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

Mel O'Drama

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I actually took a look on Wikipedia one time. It was in the production notes but it was very late and I might’ve read it wrong lol.

Oh, I'm sure the numbers change all the time depending who edits it at what time. They do give an idea, at least. I mean, we can see it wasn't a top ten show.



BW was definitely the better show despite their similarities. I probably felt much differently about this at one time but looking back on it now it’s hard not to agree.

Somehow The Bionic Woman passed me by when I was young. I knew of the character, and I even had some of her annuals, but the series itself eluded me. Perhaps it was shown (or repeated) at a time when I was doing or watching something else.

Watching the series in full a few years ago, I thought it was really impressive for the time. Wonder Woman can be hard-going in repeats at times, but BW was very watchable indeed for a good part of its run.. But I won't ramble on about that here as I've already done that in this thread.

Wonder Woman hits the nostalgia button for me in a way that BW simply can't, but I think BW has more substance and nuance.




Wow, that is early! I didn’t realize how early it aired over there. That’s quite a difference.

Now I found the site with the dates and times, I've actually spent a few hours exploring the series' original transmission dates in Britain. It looked something like this:

Jul-Dec 1978 - Saturdays - mostly airing around 6pm
These were 10 Season Two episodes (mostly post-Bruce Lansbury revamp era) beginning with The Man Who Could Move The World. One extra S2 episode went out at 4:10pm on 23rd December.


January-May 1979 - Fridays - mostly airing around 7pm
A few previously unaired early-S2 episode plus later episodes - mostly from S3. My part of the UK had different Friday programming, showing only 12 of these 16 episodes at around 4pm on a Sunday instead.


Saturday - January -May 1980 - mostly at 5:50pm.
A random S2 episode, followed by most remaining S3 episodes.


Tuesday 17th June at 7pm
The Boy Who Knew Her Secret debuted as a one-off "special feature-length programme"


Thursday January 1st 1981 at 6pm
Finally saw the debut of the S2 opener The Return Of Wonder Woman (better late than never).



I'm not sure if the first season was ever shown in full on British terrestrial TV, though I can remember The New, Original Wonder Woman being shown as a standalone feature a couple of times during the Eighties and Nineties.





It would be interesting to see what the ratings were like in the UK compared to here. I wonder if the show did fair any better with that early of a slot.

Yes, I'd love to know the ratings. I'll have to do a little digging.

What I can say is that probably most people in Britain knew of the series, the character and Lynda Carter. I'm sure her appearance on a cover would have sold many magazines at the time. So it did make a huge impact in the British consciousness, even if not everyone watched it.
 

Crimson

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Out of curiosity (and in case I end up doing this) I couldn't resist putting together an alphabetical list of episodes, and coding them by season.

James' alphabetical adventures were with serialized dramas, I believe. I wonder how much difference in would make with the decidedly non-serialized WONDER WOMAN. Other than the shift between the 40s and 70s, was there any development of characters or plots between episodes? From the little I've seen as an adult, it seemed firmly episode-of-the-week.


I was surprised that it mentioned the second and third seasons having "very poor ratings" since I got the sense the series was pretty much a phenomenon all the way through. It was certainly very popular with me and among my contemporaries at primary school.

I would imagine Lynda, being beautiful and likable, was a phenomenon with magazine covers and guest appearances on other shows, but even at its peak WONDER WOMAN was no more than a mild success. Of course there's not always a correlation between ratings and cultural impact. The original STAR TREK was a middling success and the '66 BATMAN was more of a flash-in-the-pan than sustained hit.
 

Mel O'Drama

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James' alphabetical adventures were with serialized dramas, I believe. I wonder how much difference in would make with the decidedly non-serialized WONDER WOMAN. Other than the shift between the 40s and 70s, was there any development of characters or plots between episodes?

This is a fair point. WW was pretty much episodic.

The period change between the first and second seasons would be the key piece of continuity which required an in-canon explanation, but there were also a number of tweaks to the format which I suppose today may be called "soft reboots" today. The most notable of these were the mid-S2 changes when Bruce Lansbury took over and shook up the cast and format, and in one of the final episodes where Diana moved cities and Lyle Waggoner was dropped altogether.

