Friday, September 2, 2011

Review - Wonder Woman Pilot

Earlier this year the internet was abuzz with excitement. Wonder Woman was finally getting a TV show again, taking place of the movie that could never seem to get off the ground. Adrienne Palicki was cast as Wonder Woman and, honestly, she didn't look that bad at all. Cary Elwes and Elizabeth Hurley were added to the cast and there was promise. Hell, even David E. Kelly was tapped to produce. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, from there though, it was all downhill. The script was rewritten multiple times. Early video of the pilot leaked out and was met with less than stellar enthusiasm. Now, the entire pilot has made its way online. Does it live up to the hype of inanity?

In a word: yes.

And not that it matters, but there are full spoilers ahead.

The series planned to open up smack dab in the middle of Wonder Woman's world. Diana Prince/Themyscira is the owner of a massive, international company that sells, well, Wonder Woman toys?

Other than being defined as "owner," Diana is struggling to find herself in the world of Los Angeles. She's revered by some for her crime-fighting actions and hated by others for seemingly take the law into her own hands. It's basically the Batman effect and Wonder Woman is perceived more as a vigilante than crime fighter.

The plot is simple. Underprivileged black teen gets into college (named Willis...really?), making family proud and then promptly starts bleeding from the eyes. Why? Steroid use. Elizabeth Hurley is the CEO of an evil company that is making steroids I guess? And selling them to high schoolers? Apparently this is enough to spur Wonder Woman into action, running down a criminal in the streets who sold the drugs to said teen. Although there's no explanation whatsoever as to how Wonder Woman knew it was this guy. Or what drawing a blood sample from the perp in the middle of a crowded LA street will do for your image.

Through some secret investigations (read blatantly accusing Hurley's character in a press conference of her crimes) and working collaboratively with law enforcement (read breaking into steroid facility, manhandling about twenty juiced up guards with horrible dialogue and then being lauded for stopping the crime), Wonder Woman saves the day. Her call to action was, of course, the death of Willis, who she shared a bonding moment with in the hospital only minutes earlier.

This is the inconsistency of the plot. And there are inconsistencies in character too. There's one scene where her company is discussing the next Wonder Woman action figure being physically disproportionate. They're discussing this because it's the action figures that pay for the Wonder Woman technology by the way. She rails into her CEO (Cary Elwes) about being objectified that way. Oh, and she manages to say "tits," "boobs" and "breasts" about ten times in three minutes during this tirade.

Then, five minutes later, she's trying to get into the hospital room to see the man she caught who's tied to an international steroid ring. How does she get in? By flaunting her breasts and saying that her costume will get her past the detective. That's two scene in the pilot. Within five minutes her character she goes from feminist fighter to sexual object.

What's more is in that same hospital scene she's trying to get a confession from the injured man through torture. Doesn't the lasso she carry with her elicit the truth? It's great that she has it but not if she doesn't use it.

Now to the costume. Throughout the episode Palicki is in three different costumes. Clearly, the producers were a little unsure as to what costume would finally make it in the show. It's that or the fact that, as a woman, even Wonder Woman likes to mix things up when it comes to wardrobe. The bracers get some play blocking bullets, which is nice, but the invisible jet is, sadly, not invisible.

Palicki as Wonder Woman was actually pretty good. It's a hard role to pull off, but she had the look. Granted, she wasn't given all that much to work with in the way of dialogue, direction or character development. Still, I would endorse her in the role for a feature film (if it ever comes to that).

The Wonder Woman Pilot is 40 minutes of inanity. It was made campy on purpose when comics now have matured. It should have at least been an origin story, explaining Wonder Woman's arrival to Earth and her integration. It also would have been nice to have her even mention Bruce Wayne of Clark Kent (even in passing), just to nod to comic fans and the universe she lives in. Those three are the holy trinity of DC and if DC is really trying to emulate Marvel in the universe uniting regard it definitely wouldn't have hurt. Even if, when Elwes was going on about paying for tech, there was a conversation along these lines:

Wonder Woman: Lucius Fox doesn't complain to me about breast size in toys.
Elwes: You're also not a playboy billionaire like Bruce Wayne.

Stuff like that would've been nice. Just because it would tie her into the DC universe better. Not to mention every single one of her "colleagues" repeatedly calling her "D." Really?

The entire show is really just a soap opera. Honestly. There's this big push to get more women in comics, but then this pilot just erases all that by presenting Wonder Woman as a woman more concerned with looking good and having a Facebook profile. And she's a cat lady, who she lists as her only friend on Facebook (I didn't know you could just "list" friends but I digress). It's basically Gilmore Girls, if one of the girls was Wonder Woman.

The video of the pilot is below. No telling how long it'll be available, so get on it while the getting's good. If you miss out, you're really not missing much though. Sadly.


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