Wonder Woman Now the world is ready for... the Wonder Woman TV series thread

Discussion in 'Comics Central' started by Mel O'Drama, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE CRISIS

    Having disconnected itself from the character's World War II origins following the previous episodes, this episode does the same for Wonder Woman's Amazon heritage.

    As I recall the appearance of Wonder Woman's mother, the Queen, would be the final appearance of a character from Paradise Island apart from Diana herself. Tellingly, the scene between Diana and her mother doesn't even take place on Paradise Island, which she was visiting with some regularity in Season One (as was the viewer). Instead, the Queen - in front of a black background - is transmitted onto a mirror in Diana's apartment for a brief chat via a prehistoric version of Skype that initiates when Diana strokes the ruby on her tiara's star. I don't think they used this device again either. Maybe the censors took exception to the idea of a female role model rubbing her ruby.

    Even by this stage, there's a sense that CBS wanted to make a very 1970s fantasy show that was weighed down as little as possible with mythology. Even more than the wartime nods in the previous episodes, the Queen's cameo feels like a box-ticking exercise. The network's way of putting the ball down gently rather than just dropping it.

    As usual in these early S2 episodes, we have the briefing with Steve, Diana, Norman Atkinson and their unseen boss. It's very derivative of other shows at the time, but it works fine to establish the plot which in this case causes a conflict of interest for Diana.

    Charles Cioffi does a nice little turn as the show's villain, Raymond Manta (ooh - Manta - Ray. See what they did there). He feels quite unpredictable and intense, but also appropriately arch. He's operating on his own secret island, for goodness' sake. Mansfield is also quite interesting. A well-known military figure now a broken, hollow shell of a man who has been held captive and brutalised seems quite dark for a show of this kind.

    But there's plenty of fluffy stuff too. In fact this episode is a fashion extravaganza. Firstly, Steve and Diana's plane initially crash lands onto Manta's island, leaving them stranded, Lost style. Naturally, Steve loses his shirt and Diana uses the leisure time to modify her slightly ripped jeans:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The other major event of note in this episode is the debut of an infamous variation of WW's costume: Donfeld's aqua costume!

    Behold the Wonder Wetsuit:



    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Saw this and thought of this thread:

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

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    So it comes down to Lynda Carter and three failed pilots, two of which never even aired. Let's see if Gail Gadot can do better.
     
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  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    KNOCKOUT

    Some years ago I read a Ted Shackelford interview where, regarding to his casting on Knots Landing, he told of being a young, confident man living in Los Angeles and pestering the people at Warner on a daily basis so they knew he was alive and looking for work. That story and this episode are intrinsically linked in my head.

    Indeed, Knockout marks one of Ted's earliest acting jobs: his first, I believe, apart from his stint on Another World. The confidence oozes from him here. He looks like someone having a ball enjoying what he's doing. He has good screen presence too. It's easy to see why he was someone with a future.

    As Pete the Driver, Ted plays a Steve Trevor role in this episode: an ally for Diana; someone who marvels at Wonder Woman; the guy she rescues and the man who will have a go in a fight. Ted would actually make a great Steve Trevor. As it is, Pete is shown to be a PG version of rough round the edges: throwing punches freely; revelling in the reputation he had as a racing driver; talking about having fathered a child at a young age with a dancer and then realising she was the wrong woman. This minor character comes in with a fairly solid backstory that foreshadows his Knots Landing role in many ways. Everyone remembers his Season Three WW episode with Joan Van Ark, of course, but this is the one that I suspect really put him on the radar.

    There's a reprise of a Season One story arc: Like one of the young characters in The Bushwackers, Pete's son doesn't speak due to trauma but by episode's end has had that moment of saying those first words.

    At this point in the show, there's a feeling that the show is still evolving and experimenting to find out what works. Another couple of precedents are set in this episode. Firstly, Steve barely features at all. It makes sense here, since the plot centres around his kidnap and Diana's search to find him. As a one off it makes a refreshing change. Unfortunately he is kidnapped by the most boring terrorists in the world and wisely chooses to spend all of his scenes sleeping. The "main" kidnapper is a woman who the writing suggests is formidable and a match for Wonder Woman herself. Played by another former beauty pageant winner and softly spoken, she doesn't feel that way at all. I can barely remember any of their scenes. She has a backstory too, but I forget what it is.

    It's also a very Diana Prince heavy episode. There are a few WW scenes, but they tend to be short and punchy. In between them there are lengthy scenes of Diana walking round in a series of fetching ensembles (including swimwear) investigating. I recall this became de rigueur in the show. Here, it works well. It captures the tone of the era well and I have to say Diana gets a much funkier soundtrack than Wonder Woman (great as the WW theme is, you can have too much of a good thing). Artie Kane does some great work here with a particularly evocative score that supports the more ominous or suspenseful moments and makes the less interesting stuff appear more watchable than it is. His work is well showcased here since there are minutes at a time of Diana walking round looking at things.



    The scene in the lift at the beginning of the video, by the way, was a great moment. Unfortunately the YouTuber has edited most of it out, but it played in real time with Diana's would-be attacker taking her measure while she looks increasingly uncomfortable. It builds for a while until they are disturbed by the two older people entering the lift and Diana seizes the opportunity to leave with them. It's certainly very different to anything we would have seen in Season One, but none the worse for it.

