The Thursday Blog: Wonder Woman Uncovered Edition

Last night Lena and I watched the unaired pilot episode for the forth proposed Wonder Woman series, with Adrianne Palicki in the titular spot. (Pun intended, and no, I don’t have a copy. Sorry.) I was extremely prepared to hate this show, though not so much as Lena, who’s tirades about the new costume (who picked those fucking boots! what’s WRONG with those people?) I had endured since the first stills emerged. Personally, I pretty much expected it to be Smallville with a different outfit. Familiar characters, cute actors, lousy writing.

I am sad to say I was very, very wrong.

Sad of course, because the network was so nervous over test screen reactions that they bailed on the show before even the pilot reached our screens. And sad too, because by the end, I had found myself won over by the show’s charms.

Palicki’s Wonder Woman differs in many… many significant ways from the iconic camp-stamp left behind by the Lynda Carter portrayal. Carter’s Diana was whiney and entitled, while as Wonder Woman Palicki is driven, sometimes frustrated, but always forceful. There was zero difference in tone between Cater as Wonder Woman or Diana Prince, while Palicki seems to be transformed by the alter ego, slipping out of her corporate bigwig crime fighter personae and into a shy, cat-and-popcorn style single lady.

Did I not mention the corporation? Okay, maybe I dug this because I had done it myself in a game of Villains and Vigilantes back in high school, but I still thought it was a clever idea. Also reminiscent of the “I hope they fucking DIE!” scene from the Specials, Diana has forged herself a small but wealthy corporate empire dedicated to catching all the bad guys the po po can’t reach. Now because crime fighting isn’t all that lucrative if no one is paying you for it, the company is financed by… wait for it… Wonder Woman merchandise! There is a particularly amusing exchange in the boardroom as the look of the new doll is discussed. Diana is miffed because here latest nemesis, (well portrayed by Elizabeth Hurley) called her an “action figure” on the local news. Expressing her pique to the board, she complains the doll (dressed in the comic book version of the costume) is unrealistically endowed, though she does admit that her own figure is more or less perfect. Etta Candy (her assistant) points out that Diana specifically created her present costume to look good as an action figure, in order to better serve the company’s financial interests. Ticked off, Diana shouts, “We are not marketing my tits!”

This from the woman fighting crime in a demi cup.

Another welcome change was the way that Palicki’s Diana viewed the law and her role in the world alongside it. The Handsome Police Detective warns Diana against going against Elizabeth Hurley (really, I could just sit and watch that woman read the phone book) without any evidence. The cops know that Hurley is up to no good and that if they could just get into her detention/infirmary facility they would have her dead to rights, but the elusive villainess is politically well connected and a financial powerhouse, and they know if they don’t do everything by the book she’ll slip away in the courtroom. Eventually Hurley’s misdeeds cause the death of a pal of Diana’s, and the gloves come off. As she’s flying her tiny jet (very cool) to Hurley’s evil lair, Handsome Detective is trying to talk her out of it. The cops have no warrant, he reasons, Diana will be on her own with no idea what to expect. She counters that once she illegally breaks in and begins beating the hell out of everyone she finds within, the place’ll be a crime scene and the cops can just walk right on in.

Once inside, (dressed in the familiar star-spangled one-piece) WW battles Hurley’s steroidally enhanced monster-men, matching them blow for blow. She gets a little more serious however with a guard who ups the ante with a pistol, turning the “friendly” dust-up into a more deadly contest. WW whips out with the bracelets, sending bullets flying every which-a-way, and then throws a freaking pipe through the dude’s throat, pinning him like a butterfly to the wall behind him. A dead butterfly. I know a lot of people had a big problem with this scene, people don’t seem to like costumed heroes who respond appropriately to deadly force. I thought it was both kinda awesome, and that it rang true. Diana is a real warrior trained by a real military culture, (allowing for a certain degree of flexibility regarding use of the word real) with super strength and speed. You just should not fuck with someone like that. If you shoot them and don’t kill them, what the hell would you expect to happen?

