'Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection' [Blu-ray]
(Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner, Tom Kratochvil, et al / 10-Disc Blu-ray / NR / (1975-1979) 2020 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: 'Wonder Woman,' the beloved 1970s live-action television series starring Lynda Carter, has been remastered and is coming to Blu-ray™ on July 28th, 2020.
Blu-ray Verdict: Save the world? That’s a man’s job! Then along comes star-spangled Wonder Woman with her bullet-deflecting bracelets and golden lariat to set everyone straight!
With Lynda Carter staring as the title character, Season One features adventures in Wonder Woman’s original World War II era, while Seasons Two and Three whoosh forward to the disco-loving ‘70s.
Times change. The need to smash evil, calamity and injustice does not!
In all truth, the stories of 'Wonder Woman' have always been a favorite of mine, despite the often weak stories and tongue-in-cheek sensibilities, of course.
It was just such a fun show, with a perfectly cast lead. Lynda carter wasn't likely to win any acting awards, sure, I'll grant you that, but she played the character straight and looked the part too.
She had great charisma and was fairly athletic (and had a great stunt double, as it has subsequently been revealed down the years) and looked fantastic on screen.
She made the rather ludicrous costume work, something other actors have struggled with in superhero movies and television.
Personally, I prefer the first season, set in the 1940's. Yes, it looked like a studio lot, but it was more interesting; like a view from another world.
Of course, a few anachronisms showed up in costuming, but nothing too jarring. The main plus was the Nazis as villains. This helped make up for the lack of real Wonder Woman villains, of which there were few exceptional ones in the comics.
As stated earlier, Lynda Carter was perfectly cast. She looked like the character, had a great figure (still does, too), and was gorgeous. That said, Lyle Waggoner made for a nice Steve Trevor, if a bit bland.
He was never that impressive as an actor and got by on looks, in my humble opinion. Carter wasn't an Emmy contender either, but she had a better handle on the material, as aforementioned.
It would have been nice to see a few more villains from the series, like Giganta or the Cheetah, but Fausta and Baroness Paula Von Gunther were fine; although the Baroness was rather weak, compared to the comic version from the 40's.
Fausta could have been used a few times before being reformed, but c'est la vie, as they say.
In my opinion, the series suffered when it was moved to the present (well, the '70s, as were). The concept seemed to work better in the 40's, and the villains were less impressive. Also, the wetsuit and skateboard costumes were just plain silly, sorry!
Add to that, Carter's confident performance did indeed have a great run on-screen, but as with all good things, it came to an end when they tried to relocate Wonder Woman to L.A., bring in an annoying kid character, and have her boss act just like the boss of Starsky and Hutch!
So, my own personal favorites episodes include the quite brilliant pilot ("The New Original Wonder Woman") and succeeding two specials (first three episodes) and the two-part "Feminum Mystique" (debut of Wonder Girl).
That said, there are some interesting facts to know and discover this original 'Wonder Woman' series. Such as in season two's "Mind Stealers From Outer Space" (two-parter), aside from the obvious 'Star Wars' "borrowing of scenery and theme, there's also stock footage from 'This Island Earth' (1955).
Also in season two's excellent "The Bermuda Triangle Crisis," they use stock footage of the submarine Seaview from 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' (1964-68) and in season three's brilliant "Time Bomb," where people from earth's future appear in the '70s, stock footage from the brilliant, and wholly under-rated 'Space 1999' (1974-77) is used.
And whilst I'm at it, season three's "The Boy Who Knew Her Secret" (two-parter) is actually rather a misleading episode title as this is way more about remaking 'Invasion Of The Body Snatchers' (1956).
So, I hear you ask, why the switch to crazy sci-fi episodes in Season 3? Well, the show got a new producer that year, Bruce Lansbury, who was known for a cult sci-fi series re: 'The Fantastic Journey' (1977).
He brought with him a new music composer, Richard LaSalle (ex-'Land Of The Giants'), and you could say that Lansbury and LaSalle turned the 'Wonder Woman' series upside down, I guess!
Simply put, these 'Wonder Woman' seasons one to three are a great way to introduce a whole new generation that wasn't born when the classic show first aired on ABC Saturday Nights, and CBS Friday Nights.
Indeed, 'Wonder Woman' is less on the level of the George Reeves 'Superman' and the Adam West 'Batman', and more on the level of some of the great '70s action adventures like 'Charlie's Angels' and 'Kojak'.
Every episode is original, and our comic book heroine battles foes from Nazis to domestic terrorists, to intergalactic criminals. This was one classic television program from back in the day that NEEDS a new generational audience and now out on remastered Blu-ray, I get the feeling it will.
Now remastered and coming to Blu-ray™ from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on July 28th, 2020, this excellent 'Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection' houses all three seasons of the great show and sets you up perfectly for the upcoming 'Wonder Woman 1984' (with Gal Gadot).
Oh, yeah, once last thing, for the film that follows that, Patty Jenkins, how about Lynda Carter as Hippolyta! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
The collection also includes such Bonus Features as Audio Commentary on the film pilot by Lynda Carter alongside executive producer Douglas S. Cramer, as well as Commentary by Carter on Season 3's premiere episode, "My Teenage Idol Is Missing."
There are also three featurettes: "Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective," "Revolutionizing a Classic: From Comic Book to Television" and "Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Feminist Icon."
Out of the three, my favorite is the expansive, 20 minute long "Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective", where even Carter herself admits that she doesn't think there's ever been anyone quite like Wonder Woman in the world!
It gets revealed, by the man himself, Executive Producer Douglas Kramer, that he went into the show with the reputation of being the "master of camp in Hollywood," which explains why as a kid at ABC (in the program department) his dream of putting a comic book on television soon came to fruition.
It brings us the facts of how 'Wonder Woman' (the TV show) originated from the comic books set in 1941, how they chose to push on through the male-dominated comic book and TV show era (Batman, Superman, et al) by determinedly bringing the female Wonder Woman to celluloid life, and even how Lynda Carter herself was chosen to play the lead role.
Oh, and how about this for a juicy factoid: William Moulton Marston, also known by the pen name Charles Moulton was an American psychologist who, with his wife Elizabeth Holloway, invented an early prototype of the lie detector -- he was also known as a self-help author and comic book writer who actually created the character of Wonder Woman!
The 'Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection' Blu-ray box set (USA $64.99 SRP, Canada $69.99 CAN) comes complete with all 59 episodes, plus the treasured pilot movie, across 10 discs.
'Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection' comes to Blu-ray on July 28th, 2020 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.