    Wonder Woman uses her tiara as a boomerang once again here (the third time, I believe). In The Return Of Wonder Woman, the camera cut away as she took her tiara off, when the camera returned, it appeared that she had "folded" her tiara into an actual boomerang shape. On catching the boomerang she held it to her head and the camera cut away. When it cut back, it had magically returned to its tiara form. It was quite a fun way of doing it. In this episode we're back to the first season version of her tiara retaining its shape while it's thrown. Just thought I'd mention for anyone keeping tabs on Diana's accessories.
     
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  5. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This has completely whetted my appetite. I can hardly wait for my signed copy to arrive (but I suppose I'm going to have to):

     
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  6. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    THE PIED PIPER

    We're into a pretty dismal run for Lyle Waggoner fans, and indeed poor Lyle himself.

    The Forties era has gone. The Amazons have gone. The invisible plane could be history (Diana was actually seen at an airport, presumably having just arrived on a passenger plane). With Knockout and The Pied Piper, another significant link to the ABC episodes is put onto the back burner. Albeit hidden behind a thin veil of storytelling.

    In the previous episode Diana left town to investigate alone, happily leaving Steve behind to pair up with Gary Ewing. The Pied Piper sees Joe Atkinson's daughter in potential danger, lured into the world of a sleazy, cultish singer with promises of fame and fortune. Steve and Diana both notice something is wrong with Joe during the now obligatory briefing scene, but it's Diana who handles it. When Joe comes to her, she sits him down to talk, holds his hand sympathetically and invites him to take Steve's place in their investigation (which she has been off delving into by herself anyway). She even has a line about it being an opportunity for Steve to get stuck into the paperwork he is so fond of which, while delivered with humour, comes off a little more cutting than one might expect.

    Joe, too, is quickly relegated to the sidelines, leaving Diana to do her thing alone and unencumbered. One can only wonder if these devices are a case of art imitating life.

    Now, on the one hand this is how it should be. Diana is more than capable of dealing with whatever gets thrown her way. Then there's the Amazonian philosophy that women are stronger than men who need their protection. And she should be shown to be able to deal with others independently through communication or brute strength as the occasion calls for. The show, after all, is called The New Adventures Of Wonder Woman.

    But there's a sense, too, that the series is becoming a very different animal and the fabric of the show and the supporting cast are starting to be seen as a hindrance to a different vision. It's great to see a little more of Joe this episode, but it's not as much as you may expect. And then there's Steve.

    Poor Lyle Waggoner is wheeled on for the briefing scene at the beginning and again for the denouement. Each time he has a just a couple of lines to deliver which - to his credit - he smiles his way through and gives as much of a sense of his character as it's possible to do with such minimal material. And this is the second consecutive such episode. Under the mid-season retooling of the show Steve would be relegated to a desk job, dooming the character for the rest of the run, but that formula is being explored already. I hadn't realised just how early it had begun.

    Watching Steve get captured and rescued each episode may have got boring over three seasons, but there's plenty more they could have done. The chemistry between the characters is good. Even though they'd wisely chosen not to pursue the romantic angle (more than a little icky considering her feelings for his father), their scenes together are still solid and entertaining.

    I'm not sure from where the decision to decrease Steve's role in the show to this extent came, but I can't help thinking of some quotes from this 1977 TV Guide article.

    Talking about Lyle expecting to have equal billing, an anonymous "former associate" was quoted as saying:

    Lyle's publicist threw the following into the mix:

    While Lyle himself was even more succinct:

    All need to be taken with a pinch of salt, of course. But it's difficult to find another logical explanation for what I'm currently watching onscreen. Regardless of whose authority was behind Steve's sidelining and Lynda holding the show almost singlehandedly. I think as the series evolved a definite hierarchy came along with it, which was to the detriment of the show.

    I can live with Diana Prince becoming increasingly more well-dressed with each passing episode (as I recall, by the end of the series the glasses were hardly ever worn and the hair even flowed freely. She was basically Wonder Woman in designer rags. Or even Lynda Carter). But the show needs a strong supporting cast to give it some substance and believability, otherwise it's just an enjoyable-but-unsatisfying fashion parade.

    This episode is a case in point. The story isn't awful, but the execution is something else. Diana Prince flying solo doesn't make for great dialogue (on the plus side it means we get some nice waka-waka soundtrack as we follow her). Good writing doesn't date and that's something in short supply here. Instead we get an episode that's probably as close to Adam West's Batman series as it gets.

    The villain of the piece is a singer who entrances young women every time he gets his flute out (insert chortle here). He's not particularly good looking. Nor can he sing. He wears an ensemble that would make Elvis say "too much". And he's about as menacing as the previous few sentences suggest.