Wonder Woman is dead, long live Wonder Woman. At least we can be sure that Elizabeth Hurley’s career will survive.

35 Responses to The Thursday Blog: Wonder Woman Uncovered Edition

  1. I’ve always been mystified by the (seemingly ubiquitous) “hero who won’t use lethal force” in the comic/superhero genre. Perhaps it isn’t as common as it seems, or perhaps I’m misunderstanding it, but from partly outside looking in, it’s a trope that seems to be everywhere. I can understand a hero or two “not wanting to kill” , but it certainly seems that, say, eight out of every ten seem to hold to this “code”.
    Am I wrong? What’s the deal? Please help me understaaaaand…*sob*

    Oh, and “Good Morning” right back at’cha.

    • Well it makes sense with superman…after all, unless they have Kryptonite, the bad guys really can’t hurt him…

      But Wonder Woman acting like Clint Eastwood? Kinda slips off the whole nobility angle of the original character…she IS supposed to be a princess, after all. Let’s face it, killing someone who can’t hurt you (just keep using the bracelets and laughing til the goon runs out of ammo, then tie his gun in a knot…WW is superstrong in most incarnations of the character) is pretty evil.

      • Are you high or just ignorant? That’s exactly what nobles do. Nobles hold authority in society as the people expected to hold and use weapons, it seems perfectly noble to me to kill a dude that threatens you but can’t meaningfully act on it, for a lot of reasons.
        #1: You don’t know if he’ll get together with the rest of the peasants and try something that might work, or even stop paying the taxes.
        #2: Making a gruesome example of one enemy usually will scare off people sane enough to consider that if they openly oppose you they are likely to die.
        #3: Practice killing, to keep your edge. Being able, willing and competent to fight and kill without hesitation at all times is part of the job description of being a noble–hereditary or otherwise.

    • I think it’s just that someone with superpowers who isn’t any morally better than anyone else is kind of scary. Personally I kinda like it… occasionally… because it gives the character a little more humanity. Something in common with the viewer.

      • Well aside from the basic idea of hero and villain, that heroes don’t kill…

        If all the villians died every episode our noble heroes would be out of a job pretty quick.

  2. You make me sad that there isn’t going to be an actual TV show out of this 🙁

    Do someone know why it was canceled?

    • My take on it is that it was canceled because everything they leaked to fans was patently rejected, mocked, ridiculed and criticized.

    • While that is true, I think the main reason was that the test screenings received unfavorable reviews. That’s pretty much always what they go by.

  3. OMG that sounds fucking awesome!!! Wonder Woman never gonna adapt well to general consumption considering how much of her is the sex fantasy of an S&M bottom from the 50’s. He liked being tied to chairs by powerful women and made to confess. One thing I’ve noticed is she is even with Batman in her ability to kick people’s asses with almost no powers. I used to own the 80’s Teen Titans where she gets in an argument with Nightwing (original Robin after he grew up) and beats the living shit out of him. No magic tools either. I’m glad to see the nobody dies thing going out of style. It was the most unrealistic thing about the whole genre somehow.

    • She is right behind Supes for powers, who is pretty much only behind Green Lantern in the whole genre. What do you mean “no powers”?

    • Yeah, WW is mondo powerful. Some incarnations of WW had no powers as Diana Prince, and the Cathy Lee Crosby version was really just a “spy” i a red, white, and blue track suit, but she is absolutely one of the big DC powerhouses.

      I’d imagine her biggest problem fighting Nightwing would be not accidentally killing him. I’d even put her over Superman 9 times out of ten, because she’s almost as strong as he is, and a WAY better fighter.

