was an animated television series from the 1980s produced by TMS Entertainment
and distributed by Studios USA and MCA Television (later renamed NBC/Universal Television).
The main character, 'Bionic-1', was a vigilante who was enhanced with bionic technology
, much like The Six Million Dollar Man
, and used his abilities to fight the evil forces of Mad Scientist
Dr. Scarab. One day, during a vacation in the Himalayas, Bionic-1 (in his civilian identity of Jack Bennett) and his (large and multi-ethnic
) family were testing out some new ski equipment when they were suddenly attacked by aliens that had landed in the area (and Scarab's Mecha-Mooks
). During the battle, Jack revealed his abilities to his children for the first time.
Soon afterward, there was an avalanche and the Bennetts were all buried alive under radioactive snow. All of them were thrown into paralytic comas, except Jack (whose bionics made him immune to the radioactivity), Unsure how to save them, Bionic-1 brings the family to the lab of Professor Amadeus Sharp, his mentor
and Mission Control
. Sharp deduces that giving everyone the bionic treatment would cure them of the radioactivity, too
The treatment was a success: each family member received a unique bionic power in the process which they could activate
by saying "Bionics, on!"
, and they all immediately agree to fight alongside Jack as a team
— the Bionic Six
The members of the team and the Bennett family are:
- Jack Bennett (Bionic-1) was a test pilot who enjoyed cooking. His powers included super sight and enhanced hearing, along with optic beams. John Stephenson provided his voice.
- Helen Bennett (Mother-1) was Jack's wife, and the mother of the rest of the team. She possessed Psychic Powersnote , and could also create optical illusions using holograms. She was voiced by Carol Bilger.
- Eric Bennett (Sport-1) was Jack and Helen's blond, athletic natural son. His power was electromagnetics: He could attract or repel metallic objects with tremendous force, or even rip them apart. This force was directional and — by varying the shape of his hands, or by using one or both arms — Sport-1 could adjust the strength of attraction/repulsion. He frequently used a baseball bat to return attacks to their source. At local Albert Einstein High School, Eric was in the 11th grade and captain of the baseball team. Moreover, he often worked various baseball expressions into everyday conversation. He was voiced by Hal Rayle.
- Meg Bennett (Rock-1), Jack and Helen's natural daughter and youngest child, was an excitable and somewhat ditzy girl who loved music... and who said "So-LAR!" (another word for "awesome") a lot. She also made frequent use of the prefixes "Mega-!" (as befitting her first name) and, less frequently, "Ultra-!" As her codename Rock-1 (as in "rock and roll") implied, she could shoot sonic beams from blaster units mounted on her shoulders. (The blaster units were visible only while she was in "Bionic Mode.") She could also run at incredible speeds (even faster than the rest of the team). At AEHS, Meg was in the ninth grade. Meg was voiced by Bobbi Block.
- JD Bennett (IQ) was Jack and Helen's intelligent adopted African-American son. He enjoyed boxing. He had Super Strength and super-intelligence — a ''textbook'' Genius Bruiser. (JD was the only member with a codename that didn't include the number 1.) At AEHS, JD was in the 12th grade. What his initials stood for was never clarified. He was voiced by Norman Bernard.
- Bunji (Karate-1) was the last Bennett on the team, Jack and Helen's foster son. He was placed under their guardianship after his own father disappeared. Bunji (short for Bunjiro) was a cute, but troublemaking, Asian-American karate enthusiast. He had martial arts skills, made more formidable with his bionics (some sources claim his enhancement was even stronger legs). At AEHS, Bunji was in the 11th grade. He was voiced by Brian Tochi, of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Space Academy fame.
- F.L.U.F.F.I., a gorilla-like robot made by Professor Sharp, who lived with the Bennetts. He looked and acted a little dumb, but was quite helpful to the Bionic Six...whether he was helping the Bennett kids with their homework, or assisting the adults with a perilous scientific experiment. Unfortunately, FLUFFI had one serious weakness: a craving for aluminum. If he wasn't fed regularly, he'd think nothing of eating the Bennetts' pots and pans. As with JD, what FLUFFI's initials stood for was only speculated on, never revealed throughout the series, and the official merchandise included a comment that Professor Sharp couldn't remember what the acronym meant.
- Professor Amadeus Sharp was the genius scientist who infused the Bionic Six with bionics. All of his research was supported by the government. He lived alone in his private museum; which beneath held his secret laboratory, the hidden base of the Bionic Six. Amadeus is also Dr. Scarab's younger brother. He was voiced by Alan Oppenheimer.