    Diana Prince ends up in a series of predicaments and has to get out of them. But they all feel interchangeable and generic. Like those books where you choose what happens next via a choice of page numbers. All the boxes are ticked one by one: bondage; tiara throwing; jumping; lasso whirling. My personal favourite scenario this episode sees Diana strapped into a dentist chair which spins madly while she is tortured with cheap music. One can almost hear William Dozier's voice summing up the horrible cliffhanger and urging us to tune in tomorrow - same Wonder Time; Same Wonder Channel for the resolution. It has a certain chintzy camp value, but as a sober adult it's not particularly enjoyable to watch even on that level.

    As you've probably guessed, the chair spinning brought on a Wonder Spin which empowered her to free herself from her chair. But wait...! The chair is spinning to the left. Doesn't she go to great lengths to spin to the right? Every time?! The only left spins we saw were when she started to change back to Diana Prince in The Feminum Mystique. And possibly when she changed out of her aqua suit in The Bermuda Triangle Crisis. Oh - and at least one of Drusilla's changes to Wonder Girl. So by rights, she should either have turned into a dowdier version of Diana Prince or into Debra Winger. But perhaps the less said about that the better.
     
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  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    THE QUEEN AND THE THIEF / I DO, I DO / THE MAN WHO MADE VOLCANOES / MIND STEALERS FROM OUTER SPACE / THE DEADLY TOYS

    Out with the old and in with the new in the half dozen episodes I've viewed over the weekend.

    I Do, I Do marked the final episode of the original phase of The New Adventures. Now, as you'll have got from my comments from this season so far, I've had my issues with some aspects of this version of the show, and there's certainly been a feeling of experimentation, with some traditional aspects of the show being dropped like a hot potato. True to form, that continued with the last few "Phase I" episodes. For example, I noticed the text boxes were absent during those last couple of Phase I episodes, something I'd thought only happened after the live-action titles were introduced. Either way, I can't say I miss those text-boxes, which were cheesy and distracting.

    The last two episodes were enjoyable enough. Both The Queen And The Thief and I Do, I Do were quite heavily plotted and none the worse for it. They had a story that held the attention, and it felt as though some effort was being made to keep the viewer interested. The former episode had someone posing as an undercover IADC agent to gain the trust of a royal visitor, for example. While the latter opened with Diana getting married, with the explanation of why she was getting married being given piecemeal throughout the episode. Neither was without its flaws, but I was happy to go along for the ride. Hell - even Steve Trevor went along for the ride, being more prominently featured than he had for several episodes.

    Juliet Mills was actually rather marvellous as the queen of a fictitious country, with some trouble taken to give the character background and believability (she was an ordinary woman who'd married a king, and had become queen when her hubby had died). She had some nice lines too, my favourite was to a bitter subordinate enjoying the idea of watching her fall from grace. She reminded him that while her head may roll, it would be the head of a queen. Or words to that effect.

    The Man Who Made Volcanoes ushered in Phase II of The New Adventures, which I'll hereafter refer to as the Bruce Lansbury era, this being his first episode as "Supervising Producer" and his name being plastered all over the freeze frame (he's Angela's brother, for anyone who may be wondering, and would later go on to a cushy job on her Murder She Wrote series when she gained some clout and replaced half the crew with her family members).

    There are some good things that come along with the new look: the cold opening setting up the story; the live action titles with a new, synthesised version of the theme; an even better wardrobe for Carter who whizzes round in her gorgeous powder blue Mercedes SL. There's a sense of confidence here.

    Diana now sports her amazing ponytail more or less full time. Along with the trendy clothes and the amount of time given to her out of costume the series now feels more like the infamous mod period in the comics, where Diana lost her powers and Amazon heritage, learnt martial arts and paraded around in a great wardrobe.

    [​IMG]

    Indeed, it was this era that the Cathy Lee Crosby version seemed most heavily influenced by. Funny how it's come full circle.

    None of this is necessarily to the series' detriment at this point.


    But there is some not so great about these early Bruce Lansbury episodes. Firstly, nostalgic as I am about the live action opening (Season Three was one of my earliest TV obsessions when it first aired), it does feel a little more generic. And then there are those annoying sound effects over the great music: the "boings" as she jumps; the swooshing as the ugly new title card jumps out at the viewer; the smashing glass sounds; the engine of Steve's jeep revving. It's at least as cartoony as the actual cartoon that was previously used. Who knows... maybe that was the idea.

    The scenarios so far are certainly highly cartoony. But not in a good way. So far we've had a man threatening to destroy the earth with a volcano (not too bad, really, but a far cry from investigating jewel thefts and the like); aliens stealing people's minds and a toymaker creating a duplicate Wonder Woman.

    One thing that is immediately noticeable about the Bruce Lansbury era is the over-reliance on effects. Watching it now, it's hard to believe they were ever good effects. One thing is certain though: they look a proper sight now. It's all there: lasers painted on screen (heavily used in Volcanoes and the Mind Stealers two-parter); space ships; melting robot doppelgängers; aliens dressed in body stockings and tinsel. They all serve to make the series look cheaper than ever. Sadly, there's no real substance to support it.

    [​IMG]

    The Mind-Stealers episode didn't make sense on a number of levels, but the biggest flaw was that Andros wasn't Tim O'Connor who in Season One promised to return to visit WW in fifty earth years. It's only meant to have been 35 years, but there's no sign of him. Instead, we get Dack Rambo. Dialogue at the beginning of the two-parter establishes that Dack's Andros is actually the son of O'Connor's Andros. But then in their conversation towards the end of Mind-Stealers, Wonder Woman seems to think that this is actually the same Andros she's met before.

