DC-Ember #113: Wonder Woman (1974) & Wonder Woman (2011)

DCember

Now we head into more of the miscellaneous stuff in the DC movie and TV landscape beginning with a pair of pilots for Wonder Woman series starting with the 1974 movie:

Wonder Woman (1974 film).jpg

Wonder Woman is a 1974 television film loosely based on the DC Comics character of the same name, directed by Vincent McEveety and starring Cathy Lee Crosby. The film was a pilot for an intended television series, being considered by ABC. Ratings were described as “respectable but not exactly wondrous,” and ABC did not pick up the pilot.

Instead, Warner Brothers and ABC developed a different Wonder Woman television concept that fit within the character of the time, turning away from the 1968-72 era that had influenced the pilot. That was fit within the restoration of the character created by William Moulton Marston, which premiered as a TV movie in 1975 and starred Lynda Carter. Crosby would later claim that she was offered the chance to reprise the role in that series.

As this was produced during the Diana Prince era from 1968-72, Wonder Woman (Cathy Lee Crosby) did not wear the comic book costume including the tiara trademark and her “secret identity” of Diana Prince was not all that secret (it was restored in 1973). The film follows Wonder Woman, assistant to government agent Steve Trevor (Kaz Garas) as she pursues a villain named Abner Smith (Ricardo Montalban) who has stolen a set of code books containing classified information about U.S. government field agents.

As this was produced based on the Diana Prince era of 1968-72, the Wonder Woman of the era coincided with the British television series The Avengers, with Wonder Woman being an Emma Peel type character.

AND….that’s why this isn’t any good. I’m sorry but you can’t keep changing Wonder Woman like they did in this movie, it just kept getting more ridiculous and silly as it goes on and it also doesn’t help that Cathy Lee Crosby really does not work here as Wonder Woman at all, most of the time she just feels like she doesn’t want to be in this movie and she doesn’t bring anything to the role at all.

The rest of the cast is fine, Ricardo Montalban is fun to watch as the bad guy, Kaz Garas as Steve Trevor is okay but other than that, this is really lackluster, it never feels like you’re watching the Wonder Woman movie that you should have and just feels like a Wonder Woman movie made by people who had no intention to make a truly good Wonder Woman movie, it just doesn’t come together at all.

And then you have the 2011 pilot:

Oh, poor Adrienne Palicki, even your perfect casting couldn’t save this trainwreck:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find other clips from the Wonder Woman pilot on Youtube so I had to get the first video I could get. I did watch the pilot though so, let’s talk about it:

Wonder Woman is a never-aired television pilot produced by Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment for NBC, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. David E. Kelley wrote the pilot, which was directed by Jeffrey Reiner. Adrianne Palicki starred as the main character.

The Wonder Woman pilot was expected to debut in 2011, but NBC opted not to buy the series.

In an inner city home, a teenager tells his family that he has been accepted to college moments before he begins convulsing and bleeding from the eyes and ears. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman (Adrienne Palicki) is in a foot chase with a super-strength criminal on Hollywood Blvd and, after knocking him out, takes a sample of his blood and leaves him to the police. Wonder Woman returns to the headquarters of Themyscira Industries, a large corporation which she runs as the CEO in her alter-ego of Diana Themyscira. Themyscira Industries owns and operates the concept of Wonder Woman as both a privately run crime fighting operation and for marketing the image of Wonder Woman as a role model to the outside world. Diana has trouble balancing her life as both the CEO of the corporation and as Wonder Woman.

Diana’s frustration with having to maintain a perfect image to the outside world in both these capacities leads her to create a third identity for herself, “Diana Prince,” so that she can have an element of normalcy in her life and sit at home with her cat watching romantic comedies and surfing the internet. At Themyscira Industries Diana grows suspicious of evil businesswoman Veronica Cale (Elizabeth Hurley) for distributing an illegal performance-enhancing drug that gives users super-human strength and endurance, but can cause death through repeated use. The blood sample she draws from the Hollywood Blvd fight and the story of the college bound teen confirm Diana’s suspicions. Without enough hard evidence to bring Cale to justice as Wonder Woman, Diana holds a press conference and airs her beliefs about Cale to the world. Cale in turn confronts Diana in person to intimidate her and threaten legal action. In a flash back, Diana ends up breaking it off with her boyfriend Steve Trevor (Justin Bruening)¬†because of her busy life.

Back in present day, the college bound teenager dies from his drug sickness and Diana is galvanized to confront Cale as Wonder Woman. She arrives at Cale’s facilities, defeats all of her super-powered henchmen and confronts Cale face-to-face. Cale threatens legal action and to release security footage of Wonder Woman killing the henchmen, but Wonder Woman responds by pulling Cale down with her lasso and throwing her against the wall. Later Cale is put in jail and a Justice Department representative comes to meet Diana. This turns out to be Steve Trevor who says that he will be working with Diana in her capacity as Wonder Woman but also reveals that he has married another woman.

My god, there’s so much wrong with this.

Much like the Cathy Lee Crosby movie, they just keep changing everything around to ruin something that should be so simple to make. Nothing about this plot makes no sense.

And don’t get me wrong, I like David E. Kelley’s work, I love his work on L.A. Law, I love Ally McBeal, I love Boston Public, but man, did he fuck up big time with this one or what? It’s like he’s never even heard of Wonder Woman before and he was just told a cliffnotes version of this character and her background and just decided to make an Ally McBeal-ish style series with it and I’m sorry, you can not do an Ally McBeal like series with Wonder Woman, Ally McBeal worked because it had its’ own unique and quirky charm to it and it knew when to blend comedy and drama well, this is not friggin’ Ally McBeal.

Like I said before, the casting of Adrienne Palicki as Wonder Woman seemed like perfect casting, she definitely looks like Wonder Woman and you can tell in this that she is really trying to make this work but she just can’t. In fact, all the casting in this doesn’t come together well at all.

Wonder Woman 2011 is basically a prequel to what CBS would do to Supergirl, it’s NBC not actually trying to make a good Wonder Woman show but only making a series with writers that just went to the Wikipedia page of Wonder Woman and just put a script together with no effort or creativity whatsoever and try to make it as mainstream and appeal to as big of a mass audience it can with no effort at all. It’s a mess, it’s a failure, it’s as bad as you think it is. I can’t believe I sat through it for you guys, I’d advice you not to do the same thing.

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One comment on “DC-Ember #113: Wonder Woman (1974) & Wonder Woman (2011)
  1. […] Wonder Woman (1974) & Wonder Woman (2011) […]

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