Screw ‘The Cape,’ Let’s Pick on the ‘Wonder Woman’ Pilot

Posted: February 4, 2011 in comic books, Jeff Holland, reviews, Threat Quality
Tags: , , , ,

Here’s where the news of the NBC-greenlit “Wonder Woman” pilot gets interesting – and by interesting I mean fairly depressing. It’s the description of the show:

Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.

Which is to say, Wonder Woman will look a lot less like most recognizable renditions of the character, and a lot more like a David E. Kelley character. Fingers crossed that at least tonally, it’s more “The Practice” than “Allie McBeal,” but…I’ve seen late-period Kelley. He is synonymous with “oppressive quirk.” Don’t believe me? Watch a single commercial for “Harry’s Law” and tell me that’s something you think you could sit through for a whole hour. (See, they’re lawyers, but in a SHOE STORE! It’s so CA-RAAAAZAAAY)

(Editor’s note: I wrote this last week, before Bleeding Cool ran this review of a draft of the pilot. Which – if, in fact, accurate – well, then…fuck.)

(Editor’s note 2: Aaaaand now we’re getting a few more details. There is an icecream-sleepover and crying over Steve Trevor. Double-fuck.) 

Now, it’s not that I have a huge problem with Kelley seemingly shucking every major element of the Wonder Woman mythos – specifically, the whole “Ambassador to Man’s World, Teaching Amazon Principles While Protecting the Innocent From Ancient Forces of Darkness” thing. Though, of course I do.

We can argue a lot about what constitutes the “core” of Wonder Woman (as indeed we have), but, if you need to boil down the basis of most Wonder Woman stories, that’s it. Teaching peace and community while occasionally smacking the shit out of threats to that ideal. Secret identities, specific cities, vigilantism…these aren’t really part of the package. Batman, Superman? Yeah, those are required elements for those two. That’s actually what makes Wonder Woman so unique (and hard to write for): You can’t just rewrite a Superman or Batman script to plant her in it.

It’s possible “modern businesslady/vigilante crime fighter” could be done in a way that isn’t terrible. But then, why use the Wonder Woman property to tell that story?

Surely NBC could find better ways to spend their money than on the license for a character they have no interest in properly utilizing. And if they’re planning on partnering this with “The Cape,” which you know they are (though that’s probably not too likely), then why not build on that model and create a new female hero with DNA taken from other characters?

Because the description as read above has virtually no connection to the actual character, and the initial eyeballs the “Wonder Woman” name might draw can’t possibly justify the hefty licensing fee that made all the networks initially balk at picking up the pilot.

I’ll bet if NBC were to check with a few people working at CBS in 1990, they’d hear a lot of good advice on why a licensed character isn’t the draw they might assume it is.

(They’d also probably receive some crazy advice about not scheduling their expensive superhero show opposite Cosby AND The Simpsons, but I’m sure there’s still a lesson in there somewhere – though again, this is NBC, of Bionic Woman and Knight Rider reboot infamy we’re talking about, so…learning may not be their “thing.”)

(Hell, they’re looking at a Monday night taking a ratings beating with its back-to-back superhero and David Kelley shows and thinking, “Let’s pay for a David Kelley superhero show!” so…Hollywood, everybody!)

Of course, they’re probably just panicking now that ABC (now a Disney-sibling to Marvel) is pushing forward with those “Hulk” and “AKA Jessica Jones” pilots, and are just scrambling to compete. Which means this whole thing is in the hands of panicking network executives and we should just sit back and laugh.

Which is a bummer, because THAT’S what the most likely outcome will be: Wonder Woman as a property will be laughed at as a desperate misfire borne of embarrassing competition, and that’ll be its reputation in non-comics media for the next 10 years.

Though David E. Kelley should come out of it okay. The man seems indestructible – seriously, who in the hell would greenlight “Harry’s Law”? It looks fucking ridiculous.

(The sad byproduct of me talking about all this? Now I really wonder if there’s a way to create a “Hawkman” series bible and not have it be awful. I do know the key is CGI wings. So…I’m one step ahead of the CW, at least.)

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Comments
  1. V.I.P. Referee says:

    “Corporate”, whaaat? Why? Why do this to her? Why stick “Wonder Woman” into a hybrid of “Sex and The City” and “Fairly Legal”?

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    Because David Kelley really, really misses writing Allie McBeal.

  3. kitaritida says:

    κυτταριτιδα βοτανα…

    […]Screw ‘The Cape,’ Let’s Pick on the ‘Wonder Woman’ Pilot « Threat Quality Press[…]…

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