    That said, naff as the evil monster was in the alien episode, the music was damned creepy. There have been some nice guest-appearances from Roddy McDowall, Dack Rambo and the wonderful Frank Gorshin. And any episode that sees Wonder Woman fighting herself has to be worth the entry fee.
     
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  8. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    LIGHT-FINGERED LADY / SCREAMING JAVELIN / DIANA'S DISAPPEARING ACT


    The character dynamics are tweaked again. Enter: Saundra Sharp as Eve. It's lovely to see Saundra here. She's likeable enough, a good actress (she would go on to be one of the most fascinating of tertiary Knots Landing characters) and it's good to have another capable female character.

    But her arrival is also an acknowledgement of Diana's increasing autonomy within both the IADC and the series. She still has the occasional scene with Steve, but for the most part Diana is off having adventures these days. Changes to the order were touched on in dialogue at the beginning of the first Bruce Lansbury episode where Steve's promotion was mentioned. Almost immediately it's become apparent that, among other things, the changes mean:
    1. Joe Atkinson has been promoted "upstairs" at the IADC meaning we've seen the last of him. Because...
    2. Steve has Joe's old job and now gives the orders. But...
    3. Steve will be tied to a desk for much of the time, reducing the frequency with which he can accompany Diana. Which means that...
    4. Diana is now mostly working solo in the field. As a result of which...
    5. Eve is on hand to support Steve as Diana used to do.

    There are a number of other implications that come from this: Steve/Diana scenes are becoming less necessary and less frequent. And by the same token, Lyle Waggoner has less screentime. Diana herself is shown to be strong capable and - for a woman who grew up on a remote island far removed from American values - streetwise. She no longer has to send Steve away or get kidnapped in order to change into Wonder Woman. In fact she's falling back on her Amazonian alter ego at times when it seems the new Diana Prince could just as easily handle stuff.

    Certainly, a trait in the first few Lansbury episodes was that Wonder Woman became more showy, seemingly just for the hell of it. In a couple of episodes, Diana would get a call from Steve and, rather than getting into her car or hopping into a cab, would change into costume, leap out of her apartment window (secret identity suicide if you ask me) and boing her way across town, leaping over hedges and fountains for no real reason at all. Adding insult to injury, the same footage was recycled.

    This has calmed down a bit in the last few episodes, though Diana still seems to underestimate her own abilities and relies on WW to get the job done.

    The episodes are becoming a little more watchable, though still something of a Curate's egg.

    After the juvenile high jinks, Light-Fingered Lady had a fairly substantial plot involving Diana posing as a burglar to infiltrate - and bust - a burglary ring. It felt like it could have been any cop show from that era, which is a double-edged sword. It felt more grown up, more watchable and far less dated than the episodes preceding it. But the payoff was that it also felt a little generic. Overall, though, it was good to be able to get invested in a plot. And we got to see the Wonder Wetsuit again!

    The tone for Screaming Javelin was set in the cold opening. Henry Gibson against a blue screen pretending to parachute into America while talking to nobody in particular about his plans of world domination and revenge against Diana Prince and shrieking with manic laughter. Subtle stuff.

    In truth, Screaming Javelin was hugely enjoyable because of Gibson's OTT performance. His character, Mariposa would feel right at home in the Adam West Batman series alongside King Tut, The Bookworm and their ilk. Mariposa's plan is to steal the world's top athletes and force them to perform on behalf of his micronation. And Gibson gives it his all.

    Here's a typical Mariposa scene, which will give a flavour of the episode:



    Mariposa feels like something of an attempt to give WW an arch nemesis. Diana even mentions his apparent demise at the end of their "last little encounter", suggesting they'd met before (and making me think for a few moments I'd missed an episode). There's even a hint that he would return when he disappears from the trap WW has put him in and we hear his laughter echoing. All in all, he's a nice addition to the series. One that's reminiscent of some of WW's more way out adversaries from her adventures in the mid-Twentieth century. It's a shame this is his only appearance.

    Lest we forget, Gibson was in The New, Original WW pilot episode in a different role. Whether it's by design or accident, Mariposa spends much time looking at a large globe that almost dwarfs him (after his anger at the way his country is ignored, we see he has stuck his own cutout of it onto the globe) which is reminiscent of his scenes as Nikolas in TNOWW where he cowered by the globe in Nazi headquarters.

    The other thing this episode is notable for is featuring a young Rick Springfield, amid his tour of the teen shows. Here's a very sweaty young Rick being given words of wisdom from Wonder Woman herself:




    Diana's Disappearing Act also had a supervillain type in Cagliostro (heavily implied to be the original alchemist from the 18th Century), but feels more workaday in its approach.


    As far as Diana's rapidly forgotten Amazon heritage, it's worth noting that she mentions her mother in Screaming Javelin (apparently that's who taught her to throw two javelins at once - a trick she uses here to entrap Mariposa). For the first time in these episodes I also noticed Diana has a pair of busts (oo-er missus). They're in her apartment, near her doorway and appear to be Greco-Roman. It's a nice little touch.
     
