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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $39.98 RATED: NR
RUNNING TIME: N/A
• Commentary by Lynda Carter on "My Teenage Idol Is Missing"
• The Ultimate Feminist Icon: new documentary
• Limited-quantity commemorative bonus disc containing a never-before-released-on-DVD Shazam episode
I get to do Wonder Woman again. (Yeah, baby.)
Even after changing into her swimsuit, Wonder Woman was trying to decide how much she really wanted to jump in after Turdo Floatier, water treatment plant terrorist…
This is a little embarrassing, but I kind of shot the whole load on my review of Wonder Woman – Season 2 (here). But it was a damn good load, believe me. One of those break the furniture, smack yo’ momma in the mouth, have some barbecue chicken wings and a Marlboro kinda loads…. Anyway, I didn’t expect to be having a second go round with Ms. Carter fighting for our rights in her satin tights, and that’s why I tried to lay it all out on the table the first time around. Let’s recap: Lynda Carter was super hot in the role, the show was silly as only a ‘70s show could be, and Wonder Whedon has all the fanboys of the world salivating at the prospect of bring the heroine to the big screen. I also said he should pick Halle Berry to play Diana if he wanted to piss off the world but that Angelina Jolie was my ultimate pick for the movie. Add in the fact that I liked the show set in contemporary times better than in WWII, gave plenty of wild hypothetical picks for actresses to play the role, threw in Sinestro and Invaders references and even a She-Hulk/Wonder Woman menage joke, and I like to think that Wonder Woman and I were both tired and sweaty at the end. Wouldn’t you know that she’d roll right back over and tap me on the shoulder, ready to go again with Wonder Woman – Season 3…
And the true force behind CHUD is at last revealed…
When looking at this, the third and final season of the show, you pretty much feel like Season 2 just kept going right into this one. There wasn’t the big thematic shift that there was between Seasons 1 and 2 when Wonder Woman made the jump from the ‘40s to the ‘70s and started off the season with the two hour TV movie/premiere. But the show does remind you of what time period you’re dealing with right from the first episode, “My Teenage Idol is Missing.” Wonder Woman has to save ‘70s heart throb and pre-cokehead Leif Garrett when he’s abducted and held for ransom by the most erudite kidnapper in TV history. This episode did throw a little extra in the mix though as you get a little more of the Wonder Biker and Wonder Woman w/ Cape uniforms, and even our heroine making like Adam West’s TV Batman by scaling a building on her magic lasso.
From there it’s further exploits with frequently batty villains with inane plots for wrongdoing that everyone’s favorite Amazon has to foil. One of the sillier episodes has Roddy MacDowell returning with an art theft scheme. He played a scientist who was going to take over the world with a death ray that caused earthquakes in Season 2’s episode “The Man Who Made Volcanoes.” Here he plays a scientist who masquerades as an artist by creating lifelike statues of people. Turns out he’s got the House of Wax thing going on by freezing people into statues and later unfreezing them and using them to pull inside jobs at various art galleries. In the process, he makes Ed Begley, Jr. a statue (hard to believe I know) and ultimately tries to do the same to Wonder Woman.
Turns out magnesium ain’t the best material to make bulletproof bracelets out of…
The other episodes ran the gamut from the ordinary to the far out. One of the more average episodes is “Skateboard Wiz,” where a vacationing Diana has to help a small California coastal town when it’s threatened by a gangster who runs a casino. When a young girl who can skateboard and can also count cards is caught by the gangster in his casino, it’s up to WW to save the day. Episode wouldn’t be worth mentioning except that it features I believe to be the one and only appearance of the Wonder Skateboard Outfit, which is just WW’s regular outfit with a helmet, kneepads and gloves. Another regular episode is “Stolen Faces” where WW comes across a plot to rob the rich at a charity function using doubles of both WW and Steve Trevor. And one of the more deceptive titles of the season is “Amazon Hot Wax,” where Diana poses as a singer to undercover a plot in the music biz.
"Goddamn Sue, that’s what I’m talking about! Just look at that ass!
You gotta try on the Supergirl outfit, next!"
As for the far out, the first was “Time Bomb,” which featured a pre-Knots Landing Ted Shackleford and Joan Van Ark as time travelers who arrive in 1978 D.C., Van Ark to make billions through mining a new element, Shackleford to stop her. Kind of like Terminator only without the robots, “Fuck you, asshole,” or a coherent plot. There is a hint of a possible relationship for Diana with Clement (Shackleford), but it goes nowhere except back to the future. Others included the two-parter “The Boy Who Knew Her Secret,” which involved aliens and pyramids, “Spaced Out,” where the action takes place at a Sci-Fi convention, “Going Going Gone,” involving a UFO and a nuclear warhead, and “The Starships Are Coming,” which may or may not involve a UFO hoax (I won’t spoil it for you).
