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I was jumping happily around my house when I suddenly remember Wonder
Woman on this Good Friday. Yeah, yeah, yeah! The series walked with me
through my 7th, 8th and 9th year of my life. I never forget that right
after school, I rushed back home for some snacks and the Cantonese
voice-overed Wonder Woman's power and justice.
As a little girl at such tender age, I was not interested in or envied her hourglass figure. I wanted to have her bracelets, her boots, her crown and of course her power! Not many of my little classmates followed this series because they loved Japanese cartoons more. From time to time I imagined I was powerful like WW to save people's life or even the world with my two bracelets like Lynda Carter. By the way, she's a great beauty, like most of the young fans, I followed her news for some time.
What made me even happier was the appearance of Justice League because the amazon woman was an important member. Once my elder sister asked me very innocently that if WW would be marrying Superman! Now I am thinking about what power their children will be endowed with if and only if they tie the knot! Super Wonder Kids!
Amongst the female American superhero like She-Ra or Superwoman, none of them achieved as successfully as WW. She is a part of my young memory.
I've been watching the reruns of late on the Sci-Fi channel, and am
rediscovering how silly and entertaining the whole show is; I prefer the
"New Adventures", but even the WW2 episodes are zany fun. Very 70s;
everything looks dated...
...but Lynda? Whoa! I had a major thing for Lynda when I was a kid, and
did every other heterosexual male of the time; I still do, too... The show
may be cheesy, but there is no denying that Lynda Carter plays one sexy
fun Wonder Woman. Unlike most of the Charlie's Angels, who look like sex
symbols from a bygone era, Lynda looks great, 20+ years later. She hasn't
aged that badly either.
The show itself definitely could have used some improvement; a continuing storyline and better sf/x could have made the show a little more timeless. Guest appearances by other DC super-heroines would have been cool, too. As far as superhero shows go, though, it's a definite improvement over the 60's Batman, and is on a par with the Incredible Hulk. (C'mon, though... a green Lou Ferrigno, or a buxom Lynda Carter?)
Definitely recommended viewing- although one should read the original comics (especially George Perez' run) to get a truer feel for Wonder Woman's mythos.
(I hesitate to see what will become of the Wonder Woman film currently in production- it's hard to see anyone but Lynda being WW.)
It's too bad that "Wonder Woman" strayed from its origins after it moved
from ABC to CBS. The original ABC episodes were probably some of the best
efforts at bringing comic book fun to life. Once the series was moved from
its WWII setting to the present, the only thing that improved was Lynda
Carter's costume. "Wonder Woman" became too much of a routine type of
adventure show and lost its sense of good-natured fun and camp that the WWII
episodes served up (and poor Lyle Waggoner became practically non-existent
as "Steve Trevor, Jr.")
Still, there is little doubt that Lynda Carter made a lasting impression as Wonder Woman. Her qualities of incredible beauty and wide-eyed innocence enabled her to make the part her own and the reason why we've never seen a big screen adapation of Wonder Woman is because Carter's portrayal still looms large even today.
Lynda Carter's portrayal of Wonder Woman was one of the best superhero performances ever. She really came across as a super-powerful female, just as Lou Ferrigno came across on The Incredible Hulk as a super-powerful green-skinned goliath. What was even better was when Debra Winger guest-starred in three episodes as WW's sister, Wonder Girl. Talk about a double dose of babeness!!!
Wonder Woman is a somewhat forgotten show, it's not on syndication
much, but it's gotten a boost from a successful release on DVD. The
first season takes place in the 1940s with Wonder Woman constantly
fighting to dismantle the Nazi's schemes. The following two seasons
take place in the 1970s, and they will be released on DVD soon.
The show is always bordering on the level of high camp, but like most every show from the 1970s, it tells its' story in a very plain straightforward fashion. Wonder Woman comes to the aid of Steve Trevor, who can never seem to help himself (the male in distress). Someone they know turns out to be an undercover Nazi spy, who is trying to steal valuable information or hurt many Americans.
