If you think about it, it’s a little surprising that Wonder Woman lasted for three full seasons. To my knowledge, there really hadn’t been any popular female super heroes before this show. Obviously there were a couple peppered around here and there in comics, but as far as movies and television go, it was pretty hard to find any kind of super female hero. Of course, Lynda Carter and that tiny patriotic costume may have had something to do with it.
Almost 40 years later, it’s a little more understandable wh… this show can still move some units. It’s a bit Austin Powers, and a bit Indiana Jones. A show about the 40’s, created in the 70’s, and now available on DVD in the new millennium. It’s about as retro hip as the time that Sammy Davis Jr. guest-starred on Bewitched. Too cool to miss.
One of the things that I like about this show is the fact that it heads off disaster at the pass by actually embracing the show’s potential for goofiness. The show is silly, it knows it’s silly, so it makes subtle in-jokes at its own expense. For instance, toward the end of the pilot movie, Wonder Woman catches some criminals in the act. One of the three criminals already knows of Wonder Woman’s powers with the bulletproof bracelets, so he shrugs his shoulders, rolls his eyes and shoots at her anyway, obviously aware that the whole exercise is in vein. It is this tongue-in-cheek nature that makes the series’ horrible special effects fun instead of disastrous.
I love this show. It has all of the entertainment value of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie, but the storylines are actually interesting. This is a perfect example of a program that only gets better with age.
The episodes included in this boxed set sound great, for a classic 1975 mono soundtrack. The audio is clear and full, with plenty of separation between the dialog, score and the sound effects. I will admit that the dialog is slightly distorted sometimes, but it is pretty strong and clear overall. The score to this show is 70’s funk pimp-diddly-tastic, and it sounds great. This is easily one of the better mono soundtracks that I have ever heard.
So many films based on comic books try too much to make the film look like a comic book, and the result is a muddled mix of non-complimentary styles. This show gets it right somehow. Deep focus camera angles and comic-style captions give the show the feel of a comic book, without being too over-the-top. I love the presentation of this program.
As far as the technical aspects go, there are some blemishes scattered around here and there, but it’s not too distracting. I was quite distracted, however, by the extremely poor use of stock footage, especially in the pilot movie. During an aerial dogfight, the scene includes a shot of the pilot in a studio, color stock footage, and black and white stock footage, all with varying quality. This is so bad, that it actually became good. Then, as I watched more, I realized that this technique was done with a purpose, and it just added to the unique visual style of the program. This is another excellent example of the show making fun of itself before the viewer has the chance to. Simply brilliant.
The special features on this set are interesting, but a bit sparse. There is only one commentary included, for the pilot movie. It features the series creator, who is mostly dry, and Lynda Carter, who is wonderful as always. There is not a lot of interesting content on this track, but it is fun to hear Carter reminisce about her early days on the show, and her early experiences as an actress.
The only other extra is a 20 minute documentary featurette that covers the history of the comic strip and the show, the casting process, special effects and the like. The majority of this segment consists of on-screen interviews with Carter, who is still just as charming and delightful as she was on the show. This is not a fluff piece, but a real, entertaining segment on the first season of the show. It is an excellent addition to this DVD boxed set.
2004 seems to be the year of classic TV on DVD. This set is an excellent addition to that trend, and it is nice chance for D.C. Comics to get a little recognition in a media landscape that is so dominated by Marvel these days. Sure, it’s campy, but that’s all part of the fun. There were only three seasons of this show created, so there is no excuse for comic fans to not pick up this boxed set, as well as the next two, which are forthcoming.
Special Features List
- Commentary on Pilot Movie
- Documentary Featurette