The leakiness of some TV companies is legendary, so it was only a matter of time before the pilot of the now dead and defunct Warner Wonder Woman series surfaced.
The version I’ve seen isn’t great quality, and is missing the finishing effects that would make it broadcast-ready, but in essence, it’s complete.
It’s been thirty-two years since the amazing physique of Lynda Carter graced TV screens as the creation of Charles Moulton’s classic DC Comic character. So, for many, it was about time that she dusted off the bracelets and polished her, err, bustiere.
There was a very cheesy aspect to the seventies TV show, which never really took itself seriously, which is where this pilot diverts almost immediately. Oddly, in this incarnation one mild mannered alter ego isn’t enough. She’s got two. Other than being Wonder Woman, she’s also the CEO of a non-profit organisation, cutely called Themyscira (her real name, Diana of Themyscira), that, among other things, makes money selling Wonder Woman dolls, and she’s also the lonely Diana Price. Ah.
That last bit is a little difficult to swallow in that Adrianne Palicki fills out whatever costume she’s given so perfectly that, frankly, some men might swap vital organs for a date with her. I’d say that she’s the best part of this reimagining, as she sells the Amazonian part of the deal entirely. She’s also rather good in the action sequences, and reminds me rather positively of Ashley Scott in Birds Of Prey. In the opening scene, she’s given a rather neat variation on the classic outfit, with pants that extend to the boot line. But later on, they roll out the seventies look hot pants, and they look pretty silly.
In terms of canon, it’s all over the place. Mythology isn’t mentioned once, unless I missed it. In fact, there’s no real back story to Wonder Woman, as such. She just exists and is still heartbroken over choosing to fight evil, instead of setting up home with Steve Trevor. She’s got a neat VTOL aircraft, but it’s not invisible, and she’s super strong, as you’d expect. But the biggest surprise for me was that, when she corners a bad guy and wants to know what’s going on, does she use the Leash of Truth? No, she breaks the bones in his hand! The Leash is a weapon, and doesn’t illicit conversation at any point.
But where this all really goes wrong, and I can understand why they didn’t push on this full production, is that after watching it I was struck by how depressing it was. The whole overarching theme of the show is that, while she’s out fighting crime, everyone around her is worried about the legal implications of everything she does!
The threat of any enemy isn’t that they’ll create a super power-enhanced army, but that they’ll set their lawyers on her. This might be the sad truth of modern America, but it’s not something I’d want to see played out on TV each week. Wonder Woman saves the day, but the court case rumbles on for a decade after. Given how they’d approached it, I was almost surprised that Wonder Woman wasn’t arrested for some sort of public decency issue, or for copyright infringement.
While grounding superheroes in some sort of reality is fun, I don’t really want to see Spider-Man dealing with his corns, or Batman spending most of his time wrestling with the complications of asset management. Enough with the reality. I don’t buy comics to hold up a mirror to the world of personal litigation and congressional oversight committees.
In respect of Wonder Woman, this is actually even more annoying, because there are aspects of the pilot that work, and work well, better than some shows that made it into a first season.
What we’re left with is Wonder Woman as she describes herself in the show. “Wonder Woman is perfect. Perfect tits, perfect ass, perfect teeth. I mean, look at these teeth.”
Yes, those are really amazing, but problematically for Warner, TV viewers actually want something more than that, and Wonder Woman: The Legal Eagle wasn’t it.