Despite the lack of serialisation I've always felt that the series gently evolved as it went along, probably best embodied by Diana Prince becoming increasingly glamorous until by series' end she was practically Lynda Carter (and certainly didn't look very well disguised considering Prince was the alter-ego). I'd be curious to see if this kind of evolution is more noticeable if watched out of sequence, and if there touches in late Season Three that would have been very out of place or out of character in early Season Two.
 

DallasFanForever

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Oh, I'm sure the numbers change all the time depending who edits it at what time. They do give an idea, at least. I mean, we can see it wasn't a top ten show.
No, it wasn’t, and again I see that surprises us both. Of course back then when we’re younger we really don’t pay attention to those kinds of things but I’m quite often finding myself surprised these days at how many shows I watched back then that I thought were hits, only to discover now that they never really were. Well, at least not ratings-wise anyway.


Somehow The Bionic Woman passed me by when I was young. I knew of the character, and I even had some of her annuals, but the series itself eluded me. Perhaps it was shown (or repeated) at a time when I was doing or watching something else.
Same here. It passed me by as well and I’m not sure why because it was definitely the type of show I would watch at the time. Only in recent years have I realized how truly underrated it was.


Wonder Woman can be hard-going in repeats at times
Conversely, it’s a show I look at now and ask why did I watch it back then? But then again I notice I’m saying that with a lot of shows I grew up with so that’s okay.


Wonder Woman hits the nostalgia button for me in a way that BW simply can't, but I think BW has more substance and nuance.
Maybe that’s the answer to my question. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia, which I’m an admitted sucker for. WW gives me more of that feeling, but putting them side by side I have to say BW was the better show. Now, if you ask me which one I’m going to look at random clips of, I’m picking WW. I find it the more entertaining of the two, but if I’m going to watch an entire episode looking for the better story then it’s BW.

Those time slots you posted are very interesting. Did a lot of these shows in general air that much earlier over there at the time or was it just a WW thing?
 

Mel O'Drama

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it’s a show I look at now and ask why did I watch it back then?

Given my young age and the fact that TV production values were generally so much lower then than now I can understand why I watched and enjoyed it. But I don't think it's dated that well, and I'm sure a young person watching the show for the first time today would find many elements of the series a bit laughable.



Maybe that’s the answer to my question. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia, which I’m an admitted sucker for.

Same here. I also think it still has a lot of things worth watching for - like the fashions, cars and music. Lynda Carter's performance is always enjoyable and there are some familiar faces among the guest cast.




WW gives me more of that feeling, but putting them side by side I have to say BW was the better show. Now, if you ask me which one I’m going to look at random clips of, I’m picking WW. I find it the more entertaining of the two, but if I’m going to watch an entire episode looking for the better story then it’s BW.

Oh yes - that sums it up nicely.




Those time slots you posted are very interesting. Did a lot of these shows in general air that much earlier over there at the time or was it just a WW thing?

Many series of this kind aired at earlier times. Dukes Of Hazzard, Knight Rider and The A-Team were all Saturday teatime kind of shows in the UK, airing at 5 or 6pm.

Even the soaps were generally earlier than I think they would have been in the States. For most of their runs here, Dallas, Dynasty, The Colbys and Falcon Crest aired around 8pm.
 

Mel O'Drama

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I'm also giving serious thought to replacing my DVDs with the Blu-ray set.

Well, my copy arrived a week or so ago. Despite the packaging being quite poor, I'm happy to say that mine arrived with the slipcase mostly undamaged, apart from a couple of small dings to the corners.


Some pictures of the Blu-ray set alongside the outgoing DVD set:










And here are some packaging comparisons in more detail (DVDs on the left; Blu-rays on the right):







Overall I'm happy with the new packaging.