      • the DC wiki puts ww pretty low on the strength gauge when directly compared to superman, the gap in power between the two is much larger then your making it out to be.

        in fact the only hero who could beat superman is batman and that’s only because of the kryptonite superman gave him

          • I read this little tid bit…

            “Diana has heightened resistance to magical attacks. She is highly experienced in battling foes who use sorcery as a weapon. As a divine creation herself, she is far-less susceptible to manipulation by magic and mental attack than many of her fellow heroes”

            I’d put my money on WW over Super Man any day.

          • I guess I’m thinking of my high school days. There have been TWO revamps since then, each resetting everyone’s power levels. Back in the old DC Superheroes RPG game, Superman had the highest strength score with a 50, and WW had the second with a 49.

            • I know we were discussing this DAYS ago but I felt compelled to clear this up.

              WW is the strongest hero besides superman,
              superman, one of the strongest, if not the strongest being in the meta-verse including Darkseid.
              if you look at superman’s page in regards to his strength you’ll see that superman’s feats of strengths are “galactic” as in moving objects larger then the earth moon system itself, Since WWs strength is more in line with Hercules (stronger yes but in the same class) she isn’t really any where near superman specifically.

              as for Chris, I don’t understand how that applies to superman. how exactly is superman magic? and how would magical resistance benefit her in anyway against superman?

              also I imagine the rpg game isn’t accurate for sake of balance

              • From what I know Superman weaknesses include Kryptonite and Magic. Brute to Brute Super Man will win in the end, but against magic he has no direct counter and will lose, technically he may not be defeated but he cannot defeat the magic user either. Wonder woman matches Super Man in Brute to Brute but also can combat magic users. For this reason I’d put my money on WW.

              • A lot of Superman’s feats of “Strength” have to include a telekinetic component.

                It’s like he can telekinetically levitate anything he touches, supporting it with TK while he moves it around (This allows some of the feats that should be impossible, simply because the object he’s “lifting” couldn’t maintain it’s structural integrity during the maneuver, like lifting an ocean liner from one end, or even from the middle, it’s not desgined to be lifted by only one point of support, it would crumple or collapse without some additional support)

                • My nerd wisdom might be off… but I recall something of the extent that whatever Super Man touches is then affected to some degree by his powers, hence his suit never seems to tarnish, even when hit with a small moon. So perhaps that ocean liner, whilst he is holding it, is under his ‘protection’ and doesn’t collapse.

                  I could be confusing information though…

                  • Different writers have portrayed superman and his costume differently. Some have played it as being more resistant to damage as it is made of cloth from his home world, but in many instances we see it shredded, ie Death of superman title which shows his tattered cape. To back others up as well superman is weak to magic, and that is nearly all. In some books set later in time he even becomes immune to kryptonite. For a good portrayal of the strengths/weeknesses of superman and wonder woman check out kingdom come tpb.

                    • The John Byrne revamp DID include a psionic aspect to Superman’s powers, for exactly the reasons and effects Elfguy mentions. (Including making his invulnerability actually a mental force field that extended to his outfit.)

  4. And she has boobies! I think that it is reasonable for a “superhero” to kill when: the enemy is using deadly force, it is the only way to save them self and innocents, and they are outnumbered. I didn’t see that episode, but if WW was fighting just the one guy and everyone else was already taken out, as a hero she should have knocked him out. If she was still fighting others; waste him you can’t parry bullets and fight at same time. unlike superman bullets don’t bounce off her skin.

    • She had just taken down another combatant, someone else was coming up behind her, and her attention was FULLY devoted to trying to make sure no bullets got past her bracelets. As soon as there was a pause, she wasted the guy.

      Her entire personality in the show (as WW) was like that of a steam roller. Her point was to go crashing through all the obstacles to justice that hindered the police. Within the story, whether you agreed with the concept or not, her actions made complete sense and were internally consistent. It’s still a worthwhile argument as to her being a “hero”, or at least a heroic ideal, although the fact that we consider our own armed forces heroes makes this a bit more interesting discussion.

  5. A body of water worked well for immobilizing nazis in the past. They should bring that practice back.