Wonder Woman (Unaired TV Pilot)

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“Nowhere near as bad as you might think.”

Allowing for the fact this was more or less a rough-cut – you can still see the wires as the heroine throws villains around – this actually is far from the atrocity you expect, going from the pre-production fan loathing. The story avoid the whole “origins” thing, hitting the ground running by having Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (Palicki) already fully-active, and busting crime around Los Angeles. Her extra-legal activities, with the local cops’ complicity, bring her to the attention of the federal authorities. Meanwhile, she’s tussling with the board of her company over the merchandise that funds her crime-fighting, objecting to the size of the tits on her action-figure – and, yes, they actually say “tits”, to my surprise. Finally, the villainess (Hurley) is performing illegal medical experiments with steroids and such, to create super-soldiers, and it’s up to Wonder Woman, her plane (wisely, no longer invisible), bullet-deflecting bracelets and lasso which may or may not be of truth (it’s unclear from this episode) to stop her.

Yeah, there’s probably too much going on, as it establishes that Prince is not just an action heroine, but also a business mogul, being the CEO of Themyscira Industries, and a woman: y’know, with needs. They each have their separate identities: it’s a nice touch, though not all of this needed to be put across in the pilot I think. They might have been better off bringing the other angles in down the line. What does work, surprisingly well, is Palicki, who both looks the part – a particular surprise, given the heat the costume took – and manages to hit most of the dramatic points necessary. However, I can see how fans of the comic books would probably still hate it, since there’s barely any acknowledgment of her ancestry as the princess of an all-female tribe from a remote island.

I particularly liked the hard-edged “neo-vigilante” approach of Wonder Woman, who has no aversion to violence and at one point, flat out kills someone by driving a pipe through his neck. Don’t recall Lynda Carter doing that: The Dark Knight has a lot to answer for. On the down side, the script does have its fair share of cliches, from the grieving mother through to the romantic interest. But, really: you can turn on the television any night of the week and see far less interesting or well-considered excuses for series, which somehow managed to get themselves green-lit. It has potential to be, if not great, at least half-decent: given the lack of action heroines on TV these days, it’s a pity this one received the televisual equivalent of a wire coat-hanger.

Dir: Jeffrey Reiner
Star: Adrianne Palicki, Elizabeth Hurley, Carey Elwes, Tracie Thoms

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