Like any great superheroes, the Bionic Six had an archenemy in the form of Dr. Scarab
(real name: Dr. Wilmer Sharp, Amadeus Sharp's older brother
), a large, evil and occasionally comical
man who yearned for the secret to eternal life.
He was voiced by Jim MacGeorge. During the Himalayas incident, Scarab assembled a rag-tag team of ex-convicts and psychiatric patients and gave them bio-mechanical powers, turning them into his Quirky Miniboss Squad
, described below:
In addition, Scarab and his minions were capable of holographically disguising themselves. Whenever Scarab and his team felt ready to remove their disguises, they slammed their fists to their chest insignias, exclaiming "Hail Scarab!"
(Scarab, however, exclaimed, "Hail me!"). Doing so also served another purpose—the activation of a temporary strength enhancement.
In addition to his henchmen, Scarab also used robots
, which he called Zyphrons, in his fight against the Bionic Six.
Bionic Six contains examples of the following tropes:
- Action-Hogging Opening
- Action Mom: Mother-1
- Animation Bump: In episode 65, the animation sometimes goes into what TMS did with Warner Bros later in the 1990s, as the episode was done by Telecom Animation Film, the unit of TMS that headed the Warner Bros. shows in the 1990s that TMS did.
- Badass Family: The Bionic Six.
- Batman Gambit: The villains pulled these fairly regularly.
- Brainwashed/Brainwashed and Crazy: Happened on quite a few occasions, although ironically never to Rock-1, who tended to be the only one not brainwashed and would therefore be the heroine who saves them all.
- By the Power of Grayskull!: "Bionics, on!"
- Captain Ersatz: American martial artist Chuck Forrest.
- Disability Superpower: The blind superhero The Perceptor
- Episode Title Card
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: "Back to the Past"
- Expository Theme Tune: And a very catchy one, at that. See it here.
- Faked Rip Van Winkle: When Sport-1 is knocked unconscious, the villains trick him into thinking it took him 30 years to wake up. He was then tricked into think Dr. Scarab and his gang reformed and went separate ways (each one was looking older) and that he and his family didn't look any older because they were bionic. He was also tricked into thinking the other Bionic Five became villains. In the end, Eric told his real family he had figured out because the baseball glove he had with him before being rendered unconscious looked just as new as before.
- Fashionable Asymmetry
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: "Brain Food" featured a formula boosting the drinker's intelligence tenfold, also inexplicably granting them knowledge they should not possibly have (such as teaching a monkey to write). The effect only lasts a couple of minutes and provides a moment of Fridge Logic when Scarab's projects which he completed under the effect of the formula stops dead at the instant he loses his knowledge. You can't even blame this failure on forgetting how to operate complex maneuvers to keep it functioning because he's just staring at it when this happens.
- Gonk: Doctor Scarab, complete with ridiculously thick lips.
- Genki Girl: Rock-1
- Hive Mind: "The Hive"
- Keep Circulating the Tapes
- Lethal Chef: Jack, since the family doesn't like his cooking.
- My Future Self and Me: Scarab teams up with himself as a senior citizen and a child in "Triple Cross".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jim MacGeorge's voice for Dr. Scarab is a letter-perfect initiation of George C Scott.
- The Power of Rock: Meg, and also the bionic robot rock group The Bandroids.
- Psychic Powers: Mother-1
- The Psycho Rangers: Dr. Scarab's henchmen. Ironically he created his before the rest of the Bennett family was transformed.
- Pygmalion Snap Back
- Rule 63: Scarab accidentally does this when his plan to clone a mate results in a gender swapped version of himself called Scarabina. She later returns and uses one of Scarab's experiments to create gender swapped versions of his henchmen.
- Secret Project Refugee Family: Double Subverted
- Sherlock Holmes: "The Case of the Baker Street Bionics" is an episode-length Shout-Out.
- Show Within a Show: There's two. One of them, a Tokusatsu-based mecha series, serves as part of the plot in one episode.
- 65-Episode Cartoon
- Stable Time Loop: Dr. Scarab sent henchmen to the past to find and steal the radiation that killed all dinosaurs. In the end, it's implied the radiation came from a weapon the villains left in the past.
- The Starscream: Glove
- Super Family Team
- Super Mode
- Team Title
- Time Travel: "Back to the Past"
- Transformation Sequence
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The kids of the Bennett family.
- Wild Teen Party: The kids throw one in "House Rules".
- Karma Houdini: The parents are about to ground the kids for their party when they're all summoned for another assignment.