I was up doing laundry, and while I was folding my clothes I was looking for something to watch. After scrolling through some things, I saw a link for “Wonder Woman Pilot.” Eh? A TV series? I had a bad feeling it would be stupid, but since I do like watching superhero stuff, even though they are often maddeningly ridiculous, I clicked on it. After watching it, I just have to say that Hollywood continues to do dumb things. My goodness.
Not all of it was bad. The lead girl, Adrianna Palicki (of Friday Night Lights fame, apparently, although I have never seen that show), pulls off the Wonder Woman costume as well as one could hope given how silly the thing will naturally look in live action. A character like Wonder Woman is incredibly difficult to pull off because she has to look both feminine and intimidatingly athletic at the same time, and Palicki gets within the ballpark. Her acting wasn’t that great but she gave Wonder Woman a bit of a mean edge, which was interesting. In addition… actually, she might have been the only good thing about it. Everything else was absurd.
First off, there is virtually no mention of her Amazonian past and therefore an explanation of her powers. They do mention that she’s an Amazon and quite different than normal humans, but that’s it. Heck, the very beginning features her running someone down in her Wonder Woman costume doing superhuman jumps, and the audience is left wondering, “Wait, how’d we get here?” We just have to accept that she can run fast, jump high, and beat the crap out of buff dudes like they’re dolls. She can’t fly in this incarnation, though, and needs a crappy version of her invisible jet, which is not invisible (it’s just white).
We do, however, get an explanation of how she even has a jet… and it’s that she owns a company that markets her Wonder Woman brand and sells merchandise of it (including action figures). The money from that company funds her vigilante crime-fighting, and everyone knows exactly who she is. I’m not kidding. One scene, she blows up in a business meeting, chewing our her CEO for putting out dolls of her that are too well-endowed in the chest area, and he’s like, “Dude, that stuff sells and funds all these gadgets we have!” It is an absurd scene that really makes one question the sanity of the writers. Wonder Woman (Diana) storms out of the meeting after throwing a 12 year old hissy fit, and the audience is supposed to believe that this is the grand high Wonder Woman.
Of course, all of this “owns a company and is super-rich” stuff already exists in the comic book scene, and the writers clearly borrowed a lot from Iron Man and Batman. Like Iron Man, this Wonder Woman has no real secret identity to speak of (other than a nerd girl she dresses up as, similar to Clark Kent), and she markets herself as a superhero. Like Batman, she is also super-rich and has equipment, but she is also a little brutal and has no qualms about torturing people for info and beating the crap out of everyone. However, unlike Batman, she doesn’t mind killing people, as shown by her throwing a pipe through a guy’s throat. In her defense, he WAS shooting at her. I don’t mind that this is very different than the Wonder Woman in the comics since I’m not a comic books guy, but it also wasn’t very believable. I think reimagining her with an edge isn’t a bad idea, but they went from one extreme to the other: One moment, she’s some emo, vulnerable girl who is watching that corny movie The Notebook, and the next she is gleefully violent (okay… maybe that isn’t quite that unbelievable, but still).
Since it is an unfinished pilot episode, I can forgive the fact that the stunt wires can still be scene and some special effects are not good; some actions scenes were okay, but overall it was nothing epic. Nonetheless, it seemed like a pretty goofy interpretation of Wonder Woman that was doomed to failure at storyboard time. I don’t blame the major networks for passing on this, and I don’t blame NBC in particular for not picking this up for a series after watching the pilot episode. Maybe if they found someone to lead the project with a clearer vision on how to portray Wonder Woman to a modern audience, this would have had a chance to work. Since they did not, Wonder Woman, perhaps the most recognizable female superhero in American culture, will not be seen in live-action. And as well as Palicki may have portrayed the Amazonian princess, that’s probably a good thing for now because Hollywood is full of knuckleheads who can’t write sane things.