Sep 07 2012

Smallville for Wonder Woman – What Could Go Wrong?

Published by at 12:00 pm under Editorials,Television

News has it today that the CW is investigating a way to get a Wonder Woman show on the air that doesn’t suck. I refer, of course, to the horrible Adrianne Palicki pilot (shown above) that got canned before anyone got a chance to see it. Which is good, because I like her and wouldn’t want to see her out of work forever.

So what’s the CW’s plan? Why, origin story of course. Following in the wake of the highly successful Smallville (say what you will about the quality, but ten years is nothing to sneeze at), they’re going to try and make the show about a young budding superhero. They’ll likely stick with a similar “no tights, no flights,” rule that worked for Smallville well for a decade. As you can see by the above costume attempts, that’s probably a necessary part of the plan.

Is this a good idea? I don’t know. Wonder Woman seems to be one of those heroes that no one knows what to do with. She’s in the JLA, so they have to make a movie with her someday, but even Joss Whedon couldn’t figure out how to do it, something he was attempting to do before The Avengers. And that guy can write for women quite well, just ask Buffy or Echo.

Remember this? And by “this” I mean a time when people actually wanted Megan Fox in movies?

Wonder Woman is a little too much weirdness packed into one package. She’s got super strength, which is perfectly cool, but then has bullet deflecting bracelets, a magic lasso and an invisible jet. Tell me there’s a way to make gold lasso-ing cool, or have her seated flying through the air in an invisible plane and make that not look completely ridiculous. I’m not sure you can.

And then there’s the costume. That was the main problem with the recent failed Wonder Woman show, as it looked like Palicki was working at a superhero themed strip club. Wonder Woman has seen many, many iterations of costumes in the comics, but nearly all of them would look like complete garbage in real life, as the corset, stars and stripes have a very Halloween costume-y look to them.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a WW Halloween costume…

But the fact is, we need her. For better or worse, I would argue she is in fact the most prominent female superhero out there, and to have movie after movie and show after show focusing purely on male superheroes (usually white ones at that) it getting tiresome. I understand that most heroes were invented in the ’30s through ’60s where everyone was a white male (joking), but it’s time to get with the current era.

51% of the population, 14% of the JLA (and The Avengers, for that matter).

There has to be a way to reinvent Wonder Woman for a new generation. Change her costume, powers, I don’t care, whatever it takes to make her relevant and watchable again. We can’t get away with camp like Lynda Carter’s WW, no matter how great she looked in that corset. I think the CW is actually on the right track here, and they do have a knack for producing watchable, if a bit fluffy, shows that can be worthwhile.

We need a female superhero who can star in movies and shows in the same league of the best in the genre. So far when we try to do something like that, we get Catwoman, Elektra or Wonder Woman-with-a-bad-boob-job in the form of Palicki.

I’ll give this show a shot, and I’ll bet you a trillion dollars they’re just going to call it “Wonder.” Or “Amazon.”





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11 responses so far

  • J. Morales

    The costume on the left doesn’t look too bad for me. The one on the right looks ridiculous because of the shiny pants. They maybe should get rid of any shininess on the outfit, I think that would help, but it depends, I’d have to see it.

    I’m not a huge DC fan period, but it really seems like someone should be able to do Wonder Woman justice. Although, I have to say that following the kind of PC guidelines you’re laying down here would be a horrible idea in my opinion. When I look at the JLA or Avengers I don’t start by counting their ethnicity or skin color.

    That was actually another issue with the Wonder Woman outfit, it seemed they were trying to make it less patriotic. Whether true or not, it’s not the way to go. Captain America, both in his movie, and the Avengers showed you can still do some patriotism in the modern era. Best of luck to them, I hope they’re able to succeed with a Wonder Woman show. Oh, and my advice about the invisible jet, ditch it. Or, just make it a cloaking jet. A woman riding around on nothing in mid-air is just a dumb, just make a cloaking jet if you feel compelled to give her an invisible jet.

  • David Forck

    A more down to earth look:
    Blue jeans, red cow boy boots, Red Shirt with the gold trim on it. Less gimmicky, more accessible.

  • trashcanman

    Thor is a bigger challenge than WW is you ask me, and Marvel managed that. Also, in Whedon’s defense he wrote and entire script so he knew what he wanted to do with her, but the studio didn’t like it (as they seldom like anything good) and shut him down. And now they are kicking the shit out of themselves as Whedon went on the direct the biggest superhero flick to date.

    http://screenrant.com/joss-whedon-wonder-woman-sandy-139177/

  • E. Lee Zimmerman

    Meh. I agree strongly that it’d be great to see an incarnation of WONDER WOMAN that would work. Maybe this ‘Young Wonder Woman’ approach could work in much the same way that SMALLVILLE worked fine for a few seasons, though it had middling affect somewhere around Season 5 on, and I gave up on it completely in its last two seasons.

    There’s something to be said for making a female-centric superhero show work AND NOT be animated. So long as the writers don’t surrender to the idea that “she needs to embrace her inner woman” focus that tends to creep up in female-based shows all too often, I’d give it a chance. Does anyone even remember THE BIONIC WOMAN reboot? That kind of female angst worked best on shows like ALIAS which structured so much of Syd’s relationships around it, but even that felt tired by its third season. Plus, she was human, so you could accept it much more. But for a superhuman? Nah.

  • alvaro

    The only way i think WW could work is making her “Xena in the Present” with a Game of Thrones-ish Universe mixed with the traditional Greek mithology. And it shouldnt wear a costume, but an armor.

  • Simon

    I would like to see kat dennings as wonderwoman :)

  • Mr Teufel

    On consideration, I think this could work. Without her magic items, Diana is just a superstrong fish-out-of-water. In fact I could see her as a naive exchange student, sent by her homeland to learn about the wider world in a structured environment. Over time and seasons she gets involved with Steve, obtains her lasso and braces in adventures against seasonal foes, and becomes the Wonder Woman we all know. Hope it rates its socks off.

  • Blake

    The show could also be called “The Amazon” or the “Amazonian Wonder” or “The Amazon Wonder.”

  • Tama

    They aren’t making movies of female superheroes because they keep failing with female leads. Like the one about Daredevil’s girlfriend, or Catwoman, for example.

  • Charlie Ward

    The key here is to make her sweet. Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman was just as sweet as can be, and everyone loved her. She can (and should!) be strong, too, but if you want to make her unappealing then by all means forget the sweetness. That’s what they did for Palicki pilot, after all, and look how that turned out.

  • #Dan

    The reason they cannot make Wonder Woman right is to date the only successful Super Hero movies are all origin stories and lets face it, Wonder Woman’s back story is pretty weak. She is an Amazon from a strange world where the Amazon culture is Greek despite being in South America.

    She is a whiny princess, boo hoo mommy wont let her solder. There is no drama, no significant loss, its the 10 second version of G.I. Jane followed by a lot of missing pieces. … and then poof there she is in full glory wearing the flag of a country that would deport her if they could figure out who she really is.

    The need to make her an Amazon. Make her Brazilian, strong and tough and then if they are going to insist the Amazon is really just Greece for woman, dress her in Gold and white… and since that have given her all of superman’s powers, but none of his weaknesses, they should have her fighting gods and not Nazis.

    Or better yet, promote superheroin with a great back, who kicks ass and who exists because she is a kick ass superhero not because the JLA needed a female counterpart to Clark.

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