NBC Picks Up Wonder Woman Pilot

Have you been watching The Cape?  Probably not because it's really not that good honestly.  I've given it three episodes and all I've come away with is a drinking game for every time "the cape" is mentioned in the show, Summer Glau's talents being wasted and super-cheesy dialogue and storylines.  Regardless, NBC seems content to be peddling some superhero fare in an effort to fill that void left by Heroes, which also became a chore to watch.  If The Cape doesn't get renewed for another season there may still be a superhero show on NBC of a much higher caliber, as Entertainment Weekly reports that NBC is picking up Wonder Woman for a TV series afterall.

Well we have to address the irony in this decision as NBC was the final network to pass on the pilot by David E. Kelley a week ago.  The thinking (at the time) was that making a show with such a high profile character would lead to insane licensing fees from DC.  Why the about face?  In light of the impending Kabletown...I mean, Comcast, takeover, Robert Greenblatt is now spearheading the primetime lineups as Chairman (replacing the departing head of programming Angela Bromstad).  Greenblatt has previously spurned renewed interest in Showtime with Dexter and Weeds, so he definitely seems to know something good when he sees it.  So money's not a thing.  What about story?

Kelley has actually been around the dramatic screenplay block, having written a ton of shows including L.A. Law, Doogie Howser, M.D., Picket Fences, Ally McBeal, Boston Public and Boston Legal, just to name a few. His qualifications clearly peg him as a man that knows how to do dramas (most of which seem to revolve around a legal or medical profession) and could do well with the Wonder Woman franchises.  Reports seem to confirm that his pilot for Wonder Woman incorporates her lasso, cuffs and plane and is a serious, non-campy take on the character.  That bodes well and means we could get a series in the vein of The Sarah Connor Chronicles or Bionic Woman, both of which took classic strong, female characters and created dramas around them.  We could also get something like Smallville with a younger Wonder Woman making her way in the world, but I doubt NBC will seek to retread that area. We could even get something like Birds of Prey which was great in principle but I believe succumbed to lack of general awareness about the characters.

Here's what I'm expecting.  Knowing NBC's proclivity for special effects (and to climb out of last place) I could see them giving the show a pretty big budget.  I would think it would be most similar to The Sarah Connor Chronicles in tone, where Wonder Woman will be a character who realizes the weight on her shoulders, making the show very intense.  What I'm not sure about is what aspect of her life they will focus on.  Sure there will be requisite parts action, but will she just be fighting crime on the streets of whatever city they put her in?  Will NBC pony up for licenses for other characters, such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, etc.?  It would be great if what NBC did was essentially a Justice Leage cartoon but live-action and focusing on Wonder Woman, which leads to the next point.

Will Joss Whedon direct the series?  Whedon was long tied to the on-again, off-again feature film adaptation of Wonder Woman and has the TV directing chops from Firefly.  Whedon may want to take on directing the TV incarnation of the film he never got the chance to do, but he could be really busy helming the upcoming Avengers movie.  The next question would be who would play Wonder Woman?  If I were a betting man and placing odds you would have to think that Glau.  Assuming Whedon comes on board Glau would make sense considering their working relationship on Firefly.  She also has the kickass persona and could do well encapsulating the role of Wonder Woman on the TV show.  Casting the character for TV is a lot different than the movie, although it wouldn't surprise me if NBC went with an unknown here for the role.

When it's all said and done what needs to be remembered is that all we have is a pilot.  Wonder Woman fans should temper their enthusiasm on a few fronts.  First, the pilot may not get picked up at all for an initial season run.  Second, the show could flat out suck.  NBC may decide to just throw lots of money and marketing at the show and it ends up being really, really bad.  Personally, I hope it gets picked up and that it's a good show.  Wonder Woman is an extremely rich character that defines DC Comics and has languished for too long while Batman and Superman have gotten tons of attention.  Maybe if a perfect storm of a good story, good director, right casting choice and quality support from NBC we'll actually get a good Wonder Woman series.