One thing that is somewhat frustrating is how many times she is taken captured. She is chloroformed too many times to count (a 70s trademark - what action show didn't over-exploit chloroform?) Of course, how the hell does Steve never recognize that Diana is Wonder Woman, even when she happens to show up in the middle of Brazil to save him? And that music while she flies the invisible airplane?...yeeessh
The good parts of the show - Lynda Carter, first of all. She seemed to hit her stride in the part as the series continued and she is often so charming and innocent that you can't help but like her. Her values and strength of character are idealistic, but they're also missing in today's female heroes, who are so dark sometimes, they lose their charm. In many ways, watching Lynda as Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air and of course, there still doesn't seem to be a woman other than her who could wear that outfit and pull it off. When Wonder Woman first walks on the city streets in the pilot, you don't know what to think, but Lynda plays her so innocently she's fantastic.
She is the driving force, but the innocent quality of the show (good vs. bad) is unique from today's perspective. The comic book captions at the leads of scenes give it a tie to the comics. The guest stars are often interesting and have good roles and Lyle Waggoner is consistent in a rather thankless role as Steve Trevor.
It may not hold up perfectly today, but it's a nice time capsule series and Lynda Carter does hold up well in a role she was born to play. And along with the Hulk, this was the best of the slew of comic book hero shows from the 1970s-early 80s.
As a young male, I found Wonder Woman entertaining for two reasons-Lynda
Carter was beautiful and the show was, in my opinion, as camp and as fun as
the 60's Batman show.
I think a lot of women loved Wonder Woman because she was totally independent. She didn't need a man to help her save the day. She could beat the bad guys herself.
But, back to the show itself. Throughout the show Wonder Woman faced all kinds from regular bad guys to mad scientists. The show was very tongue-in-cheek and despite the show making me realize just how much us guys need women, I enjoyed it very much. There was the type of action you just don't see anymore on TV and plenty of original humour.
Wonder Woman was indeed wonderful.
The success of this show can be attributed largely to the casting of
Lynda Carter who was believable as Wonder Woman. Without her, the show
probably would never have gained the popularity that it did.
During the '70s live action show the 6 million Dollar Man, was a success due to the interesting usage of special effects. Wonder Woman might have been conceived encouraged by this cultural background.
The show's quality was par with most other top shows of the time. It was made to appeal to wide range of audiences, so the plot wasn't so complex, but prominently featured super powers of Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter was absolutely believable as Wonder Woman, and there was no other actor of the time who could have played the role asides from her.
The show is a sweet relic from the '70s along with the likes of the Incredible Hulk, Bionic Woman etc.. It was made in pre-cable TV era when science fiction type program wasn't as ubiquitous as today, and nicely filled the niche. It was an interesting and dramatic show that brought excitement to the audience.
It would probably be difficult to make another Wonder Woman series with as much believability if they can't find a second Lynda Carter to fill the role.
When Lynda Carter first graced TV screens around the globe, most viewers, when thinking about comic book adaptations of a super-hero, would probably think of Batman, the larger than life, tongue-in-cheek series of the 1960s. What made Wonder Woman so special, and Lynda Carter's portrayal so memorable, was that when the first script in which she featured (a pilot set in the 1940s)contained many influences that could be traced back to Batman, and some very over-the-top performances, Lynda Carter played it straight. Both Wonder Woman, and Diana Prince, had to believe in what they were doing. And that belief made it all seem very real to audiences, in particular the generation of children who watched each episode. Writers and directors rapidly responded, and an unexpectedly credible series emerges. Guest actors didn't give camp or exaggerated performances, as Lynda Carter made this role very much her own. Just as Christopher Reeve made Superman an almost impossible mountain for any other actor to climb, so Lynda Carter gave a performance that 30 years later still makes it impossible to imagine any other actress in the role. Beautiful she certainly was, and created by nature to have all the physical attributes that Wonder Woman required, but it is her decision to play it straight and give the series its believability and a unique feel all its own that has helped the series endure in the memories of people around the world.
During the cynical Watergate Seventies we were certainly in need of
unambiguous heroes or heroines as the case may be. The comics have
always been a rich source of superheroes, look at how many times
Superman has been reincarnated on the big and small screen.
