instead of in Bigfoot country) when the nearby nation of Santa Ventura breaks off diplomatic relations with the US.
While driving the roadways of Washington DC, Oscar Goldman gets a call on his car phone from “the Secretary,” (of which Cabinet office we’re not sure) warning him of the diplomatic crisis.
Oscar phones Steve on the boat to transmit the warning. It takes him awhile to convey the sense of urgency to Steve, who is being remarkably flippant for some reason. Oscar has to resort to yelling to drive home the gravity of the situation.
Steve is remarkably aloof and casual about the whole thing, probably because he’s out in the middle of the ocean in a wetsuit, getting ready to go down in a diving bell.
Perhaps being out at sea surrounded by all that existentialist blue water made him cavalier about the petty feuding of narrow-minded land-dwellers. It could also be the adrenaline. After all, Steve is getting ready to go down to the bottom of the sea alone in a diving bell. Or he could just be showing off for the leggy, scantily clad nubile who seems to be in charge of boat-to-bell radio communication, and is wearing about as much makeup as a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader.
The diving bell turns out to be a total piece of junk that starts leaking the moment it submerges.
As Steve is underwater, dealing with the leaky bell, the research vessel gets taken over by the Santa Venturan authorities. The scene as they prepare to board is straight out of Police Academy, as the head officer barks his orders into a bullhorn to the research team, who are standing on the deck of the other boat all of 20 feet away.
The Santa Venturan authorities board the vessel and accuse the research team of being spies. Threats of executions quickly follow.
The military men are convinced Steve did not survive the diving bell mishap. But unbeknownst to them, Steve has made it onto the mainland where the research crew is being held prisoner. Now the bionics comes into play. Steve employs the eye, the arm, and the legs in rapid succession to spring the crew from jail, break out of the military compound, and steal their research vessel back to make a dash for international waters, where Oscar is waiting for them on a rescue craft.
I won’t give the ending away, but you can probably guess what happens.