OK, having detoured into monster country, now we’re back to fan-casting the series regulars for our proposed Bionic Reboot. First up is the part of “Oscar Goldman”, Director of the O.S.I., a division of the U.S. State Department. [Fun fact: The acronym stood for “Office of Scientific Intelligence” in the series, as evidenced by ID cards and Oscar’s office door, but a couple of anomalous episodes have it as the “Office of Scientific Investigation” or “Office of Strategic Investigation” — likely production errors. It appeared to have officially changed to “Office of Scientific Information” in the reunion movies.] In the first TSMDM movie, the character was named “Oliver Spencer” and was played by Darren McGavin, just prior to his “Kolchak: The Night Stalker days”. I think this was consistent with the Cyborg novel, but don’t quote me on that.
I liked Richard Anderson (6’3″,b.1926) a lot in this role in the original “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman” series. He was one part spymaster, two parts bureaucrat. But, he wasn’t too stuffy or unapproachable. And, while he had his share of arguments with his operatives, his compassion and concern for his people shown through, and he backed them up whenever and however he could. He was also, as I mentioned before, a sort of mentor — perhaps father-figure or “big brother” — to both Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers, the latter having lost both of her parents. Again, I would love to see this sort of relationship return in a reboot. (Maybe not at first, but developing as the characters work together and get to know each other.) A little more character development for Oscar would be nice, too.
Anderson had a trim physique and was in his late 40s when “The Six Million Dollar Man” began. That would work for my reboot idea, but I actually pictured Goldman being a little older — 50s, maybe pushing 60. The height is less important, but I think around 6′ or so is good.
I considered Jack Coleman (6’2″,b.1958) of “Heroes”; Laurence Fishburne (6’0.5″,b.1961) of “C.S.I.” and The Matrix movies; Henry Czerny (5’10”,b.1959) of “Revenge”; Jonathan Frakes (6’4″,b.1952) of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; and Jon Tenney (6’1″,b.1961) of “The Closer”. I also really liked Bruce Thomas of “Kyle XY”, who once portrayed a quasi-retired Batman in an episode of the short-lived “Birds of Prey” series and has done genre voice-work, including “Commissioner Jim Gordon” in the upcoming “Son of Batman”. But, I think I’ve narrowed it down to these two finalists:
John Terry (6’2″,b.1950)
I realize he’s already over 60, so he falls outside my preferred age parameters. But, Terry is the first one I thought of who I really liked for the part. (I guess I was thinking of him from “24”, which was 10+ years ago. He was also on “Lost”.) He just seems like he would really fit the bill, and I think he has the talent to do a great job! Plus, in some pictures, he even looks a little like Richard Anderson.
Peter Woodward (5’11”,b.1956)
A classically-trained British actor, Woodward has done a lot of genre work — e.g., “Brimstone”, “Charmed”, “Stargate: Atlantis”, “Babylon 5” spinoff “Crusade”, “Fringe”, the voice of Ra’s al Ghul in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”, and he can currently be seen in “Dracula”. I think I’d prefer the character with hair, but the bald head with chin-whiskers looks really good on him. I imagine Woodward could do a believable American accent, but having him be a Brit — maybe former MI-5 or MI-6? — might be an interesting twist.
Honorable mentions go to a couple guys I would love to see in regular roles again: First, Richard Dean Anderson (6’1.5″,b.1950) of “MacGuyver”, “Legend” (co-starring John “Q” de Lancie), and “Stargate SG-1” (w/ appearances in the spin-offs) fame. He is roughly the same age as Terry and has put on a little weight but still looks good. He played a colonel/general for several years, so he has the “authority figure” bit down. I think Anderson — no relation to the original “Oscar”, despite the old rumors — could make a great Oscar Goldman. Second is Kent McCord (6’2″,b.1942), best known (by those of us old enough to remember) from “Adam-12”, but also from genre fare like “Galactica 1980”, “SeaQuest 2032”, & “Farscape”. He hasn’t been in anything since 2005, and he is over 70, so I’m not sure about his health or desire to act anymore. But, he also might make a fine Oscar Goldman.
So,… who do you see as “Oscar”?
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2014.