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Monday, October 3, 2011

A Review of the Wonder Woman Pilot

A Superhero Show That Deserves to be Seen!
(Photos from
Right off the bat, I have to admit that when I heard the news that the creator of Ally McBiel, David E. Kelley, was going to make a TV series based on Wonder Woman, I was highly skeptical about whether they could capture the very essence of what makes Wonder Woman great. I was concerned that it would turn out to be too "girly" and overly melodramatic, concentrating more on mundane lawyer stuff rather than superheroics. But recently, I had the opportunity to watch the pilot episode for this new Wonder Woman, and wow, was I very surprised! This Wonder Woman kicks ass!
(As CEO of her company, Diana can market her own action figures)
At the beginning of the episode we first see Wonder Woman running after a meta-human through a crowded city street. Both of them moving at nearly three times the speed of a normal person. She leaps onto cars, running on top of their hoods, even gets hit by a taxi, smashing the front of the car while she remains unharmed. She looks at the damage to the taxi with utter annoyance and continues the chase. All of this happens at real speed. No slow motion like in the Bionic Woman. Also, no "girly" running with arms and legs moving at a very feminine motion like in the Bionic Woman. This Wonder Woman is an athlete, a superhero, an amazon. Adrianne Palicki pulls it off. She... is... Wonder Woman. 
(A car slams into Wonder Woman who emerges unscathed, the car however...)
The chase through the street traffic is frenetic, and she's pissed. Finally, she puts an end to the chase by whipping out her golden lasso at her prey. I like seeing it used as a weapon rather than a truth detector. Throwing the lasso as if shot from a gun, and finding the perp's neck, wrapping around it like an iron claw, Wonder Woman pulls him to the ground hard. She lands on top of him, twisting his arms behind his back, and quickly jabs a syringe into his neck. He goes limp. The cops arrive and ask Wonder Woman to relent the bad guy to them. Her reply, "Why? So he can lawyer up?" She looks like she wants to break some more of the perp's bones, but she eventually releases him to the care of the cops. And then she walks away. The crowd parts, giving her a wide berth, and we hear them cheer for Wonder Woman.

Now that was awesome! David E. Kelley had gotten it right! This Wonder Woman is tough, no nonsense, and doesn't take any crap from anyone. 
(Wonder Woman: "Get out of my way or else.")
Wonder Woman, herself, has three personas. First, in the public eye, she is Diana Themyscira, CEO of Themyscira Industries. Second. everyone knows that Diana Themyscira is also Wonder Woman. This is very much like how the world knows that the billionaire industrialist, Tony Stark, is also Iron Man. For Wonder Woman, it works just as well. Third, in her private life, she is Diana Prince, a young woman, who lives alone in an apartment with her cat, Sylvester. As Diana Prince, we see the vulnerable side of Wonder Woman. There is a scene in which Diana is on her computer starting her own Facebook page. On the line where she's suppose to list her friends, she types in only one name... Sylvester.
(Returning from hero duties; back to the corporate grind)
What sets Wonder Woman apart from other comic book heroes is her sense of justice. Batman and Superman do not kill, at least they try not to. For Wonder Woman, its eye for an eye. She sees no problem being judge, jury, and executioner. She views the legal system as needlessly bureaucratic, and she despises lawyers. David E. Kelley managed to capture that aspect of Wonder Woman in this pilot episode. Its sort of a dark twist on his lawyer loving show Ally McBiel. We can see an example of this near the end of the pilot when Wonder Woman storms into the secret labs of a meta-human experimentation facility. She fights off dozens of armed guards, literally throwing some of them through concrete walls. In one scene that is reminiscent from the movie Kick-Ass in which Hit Girl runs through a hallway with guns blazing, tosses her guns in the air to reload, and continues firing. Here we see Wonder Woman trying to reach a door at the end of a hallway where a guard is shooting at her. She runs at full speed, deflecting the bullets with her bracelets, while fending off attackers from the sides, even using one bad guy as a human shield. The guard continues to fire at her as she charges towards him. Finally, Wonder Woman grabs an iron pipe and throws it at the guard, impaling him in the neck, killing him. Its this type of violent vigilante justice that reflects her amazonian ways. Bad guys deserve what's coming to them, in the most hurtful way possible.

David E. Kelley's Wonder Woman isn't perfect, but it is by far enjoyable, and in the spirit of the source material. I like this version very much. Too bad NBC (or any other network for that matter) didn't pick it up. It had strong possibilities for being a hit show.

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