The Six Million Dollar Man ran from 1973 to 1978, it tells the story of a former astronaut, USAF Colonel Steve Austin, portrayed by Lee Majors. Austin survives a crash thanks to bionic implants, and by so doing also imbuing him superhuman strength, speed, and vision. He is employed as a secret agent by a fictional U.S. government office titled OSI. The series was based on Martin Caidin’s 1972 novel Cyborg, which was the working title of the series during pre-production.
Lee Major’s Six Million Dollar Man was everyone’s favorite cyborg before Arnold Swarchenegger as The Terminator. This show was THE sci-fi show of the ’70s. The ’60s had Kirk, Spock, Tribbles, and Klingons; the ’70s had Steve Austin, Oscar Goldman, Jamie Summers, and Bigfoot. Although William Shatner actually guest-starred an episode.
Steve Austin had a bionic right arm, two bionic legs, and a bionic eye that could enable him to see great distances. His strength was more than that of ten men. He could run faster than a car and he was a super-intelligent agent. Lee Majors’ role as Steve Austin was a combination of James Bond, Buzz Aldrin/Chuck Yeager/Niel Armstrong, and part Superman in which gave this series a nice mix of seriousness and fun.
One of the most iconic episodes is the one centering on Bigfoot, the episode that introduced the world to Andre The Giant. The Bigfoot episodes were scary, a huge creature that is also bionic and a little stronger, a little faster and a little more vicious than Steve Austin.
Producers in the 1970s could still captivate their audiences without relying upon unrealistic CGI generated explosions. The show was very entertaining in its day. It probably caused millions of kids in the ’70s to run in slow motion, while making strange noises. The sound effects as Austin used his bionic body parts were great; such as the sound of the bionic arm breaking a door down, the sound of his bionic legs running faster than any normal man. The Lee Majors-starring series was an action-packed proto-superhero thriller that’d make Tony Stark proud.
Even at its most silly, The Six Million Dollar Man is an entertaining family-friendly mix of drama, humor, action, and science fiction.