I never had a thing for Wonder Woman and that can be easily understood. Even in the heyday of the Lynda Carter fame, which would be the peak popularity for the character, our Wonder Woman had little to offer. Despite this, attempts at resuscitation of the character for the TV or film version of the superheroine have been pursued relentlessly.
One of the problems is the fact that Wonder Woman is supposed to be a lot of things to a lot of people. To borrow a phrase from Parks and Recreation, she is supposed to be “as respected as Mother Theresa, as powerful as Joseph Stalin and as beautiful as Margaret Thatcher.” Comments aside on Thatcher’s beauty, Wonder Woman has been continuously plagued by various psychoses that many comic heroes suffered from: namely that their lame interpretations remained a steadfast in popular culture, while the comic book versions of the characters experienced vast changes.
The TV version of Wonder Woman has always been just terrible, but the recent 2011 pilot really took the cake. Adrianne Palicki in title role as the heroine that dresses in cheap vinyl chasing the “bad guys,” but is also a head of a successful empire that funds its operations by selling Wonder Woman dolls (yeah, you heard that right, merchandising!), only to go home to be single, sad, watching romantic movies and petting her cat…well, that is a marketing package worthy of Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour!
On this version of the “feminist icon,” engineered by David E. Kelley, you could probably build an entire academic career, peeling away at this melange of “savvy” marketing mixed in with a lot of bad choices and cliches.
Despite the failure to capture an audience with the pilot, David E. Kelley persisted in pitching the show, while admitting that it may have been “flawed.” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kelly says ” I still believe it’s viable for a television series. I think it’s ripe to do it. We made mistakes with ours. My only regret is we were never given a chance to correct them. We had a lot that was right about it and a great cast.
“In time, we could have fixed what we had done wrong, we just didn’t get that chance. All my series have been a work in progress to a certain extent where you figure them out by episodes three, four or five.
We produced it at warp speed and it’s a special effects show and it took more time than we were able to give it. The genre was very different for me and I had a lot to learn; my learning curve probably would have gotten better. I’m sad we didn’t get to do it but I do believe it can work for the CW. They’re smart to try it.
I do believe in the potential of the series and I wish them well with it. I think it could be a great success.”
Yes, you heard it right here. CW is picking up this disaster, but unlike the other networks, there might be something to this idea.
The CW successfully dragged the Superman origin stories through teen-land for a long enough time to not only grow a different type of Superman, but to garner a huge following among the target audience, as well as among the more discriminating comic book fans.
The Smallville success though, may not be applicable to Wonder Woman, as the character will need to be paired down, more nuanced, and revised to such an extent that it will scarcely resemble its origin. And that may be a good thing after all.
After all, who needs a magic lasso, a pair of “invincible” bracelets, a projectile tiara and an invisible plane, and what do those items have in common anyways?