The gatefold seasons inside the DVD set look nice and have lots of extra great artwork, plus episode information beyond just the titles, but they are prone to creasing and digipaks are never ideal with the risks to the discs themselves when taking out and putting back in. Looking at these pictures the edges of the DVD slipcase and the individual digipaks inside look very worn considering it's only been watched a couple of times (this set replaced a different DVD box-set with full-sized individual season sets inside) and I'm very careful with how I treat and store these.

I actually prefer the back of the Blu-ray set. Because of the lack of BBFC information, plus the smaller print being on the sleeve of the Amaray case rather than the slipcase, it looks more attractive and they've been able to make the text larger even though the surface area is smaller. Plus I far prefer the images from episodes rather than the thumbnails of covers from the three seasons. My main gripe relates to the booklet, which is just four sides and printed on poor quality paper stock. It doesn't feel it will last well at all. A decent booklet with more information about and images from the series would have made this feel more special and definitive.



I'm curious how it will compare with the DVD to my eyes.
Reviews suggest it's not perfect (a bit oversaturated here, a bit soft-looking there) but overall an improvement and probably as good as the series is going to look.

Well, it's good news here. Yes, the colours are extremely vibrant, especially compared directly with the DVDs. It's now far more vivid than how the series has ever looked and I would definitely have preferred this taken down to a less artificial-looking level. I assume someone just got the memo that this was taken from a comic and went full on pop art with the colours.

That's about the only complaint regarding the picture, though. The quality of the image itself is absolutely stunning. I've only skipped through and haven't yet watched an entire episode, but it looks rich and detailed without looking overly sharp. There's still a little grain and it largely looks era-appropriate.

More disappointing is the sound, which is mono. While it's probably no worse than the DVD audio, with the picture in high definition, it really jumps out that the sound... isn't. I can't imagine it would have been a huge undertaking to create a lossless audio for the soundtrack without compromising the authenticity of the era. I'm sure it's fine, once the ears adjust, but frankly it could have been much better in this regard.


On the subject of audio, one strange thing happened when I first tried the discs a week ago: the WB logo played fine on each disc as it loaded, but no matter which episode or disc I watched, there was a horrible screeching sound and the audio was inaudible. This then continued on a DVD I was watching and the only thing that eventually seemed to fix it was taking out the HDMi cable and re-attaching it. All the same, it took a week to work up the courage to try the WW Blu-rays in the player again. Very peculiar timing, but all seems well now and I hope it was just an anomaly.


Incidentally, I've noticed the running times are different:
  • DVD - 2855 mins
  • Blu-ray - 2950 mins
I assume the difference of 105 minutes is due to PAL speedup rather than any edits to the DVD episodes. Who'd have thought it would add up to two whole episodes' worth of time.



It appears that on the initial pressing of the BDs, Stella Stevens's credit was missing from The New, Original Wonder Woman.

I've checked the codes on the inner rings, and am pleased that Discs 1, 5, 7 and 8 are all the re-pressed versions which contain fixes to glitches found on earlier pressings of those discs. This makes my set as perfect as it's possible to get.

And of course the first thing I checked was that Stella's credit was present and correct.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Last night I watched this short video which nicely sums up what's great - and not so great - about the series. It also gives a brief overview of WW on television and film, from Who's Afraid Of Diana Prince? to Gal Gadot, but again does so through the prism of the series:


Throughout the first season, Diana takes on Nazi spies; Nazi saboteurs; Nazi sympathisers; Nazi apes; Nazi Brady; a Nazi Wonder Woman called Fausta; Nazis impersonating Wonder Woman. In fact, a whole lot of Nazis: Nazis; Nazis; Nazis.​
The second season - now entitled The New Adventures Of Wonder Woman - saw a pretty major retooling of the series for its move to CBS... The new season of Disco Wonder Woman would be set in the then-contemporary late-1970s. The show now felt like a lot of other action shows of the time, so the only main point of differentiation between Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman was that Diana wore a sparkly costume... Alas, most plots... wouldn't be that out of place in an episode of Charlie's Angels.
As the series progressed, you could feel the pinch of constant retooling... By the third season plots were focussed less and less on aliens and spies, and more and more on teenagers. The show was getting a nip here and a tuck there every few episodes.​
If Wonder Woman is wearing flat-heeled boots, it's an action sequence.​
 

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Throughout the first season, Diana takes on Nazi spies; Nazi saboteurs; Nazi sympathisers; Nazi apes; Nazi Brady; a Nazi Wonder Woman called Fausta; Nazis impersonating Wonder Woman.In fact, a whole lot of Nazis: Nazis; Nazis; Nazis.