I don't think it was an accident that Wonder Woman came to television the same time in the same decade that women finally got control of their own bodies with Roe vs. Wade. No one was going to tell Wonder Woman what she could do or not do with her own body.
Lynda Carter was one statuesque Wonder Woman. And she came from Paradise Isle where women live extremely long lives keeping their looks and all without men. But World War II intruded on their island and the policy of isolation went up in smoke. Wonder Woman knew exactly which side she would take and it wasn't going to be Mr. Hitler and his misogynistic and chauvinistic policies, not by a damn sight. If she could only have gotten her rope of truth around him.
Lyle Waggoner played Major Steve Trevor of Army Intelligence who kind of liked her, but knew she was kind of out of anybody's league. Halfway through the run, they updated Wonder Woman for the Seventies. It should have stayed during World War II.
But the episodes were fun and Carter was something to be hold in action or just hanging out.
The 1970's TV series "Wonder Woman" - adapted from the popular DC
Comics super-heroine created by American psychologist William Moulton
Marston (credited here as "Charles Marston"), his wife Elizabeth, and
their mutual live-in lover Olive Byrne - is a wonderful superhero
One of the great things about "Wonder Woman" is that it feels like a real-life, live-action comic book. In fact, shots from each episode closely resemble panels from a comic book. The other thing about "Wonder Woman" is that it doesn't fall into the full-blown camp territory of its obvious predecessor, the 1966 "Batman" TV series that starred Adam West and was responsible for nearly ruining the Dark Knight's reputation. Yet, "Wonder Woman" also doesn't take itself all that seriously. It's just a great fun TV show to watch through and through.
In case you don't know, the entire "Wonder Woman" series takes place from World War II (1942-1945) all the way up to the modern day (the mid 1970s). During a spectacular aerial battle over the Bermuda Triangle, dashing Air Force pilot Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) is shot down and lands on Paradise Island, which also happens to be home to the Amazons, beautiful, ageless women of great strength, agility, and intelligence. Princess Diana (former Miss World USA 1972 Lynda Carter) wins the right to return him to "Man's World" (the rest of human society). And thus, Wonder Woman's career as a super-heroine begins as she and Steve take on the Nazis and their various attempts to sabotage the U.S. war effort.
The second season onward moves events up to the present, the mid-1970s, as Diana once again returns to Man's World to battle all manner of evil - terrorists, evil geniuses, your typical crooks, and even Nazi war criminals hiding out in South America. She once again teams up with Steve Trevor, or rather, Steve Trevor, Jr., the son of the lead male protagonist from the first season (who is still portrayed by Lyle Waggoner).
As the lead, the dashing and beautiful Lynda Carter IS Wonder Woman. In her civilian identity, she's bookish Diana Prince. Astute viewers will also recognize that "Diana Prince" is the secret identity, whereas Wonder Woman is the true personality (much like DC Comics' other flagship superhero, Superman/Clark Kent). Carter is an actress of amazing beauty and physicality; she reportedly performed a number of her own stunts including dangling from a flying helicopter in the second episode of the second season. It's a role that she would be forever closely linked to and it remains her most famous role to date.
Another aspect of the series that I found quite amazing was that it retains the feminist appeal of the original comic book character (Wonder Woman has been accused by social critics since the beginning of encouraging misandry, promoting bondage fantasies, and encouraging lesbianism). Because of the strong feminist appeal of the character, it was often Steve Trevor who was in distress and needed to be rescued, and not the other way around. It's a great role reversal from what is normally seen in most superhero comic book/TV series.
Lastly, I'm not ashamed to say that I became a fan of Wonder Woman largely because of Lynda Carter, who is not only striking and beautiful, but also closely resembles her comic book counterpart; I have no doubt in my mind that she might have been cast because of her uncanny resemblance to the character that she plays.
"Wonder Woman" is a classic superhero series in every sense of the word. The first season is the best, in my overall opinion of the series. It is also highly likely that this incarnation of the DC Comics super-heroine will remain the best portrayal of the character anywhere, whether it be on television or in the movies.
P.S.: I only wish that Debra Winger had more appearances as Diana's perky younger sister Drusilla/Wonder Girl.
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