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  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    DEATH IN DISGUISE / IRAC IS MISSING / FLIGHT TO OBLIVION / SÉANCE OF TERROR

    Oh boy. Two consecutive episodes heavily featuring the flashing, talking computer IRAC. Could it get any worse?

    Yes, apparently. Because the second episode signals the death clang for the entire series by introducing what is possibly the single most irritating aspect of the entire series: Rover the robot dog.

    [​IMG]


    It roams the corridors making Road Runner sounds. Not just something similar, but actual, honest to goodness Road Runner "meep meep"s. But more on that particular creation later.

    The first of the episodes has that memorable cold opening of the woman with five o'clock shadow arriving at a hotel and removing makeup and wig to reveal... she's a man in disguise. Intentionally or not, it's amusingly silly. More so because the character is dubbed with a very delicate feminine voice while in disguise. The character gets much screen time by infiltrating the IADC in said disguise in order to damage IRAC.

    Can we talk about IRAC itself. It keeps changing from episode to episode. Not only the voice, but the actual computer used. Usually it has all these diodes, each bulb flashing in a random order as it speaks. In a couple of non-consecutive episodes it's appeared a bit more futuristic and less obviously individual bulbs by having some kind of screen over it. Nobody's commented on the reason for it, so I suppose we're not meant to notice.

    In addition to Rover, the IRAC Is Missing episode had a whole room full of stolen computers, including the master criminal's robot assistant:

    [​IMG]

    Can you tell it's a lady robot?! :D

    Naturally, said assistant turned on her master by helping out Wonder Woman and IRAC. I swear I could hear the criminal silently vowing to just get a blow-up doll next time.

    There's a dramatic-but-improbable moment where WW has to travel 40+ miles in something like 4 minutes in order to stop a device that will ruin the IADC.

    Now, anyone who's been paying attention would smile knowingly as the criminal gloated that she'd never make it, knowing that she can summon her invisible jet at will which has already proved to be quicker than conventional aircraft.

    But no... in the Lansbury era we're ignoring anything related to the comics. So Wonder Woman seems to forget she has the plane and instead decides to run, and boing her way to her destination. It seems like a scene to show how fast and powerful she is. But since, you know... plane, she just appears to be creating an unnecessary amount of work and, frankly, showboating.

    On the plus side, Death In Disguise did feature a Melrose-type moment where Diana removed the villain's wig:

    [​IMG]

    But what really made the episode for me was a scene between Joel Fabiani and Lee Bergere. It blew my mind a little to see the future King Galen and Joseph Anders plotting together. No doubt Alexis would have blanched had she seen them comparing notes.

    The latter two episodes, thankfully, were a step up. Flight To Oblivion was a little nostalgic, with Steve and Diana both in uniformed disguise on an Air Force base and drawing parallels with the WWII-set ABC episode in which... Steve and Diana were on an Air Force base. Diana was far less nostalgic than I was as the show is way beyond referring to those earlier episodes by this point. In fact it actively avoids it. It did, however, continue the trend last seen in the Mariposa episode where the villain of the piece was mentioned to have had a previous run-in with the IADC where he appeared to be killed.

    Said villain - a master hypnotist - was disguising himself as the manager of a band: The Hull City Howlers (way ahead of their time with Hull being 2017 City Of Culture). Now, I was hoping to hear some American actors attempting to sound like they're from East Riding. Sadly, it wasn't the case. There wasn't a bad British regional accent to be heard.

    The Séance episode featured WW bonding with a kiddie with super powers. Not the last time it would be seen here. The bonding with kiddie thing goes back to the Von Gunther episode, of course, but here - if memory serves - it is a harbinger of what's ahead for a large part of the run. It's fun for young viewers to have a young character they can attach themselves to as an outlet. Unfortunately, it's also quite tedious for older viewers.
     
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  10. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    I didn't until I read this part :D
     
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  11. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I didn't notice when watching the episode, so perhaps it was tastefully filmed. :p It was only when I saw this picture that I wondered if the props guys were feeling playful or having a bit of a laugh.

    Maybe it was done to wind Lynda Carter up. Not only are the boobs even firmer than hers... they light up.
     
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  12. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    :floor::floor::floor:
     
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  13. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    THE MAN WHO WOULDN'T TELL / THE GIRL FROM ILANDIA / THE MURDEROUS MISSILE

    Each of the three different in tone to the next. Each enjoyable in their own way.

    The Man Who Wouldn't Tell had a nice stooge in Alan - played by M*A*S*H's Radar - Gary Burghdoff who kept the episode watchable and had some funny moments. Miami Vice's Phillip Michael Thomas also appeared as a suited arch villain. It wasn't hugely memorable, but not an unpleasant way to spend an hour.

    The Ilandia episode was a twist on that Wonder Woman staple: the kiddie of the week episode. The twist being that the girl was from another dimension. And super powered. It wasn't terrible, but it did drag a bit in places. In one scene we were subjected to about five minutes of the girl finding a lost dog on a beach and calling it over to her. In another, Wonder Woman took it upon herself to train her new protégé, leading to about ten minutes of them taking it in turns to do mid-air somersaults or twist metal rods that were conveniently lying about the place. More than anything else, these scenes served to remind me that Drusilla has now been retconned out of continuity. It was a pleasant surprise that the ending wasn't an entirely happy one. I suspect there may have been a sequel episode mooted. Either way, the loose ends are almost satisfying here.