With respect to all of the above episodes, the hands-down best villain – possibly in the entire run of the show – is the titular “Gault’s Brain.” Here WW has to do battle with disembodied gray matter that’s looking for a new body. The brain also gains telekinetic powers that give WW a hard time at the end. The brain is the ultimate in 70’s camp: it bulges in and out, sports one giant eye, is large enough to make a Talosian jealous and the prop wires are plainly visible above it. The brain also instantly attains cult status when one discovers that it’s voiced by John Carradine. I don’t to ruin the episode, but let’s just say that Gault’s brain a loose thread that WW never got to tie up.
Diana knew she’d never live it down if the Justice league learned she moonlighted at the roller derby to make ends meet…
I was probably a little more forgiving of the show the first go-round because it was new. But once you’re in the sack with it a few times, you start to see the flaws a little more and you start looking for a new piece of arse. The writing in some of the episodes was plainly atrocious, even by ’70s standards. You can forgive the production value, the obvious stunt doubles, visual effects, model work, etc. – shit you have to forgive it for "Gault’s Brain” alone – but the show did fall into a rut by the third season. Even when Diana was investigating stuff like a mob boss, a robbery plot, or a kidnapping, the baddies would get one whiff of her being on the case and instantly give the order to frag her. Then some incompetent henchman would botch the job, Diana would do the Jade Blue Afterglow spin routine and escapes as WW. Also Trevor was getting involved less and less until by the end of the season he was gone entirely.
Check out minute 28:02 of Hollow Man for the signifigance of this caption.
Notwithstanding that Wonder Woman was mostly a show for kids, you do get the feeling that not even an effort was made by the show runners to give a little bit of heft to it emotionally. Diana was a robot (literally in one episode if I recall) who seemed about as interested in love or sex as Bush is in making sense. And you could tell that the show was ended before it was planned because the producers had Diana move to LA to start anew in the penultimate episode of the series’ run. They probably got tired of trying to make Hollywood look like D.C., but by then it was too late. And not since Batman has a show screamed “backlot” more than Wonder Woman. Even Shazam!, which was an inferior show on pretty much every level to this one, seemed to make use of more and better location shooting.
Sept. 22, 1978: Adam West is on the phone with his lawyer checking on copyright infringement…
In comparing Season 3 to Season 2, the producers just seemed to be on autopilot until the show’s demise, sometimes seemingly drawing out chases just to fill time. A perfect example of this is in the episode, “Stolen Faces,” where WW chases as goon who has just tried to kill a woman who was masquerading as WW for a planned heist. WW runs around a rooftop for what is nearly a minute tracking the henchman until realizing he’s given her the slip. Riveting. The whole secret identity deal by this season was also a joke. The effort was made, especially in Season 1, and well into Season 2, but by the latter half of Season 3, the mentality had to be “Screw it, if she doesn’t wear the tiara, no one could possibly make the connection.” Check out Diana in the opening and closing segments of “The Man Who Could Not Die” if you need proof.
In case you’re wondering, the area code would be either 213 or 310…
Nevertheless, none of this impacts on Lynda Carter’s portrayal of the character. She was Wonder Woman, giving the character a believability of nobility and compassion, while filling out the stars and stripes spectacularly. She also did get in on the physical stuff as much as she dared, which was nice. But in terms of depth to the character, Diana was a kiddie pool. A similar show of the same period, The Incredible Hulk, had it so much over Wonder Woman in this area it’s not funny. David Banner was dripping with emotion. He fell in love, suffered through his curse and was probably them most human superhero in television history. I wonder how the show would have been if producer Kenneth Johnson, who, in addition to Hulk also headed up The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, had the reins of this show as well.
It’s almost a certainty that people who are old enough to remember the show on TV are going to enjoy this a little more, if for the nostalgia value alone. Everything that I liked about the show before was still there in Season 3, but Season 2 was markedly better. Sorry, baby. Daddy’s done with you. Get me a sandwich, will ya?
6.8 out of 10
The greatest 1.14 seconds in the life of this prone actor occurs as he suddenly looks up…
Pretty much as good as Season 2, but the attack of the stock footage threatens frequently. And check out the grain even in the opening credits, particularly when Wonder Woman’s running down a hallway.
7.2 out of 10
Leif Garrett. Singing. More than once. Other than that it’s fine.
7.5 out of 10
Commentary by Lynda Carter on “My Teen Idol is Missing.” She talks at length about working with Leif Garrett. Nuff said.
There’s also a 14-minute featurette, “The Ultimate Feminist Icon,” which details Wonder Woman’s role in the feminist movement… Hey woman! Where’s my sandwich, goddamnit!
There’s also a bonus disc of the Shazam! premiere episode, “The Joyriders.” No Isis though.
"Trust me, Wolfman, from here on the sky’s the limit for you…"
Like the previous disc set the set up of these discs is that they have Special Features menus on disc that tell you to see other discs for special features. Lovely.
4.7 out of 10
If you happen to get this set, there’s a picture of Carter in full costume on the back inside cover that they should have used instead of this one. Carter as Wonder Woman is made to be seen full frame always. Here they’re giving her the second Elvis appearance on Ed Sullivan treatment.
5.1 out of 10