At least the first season had some sense of focus with its emphasis on Nazi-smashing. If I ever progressed beyond a couple episodes, I think I would invariably become annoyed by perhaps the show's most glaring problem: the near total lack of Wonder Woman's rogue's gallery. Of Wonder Woman's comic book villains, I believe only Baroness von Gunther was ever used and only once. No Cheetah, no Circe, no Dr. Psycho, no Giganta, no Ares. While the show's budget -- which seemed to be about $32.17 an episode -- would have been an impediment, most of those characters could have been done economically. The FX standards of TV of the era were awfully low, after all.
 

Mel O'Drama

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I think I would invariably become annoyed by perhaps the show's most glaring problem: the near total lack of Wonder Woman's rogue's gallery. Of Wonder Woman's comic book villains, I believe only Baroness von Gunther was ever used and only once. No Cheetah, no Circe, no Dr. Psycho, no Giganta, no Ares.

Yes. The first season used a lot from the source material when it came to origins and characterisations, so it would have felt natural to include WW's villains in some form.



While the show's budget -- which seemed to be about $32.17 an episode -- would have been an impediment, most of those characters could have been done economically. The FX standards of TV of the era were awfully low, after all.

True. The series managed to include scenarios like alien invasions and time travel, as well as showing WW's own powers, so their own take on the rogue's gallery wouldn't have been too much of a stretch. I can see Doctor Psycho's hypnotism fitting into the series especially well. Circe's sorcery would have worked as well.

Instead we got Season Three's Formicida, who was daft fun but not exactly a classic WW villain.

Even the Cathy Lee Crosby film established an enmity between Diana and another Amazon which seemed to hint at a strong recurring antagonist.
 

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At least the first season had some sense of focus with its emphasis on Nazi-smashing. If I ever progressed beyond a couple episodes, I think I would invariably become annoyed by perhaps the show's most glaring problem: the near total lack of Wonder Woman's rogue's gallery. Of Wonder Woman's comic book villains, I believe only Baroness von Gunther was ever used and only once. No Cheetah, no Circe, no Dr. Psycho, no Giganta, no Ares. While the show's budget -- which seemed to be about $32.17 an episode -- would have been an impediment, most of those characters could have been done economically. The FX standards of TV of the era were awfully low, after all.
I'm not that familiar with the Wonder Woman comic but the same criticism can be made of the George Reeves Superman series. Instead of the comic book villains it was like 1940s gangster movies with the occasional mad scientist thrown in.
 

Crimson

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I'm not that familiar with the Wonder Woman comic but the same criticism can be made of the George Reeves Superman series. Instead of the comic book villains it was like 1940s gangster movies with the occasional mad scientist thrown in.

Yes, definitely. The 1950s SUPERMAN faced gangsters and I think the occasional mad scientist, but none of his comic book rogues gallery. In both cases, I don't know if this was lack of rights to use the characters, budget constraints or simply a lack of imagination.

So kudos to the 1960s BATMAN for fully embracing the comic book villains!
 

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Is there any way to watch this on streaming? Always heard good things about the Lynda Carter series, although Gal Gadot is my Wonder Woman as it stands at the moment.

Intrigued to check out James Gunn's upcoming Wonder Woman prequel series Paradise Lost whenever it is released.
 

Seaviewer

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This showed up on my YouTube feed the other day. Whoever put it together has a nice eye for matching scenes.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Whoever put it together has a nice eye for matching scenes.

They certainly do... and it probably helps that they have such a huge choice when it comes to scenes of WW being gassed or bound. ;)

This is great and very creative. I hope there's a follow-up.
 
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