    The Murderous Missile is an episode I have memories of watching when I was young (it may have been a repeat in the mid-Eighties). For some reason, the scene where Diana is about to drink the drugged tea before she is warned has always stuck in my memory. The actual missile stuff is slightly boring, but mercifully brief. For most of the episode, the weird small town stuff is great. It's all clearly a film set on a lot, but no less enjoyable for it and has a nice tone to it. There are great character actors everywhere you look. The future Ted Dinard from Dynasty is among them. There are a couple of nice twists with friends turning out to be enemies and vice versa. Any episode that starts with Diana getting carjacked and then develops into her building a bond with her carjacker, eventually discovering he's the only person who is on her side is worthwhile. Plus this episode introduces a new twist on the outfit: the Wonder Biker costume.

    [​IMG]



    The sets have been hilarious this season. Pretty much every other episode has ended with Wonder Woman bursting into the same (redressed) set which is a round, industrial room with a balcony going round it. Then she's shot at before leaping down fro the balcony and throwing the bad guys round. The set in which Diana is offered the drugged tea in The Murderous Missile is identical to the house she visited in the Séance episode. Everything is in the same place. They just threw in a switchboard in the middle of the room to suit the plot. I love how economical Warner shows were at the time. It's quite charming.
     
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  14. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    MY TEENAGE IDOL IS MISSING

    Season Three begins with a reasonably lengthy, Diana-free cold opening in which Leif Garrett is kidnapped. Except he's not actually Leif Garrett. Rather than playing himself, Leif is playing another teen pop idol with a twin brother. His kidnap is witnessed by an annoyingly pushy fan, Whitney, who has snuck up to his hotel suite (her first appearance on screen made ma laugh - she has the same purposeful march as Charlene Tilton).

    Anyway, Whitney - through perseverance and a sense of entitlement that won't quit - convinces Diana to investigate. Even though nobody else really knows Leif has been kidnapped because the Leif Lite has replaced him. But then they attend his concert and the screaming fans turn on Leif Lite during his first number because he lip syncs badly. "These kids don't hand over a month's allowance just to see him move his lips", observes Whitney shrewdly. One wonders what this group would have done to Milli Vanilli.

    Fortunately, Leif Lite soothes the savage, beastly crowd with a ballad. Seems singing/songwriting runs in the family. And once WW and her bossy little helper have saved the day, they all attend a double-Leif concert. Leif and Leif Lite both lip sync, but nobody seems to mind this time, so all's well that ends well (spot the continuity error with Leif Lite's vest):





    I discovered something while researching the rather precocious actress who played Whitney. This is Dawn Lyns's final acting credit of about thirty shows going back to almost a decade earlier (she'd have been about fifteen in the WW episode) Seems she was a child actor who quit the business early on (or perhaps it quit her). Also of interest is that her brother was a child star alongside her who grew up to be something of a teen sensation. And her brother? He's one Leif Garrett. Makes the crush she has on him in this episode a little awkward.

    This is the episode that introduces Johnny Harris's funky new arrangment to the main title themes. It was always my favourite version - mostly because it's the one I grew up anticipating every week. And it still sounds great. The second version of the Season Two theme has really grabbed me this time round though. I'm looking forward to hearing clean versions of both when my WW CD arrives.

    Having just watched the whole of Season Two, the new title sequence does look quite busy in comparison. There are lots more quick cuts and short flashes of different scenes. And Rover the dog is now included in it.

    The WW biker costume made a second appearance in this episode. Part of the fun of this season is looking forward to the alternative costumes.
     
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  15. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

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    I often find the choice of character names intriguing. Was this name in the script before Burghoff was cast or is it a nod to his M*A*S*H co-star Alan Alda, I wonder.
     
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  16. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My WW soundtrack CD arrived yesterday - signed by both Charles Fox and Johnny Harris:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    With almost four hours of music, I haven't had the chance to listen to it all yet. But what I have heard (the entire first disc and highlights from the other two) sounds incredibly good. It just sparkles and has brought new lustre to the show for me. ​
     
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  17. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    HOT WHEELS / THE DEADLY STING / THE FINE ART OF CRIME / DISCO DEVIL / FORMICIDA / TIME BOMB

    It's quite a few years since I last watched this show, but the overall feeling I gained from the last time round was that the series declined into juvenile pap during the third season.

    Fortunately, that hasn't been the case this time. Not entirely anyway. Each episode has its share of saccharine - mostly courtesy of IRAC and Rover. But it hasn't ruined my viewing this season. Indeed, Season Three so far has been more consistently enjoyable to watch than most of Season Two.

