Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I saw the Wonder Woman TV Pilot

Title says it all.
So, yeah, I saw the pilot episode of the not-picked-up Wonder Woman TV series. It had unfinished special effects and some questionable editing, but it was maybe 95% there.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first:
-It's not comics-accurate. It has Diana at the head of a company which merchandises Wonder Woman in order to pay for all of her crimefighting gear and forensics labs for crime-solving.
-The costume is really oversexed. Diana herself doesn't act slutty, but her outfit is extremely revealing. It's low-cut at the top and rides high on her hips when it doesn't need to. It just feels awkward. Also, there are three versions of the suit that are seen: "shiny pants/blue boots," "normal pants/red boots," and "briefs/red boots (the original costume but shinier)." She changes in-between these three costumes with no reasoning, once in-between shots of the same scene.
-Diana kills. In her quest for justice against evil drug-people, she tortures one thug for information, uses another as a human shield in a hallway (causing him to get shot and presumably die), and throws a metal pipe into another thug's throat, killing him instantly. It feels very, very odd. It's not just inconsistent with the comics, it feels inconsistent with the rest of the show.
-Going along with the last point, there's a select few elements of the show that feel a bit too "mature." There's one point where Diana angrily uses crude terms to refer to her overly-voluptuous likeness as a toy doll, and a few scenes with a bit of extreme violence that contrasts bizarrely with the relatively light tone of the show.
-The dialogue isn't that well-done. It's rather bland, in matter of fact. No brilliance whatsoever.
-There's nothing really truly remarkable about the show at all. It just doesn't feel quite important or epic enough to deserve the name Wonder Woman. The pilot episode of Smallville did an amazing job of rooting that show in deep, family-driven drama while staying true to the core of the comics and crafting a story that was perhaps low-scale (being set in a small Kansas town), but felt extremely important. Wonder Woman's pilot does none of this. It just feels like the show is being run by children playing with makeup and action figures.

Now, the positives:
-Diana is presented as a real, human person. It's acknowledged that she's an Amazon from Themyscira (they even pronounce Themyscira correctly), but she's not the stiff-worded, alienated character that she's shown to be in most modern interpretations. She's a twentysomething young woman who manages to feel like an extraordinary yet still normal person. It feels somewhat like the interpretation of Clark Kent in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. She might go out and "kick dudes in the head" (she actually says that to her cat at one point), but she ultimately goes back to her apartment and relaxes in front of the TV like anybody else.
-There's a lengthy fight scene, that, up until the killing at the end, is actually really cool. It's a bit cheesy, but it  works, and it's a lot of fun.
-She's got decently well-done romantic tension with her (at this point, former) love interest, Steve Trevor. It's vaguely implied that they have the same comics history of him having been a pilot that crashed on Themyscira, but now he's become an FBI lawyer. Maybe it's the fact that I grew up watching J.A.G. and therefore like the idea of fighter pilot lawyers, but I'm okay with this.
-The whole idea of Diana owning a company, as stupid as it is, does make sense from a certain point of view. The Batman comics recently had a similar idea, where Wayne Enterprises publicly funded crime labs for the local P.D. as well as providing crimefighting tech for individuals acting as Batman-themed crimefighters across the globe. Also, in the pilot, Diana is shown to be almost dismissive of her company, as though it's merely the means to an end—that end being bringing criminals to justice.
-Adrianne Palicki definitely looks and acts the part. She's a bit of a younger Wonder Woman (even though she's a good bit older than Lynda Carter was when she played the character), but that works. She's got the exact kind of statuesque elegance that Diana needs.
-She's really really hot.
I couldn't find another way to say that.
-The show might be mostly unremarkable, but it's at least fun.

So, in the end, I think this actually might have worked. It definitely needed a few changes (make the costume less shiny and revealing, remove the killing and torture, and maybe tighten up the dialogue a bit), but it would have been a fun show.
At the same time, it definitely would have been nothing more than a guilty pleasure show. I'd much, much rather have a show that took itself a bit more seriously. It's clear that the crew behind this show really didn't know what they were doing, other than crafting a story that basically boils down to excuses to put Adrianne Palicki in tight-fitting outfits with a mildly interesting plot.

I would have watched every single episode had it aired, but it also probably wouldn't have been that great. Like if you gave me an unlimited supply of cheap store-brand soda. Sure, I'd drink it all the time, but I'd be under no illusions that it was anything special.

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