So why use this version of Wonder Woman to discuss the planned NBC TV series? Because that’s pretty much what we’re getting.
In an article at Deadline|Hollywood (credit to Four Color Media Monitor), there’s a report that NBC has picked up the rights to a new live-action version of Wonder Woman. However, forget the Amazon princess you’ve known in every other show, including the original TV movie with Cathy Lee Crosby, if memory serves correctly) despite dropping the classic outfit. This Wonder Woman is under the thumb of David E. Kelley. Because when I think Wonder Woman, I think quirky legal drama.
Wait, no I don’t.
WBTV took Kelley’s Wonder Woman spec out to the networks in the first week of January. At the time, NBC was the most interested but, with Greenblatt still on the sidelines, the network couldn’t commit to the type of license fee that the studio was seeking in order to do the show Kelley had envisioned, and WBTV decided to shelve the project. With Greenblatt now firmly taking the reins and Kelley just delivering one of the most promising new series for NBC this season, Harry’s Law, NBC stepped up to greenlight Wonder Woman.
According to this article and the one linked to in the paragraph above, we learn Kelley wants to do a “modern take” on Princess Diana. So what does he consider a modern take? Do you know Kelley’s credits?
The project is described as a reinvention of the iconic D.C. comic in which Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.
You had me scared at “reinvention”. That never goes well for replicating the source material. See also Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, the Bionic Woman, the Phantom and the recent Flash Gordon TV shows. (We could also get into The Last Phantom, but I didn’t really read enough of Aarden’s Flash Gordon comic to make a judgment call.) I also need to address the two concerns Ari had.
What does this mean then? That it’ll jettison the Greek mythology elements in favor of something formulaic? I can believe she could work as a corporate executive, but if this turns out to be yet another dumbing down of the source material, then it’ll probably be shrugged off as just another run-of-the-mill adventure.
I again go to The Bionic Woman or even Knight Rider, where the scope was actually too big, but Kelley isn’t known for that kind of writing or creating. The closest thing that I’ve heard of would be the American version of Life On Mars, but even that is rather low-key compared to a properly done Wonder Woman story. This is a woman who fought Nazis. They should be sending her against al-Qaeda or something, or battling monsters in service to the Greek Gods (except for Ares, because he’s pretty much evil in most media, and Hera who was pretty much evil in the myths if you ask me–then again Wonder Woman’s expletive was “Great Hera”), not battling gangbangers or the kind of guys the Cape (speaking of NBC superheroes) deal with.
And what if that jeans-jacket costume recently used in the comics turns out to be just something the producers of the proposed new TV series can build off of? All that’ll tell is that they don’t have the brains to think of these things themselves while shoving something uninspired on the original comics.
If you think this unlikely, I point you to Lois and Clark, where they forced DC to speed up their plans for the Kents’ wedding in the comics because the show producers felt it had to be done “now” and to hell with when the comics were going to do it, or even the old Batman series who wanted Alfred back despite the character having been killed off (as usual, he got better, but it wasn’t as cliché back then). DC is apparently not willing to stand up to Hollywood. (Even Shazam! altered the comic format to reflect the Filmation TV show.) At least Marvel tends to let them do whatever while keeping the comics intact.
So yeah, not to many high hopes, but least we have a real Wonder Woman series to look back on.
For more on how Wonder Woman SHOULD be done, check out Bluefall’s excellent “When Wonder Woman Was Awesome” article series.