    The half dozen episodes listed above can generally be grouped into consecutive pairs. The first two were very surprising in feeling quite sophisticated in their plotting and (for the most part) execution. Ok - they're slightly generic late-Seventies episodic crime-fighting fare, but none the worse for it. Thing took a dip with the middle two episodes. Fine Art had Roddy MacDowall back as a different character from that in his Volcanoes episode, but one that's at least as OTT. The story and some of the setups felt like they were straight out of Sixties Batman. I wouldn't be in a hurry to watch it again, but it had its moments. Disco Devil too, was a bit naff, but had some memorable moments. The scene where Diana uses her bracelet to cut the glass mirror and escape is etched into my memory banks from watching it as a five or six year old, so it certainly made an impression on me back then.





    Formicida and Time Bomb are two favourites. Certainly the best two of the season so far and two of the better episodes of the entire run. Formicida isn't exactly a challenging or complex story, but the biggest draw is finally seeing Wonder Woman come up against a genuine super villain which has rarely happened in this show.

    Wonder Woman needs some female arch villains. Certainly early on in the series it was established that Amazonian philosophy considers women to be superior to men. On that basis, what could be a bigger challenge to Diana than tackling another super powered woman. Apart from Season One's Fausta Grables, this is about the only time that happened. This is quite reminiscent of some of those Season One episodes in that Wonder Woman ends up bonding with the misunderstood woman and convincing her to go straight. It all fits in perfectly with the tone of early WW comics and the sense that Diana would want to save a fallen woman... because she's worth it. The fight with Stella Stevens in the Pilot has spoilt me, because compared with that scene the battles with Formicida are quite tame. There's no knockout punch or pushing each other through glass doors and over tables. With the stricter censorship around violence, there isn't really any punching or even slapping here. Instead, there's the now standard WW fight etiquette of throwing the opponent round - usually into some empty cardboard boxes. But by Season Three standards it's as good as it gets.

    It occurred to me while watching this time round that Formicida's raison d'être as an ecological terrorist using force to get polluters of the planet to do the right thing foreshadows that of the second Cheetah who would appear in the comics a couple of years after this and become Wonder Woman's primary antagonist for half a dozen years until the Crisis hit DC. I can't help wondering if Debbi Domaine's origin was partly inspired by Formicida's.

    Time Bomb is perhaps of most interest to many as the infamous Joan Van Ark/Ted Shackelford episode. It's easy to see why they would be paired again come Knots Landing. The chemistry is really good here and both have great screen presence. I can never watch without thinking of Joan falling about laughing and saying that Ted looked like a big silver condom. And he kind of does. But he also does a pretty incredible thing in managing to work the skintight silver for all he's worth. I love how serious he is in his scenes, and one can easily imagine that there was a whole lot of howling laughter between takes. Ted is making a return visit here. Warner to like to recycle their actors in different roles, it seems. Here he's Adam - a new ally of Diana's from the future. And he falls for her. Even after he returns to the future, there's a hint that he and WW will have much to talk about in the year 2155.

    Joan is Adam's colleague Cassandra who wants to return to the late twentieth century motivated by greed. She's aware that the era to which she's escaping is one that offers the opportunity to become rich to those who fight for it. And she's done her homework. With her eyes on the target, she'll charm anyone and use any knowledge she can find to make lots of money. And part of the offensive involves using Shackelford, tapping into what he has to offer and then moving on. Basically, this is Joan Van Ark playing Abby Ewing.

    Also of note to Knots fans: while Joan and Ted have the entire cold opening together and a few scenes early and late in the episode, most of Joan's scenes in the middle part of the episode are shared with Allan Miller: Knots Landing's Scooter Warren. Somewhere out there, a young Laura Avery is rolling her eyes.

    This episode would have been filmed in late '78, and if memory serves the Pilot for Knots was shot in spring of '79. It's probably a safe bet to assume the onscreen chemistry between Van Ark and Shackelford in Time Bomb helped convince the powers that be when it came to recasting Gary for the new series.

    The characters being from the future brings a sense of fun, and watching it some decades later adds layers to that. Adam scoffs at IRAC being a quaint antique, just as a viewer in 2017 would. He also casually mentions the nuclear holocaust which happened in 2007 to a horrified Diana.

    I don't know if the Knots angle is what makes this so enjoyable of if it's enjoyable simply because it has great actors doing good things with what is at times some pretty poor material. Not being one to look gift horses in the mouth, I'm simply going to go on enjoying it.
     
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  18. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Not being too au fait with M*A*S*H, I hadn't noticed this. That's quite intriguing.

    It makes me smile that Shackelford's character in Time Bomb was called Adam Clement, which is very close indeed to Val's maiden name on Knots. Given the timing I'd have to assume this was a complete coincidence, but you never know.
     
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  19. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh - and one little note: The title sequence for Time Bomb was strange. The clips were shown in a different order for the first half of the theme, but the sound effects were kept the same, which means they didn't match up with the images on-screen and were even more irritating than usual. Very odd indeed.
     
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  20. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    SKATEBOARD WIZ / THE DEADLY DOLPHIN / STOLEN FACES / POT OF GOLD / GAULT'S BRAIN

    It's funny the snippets of TV shows that linger in the collective memory. Why some of them are significant enough to remain while other scenes quickly fade who knows. From watching Season Three as a nipper there are a few little flashes that have never left me. Some seemed clever (cutting the mirror with her bracelet in Disco Devil); some daring (leaping from a particularly tall building in one of the last episodes). Some unusual (a scene in Amazon Hot Wax where Diana is walking from her car to the building in the rain probably stayed with me because rain was so rarely seen in the show. I suspect it hadn't occurred to my very young self that it ever rained in America). And some seemed shocking (Diana being forced into a torpedo launch chute; or tied to a car in a garage in an attempt to gas her. Then there was a car smashing into Diana's car at the end of one of the two parters. It was probably my first experience of a cliffhanger. Up to that point, every TV show I'd watched had been neatly resolved by the end credits. A week is a very long time to wait for someone who hasn't long started primary school).

    And then there's The Deadly Dolphin scene in which WW changes into her aqua suit to fight off a shiver of sharks that are threatening a friendly dolphin. Which seemed so exciting to my young self.

    How different it can be watching a scene that's flashed through your memory for decades. This time round it was pretty underwhelming with some daft, drawn on effects. In my mind's eye the shiver of sharks is made up of fearsome Great Whites. The sharks onscreen were a little lower down the food chain (though still not ideal swimming companions). Though the kid in me still cheers internally when WW changes into one of her alternative ensembles. Back then, that was enough. But the story in this episode is very thin and puerile. It doesn't help at all that part of the episode seems to have been filmed at evil SeaWorld and features captive dolphins and orcas performing on cue. It's quite an uncomfortable watch from that perspective, though perhaps historically interesting. The "bad guys" in this episode steal a dolphin away from captivity (OK - they want to blow it up too, but the people at SeaWorld don't know that and are more bothered that their cash cow "property" is gone).

    Gault's Brain is pretty terrible. There was a promising opening showing the wake of a dead man in an open coffin with a slow zoom in revealing a slice mark around the the top of his head where the top of his head had been removed. It was all rather dark and sinister. But then the action cut to his excised brain floating in a jar. Which I could buy but for the fact that it looks ridiculous - like one of those multi-coloured little rubber balls that used to bounce like nobodys business. And it has a huge eye poking up from it on a stem. And it's animated - the strings can clearly be seen all the way through.

    [​IMG]


    Oh - and worst of all: it speaks. I mean - it uses actual words. Lots of them. Usually followed by a "mwaaaaah ha haaaa" laugh. The whole way through the episode.

    Which is a shame, because apart from the execution, the idea of a dying old man arranging for a twisted doctor to remove the brain of a healthy, living, unwilling young man so that he can insert the dead old man's brain in order for him to be fit enough to carry out his plans and to sexually satisfy his young, female lover is pretty good. I especially love how twisted the relationship with his lover is. It's made very clear that she has picked this handsome young athlete to be the subject because she wants his body. Even the doctor performing the surgery seems to be tacitly attracted to the young man, marvelling at his perfection and unnecessarily brushing his arm:

    [​IMG]


    Said doctor is played by Dynasty's Andrew Laird. Here he's called - what else - Dr. Crippen!

    If it weren't for the parts with the rubber brain, this would be a damned good episode. As it is, the most noteworthy thing was a line that in retrospect is perhaps a little amusing. Observing the hunky men floating about the dead man's lover, Diana asked what it was all about and was told they were interviewing bodyguards. Diana later casually asked Steve "Do all bodyguards need to look like Bruce Jenner?"

    The episode also features a Season Three trope - Diana changing into Wonder Woman in an unusual way. This time she was gassed (for the umpteenth time) and locked in a barrel which was thrown into a body of water. Fortunately, the barrel rolled down in such a way it brought on a Wonder Spin.

    Diana wore a silver cross for part of the episode. Interesting considering she was born before Christ is said to have been.


    Skateboard Wiz had a great soundtrack and, I'm happy to say, features on the CD. It's a perfectly watchable, if ultimately inconsequential episode. The biggest news here was the debut (and perhaps the only appearance) of Wonder Woman's skateboard chick combo:

    [​IMG]

    Now I know the series is filmed in California, but what is it with Diana flying to California in pretty much every episode? She's never in Washington anymore. Her apartment is barely - if ever - seen. She is at least appearing at the IADC regularly, but that only raises further questions about how she manages to bounce around between locations - especially as her invisible plane has long gone.


    Pot Of Gold opened with a shot of London Bridge (a little eerie considering it was the first episode I watched after the events of the weekend) and had some little touches that amusingly show how there was no actual location work done. Such as the dodgy attempt at a RADA accent coming from the tannoy in the internal scenes which were supposedly Heathrow airport. Or Wonder Woman pursuing a plane on the runway of "Heathrow" - with Californian hills clearly showing in the background. To be air, she did drive a right-hand drive vehicle - a gorgeous MGB roadster. But I did spot that it wasn't displaying a tax disc. Maybe as an ambassador she didn't need one. ;)

    I was expecting the worst for this episode, but it turned out to be quite enjoyable as the annual seasonal episode.

    It was good to see Dick O'Neill - Chris Cagney's father - doing his thing here.

    I've already forgotten most of Stolen Faces, but it's more because it was fairly low key. At this point, any episode where I can't remember something particularly silly happening has to be a good one.
     
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