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WONDER WOMAN
Season Three

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner
Directors:  Various
Audio:  Dolby Digital Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Warner Bros.
Features:  Episode Commentary, Featurette
Length:  1137 Minutes
Release Date:  June 6, 2005

"You are most DEFINITELY female."

"Since birth."

Shows ***1/2

The final season of Wonder Woman has arrived on DVD, and I approached it with both appreciation and sadness.  I loved the show in my youth and continue to do so as an adult.  I was kind of heartbroken back in the day when I first learned the plug had been pulled on the show because I thought it had a lot more to offer and plenty of territory left unexplored.  Reliving season three in its entirety reminded me of that.  If only the powers that were had a little more faith in the show and realized what a solid fan base it actually had.  But no magic lasso could change their minds, and so our heroine's glory was painfully short lived.

But those three years were enough to ensure immortality for the radiant Lynda Carter, who embodied the role so perfectly no modern audience can think of Wonder Woman without picturing her.  The potential new feature film may add a new chapter to the ongoing saga, but nothing can take away the legacy Ms. Carter carved out for herself and for the character.

This was Wonder Woman's second year of adventures in modern times, and the comfort level in bringing her, Diana Prince and Steve Trevor (Waggoner) up to date was apparent.  There was a confidence about that last year that the creators had really found a new and exciting niche for them, and that they were starting to explore the possibilities with fresh ideas and a great sense of fun.

The year's opener "My Teenage Idol is Missing" is a perennial fan favorite, as it brought Wonder Woman together with then mega-heartthrob Leif Garrett, who turned in a nice performance in dual roles as a pop star and his unknown, shier twin brother.  In it, our leading lady foils a rather dastardly kidnapping plot in which Garrett is held for ransom for...TWO million dollars (pardon me while I press my pinky to my lips a la Dr. Evil).

But many more of the series' best episodes took flight in the last year.  In "Disco Devil", Diana meets up with a pair of unusual men who are capable of stealing the memories of others; one good, one very bad.  "Time Bomb" features Knots Landing stars Ted Shackleford and Joan Van Ark as travelers from the future; HE has to stop HER from changing the course of history!  "Stolen Faces" has Wonder Woman facing off against a master makeup artist, who intends to use her to carry off his biggest heist.  And our heroine faces her most unusual enemy in "Gault's Brain"...sing it with me now:  "He....ain't got no body..."

"Amazon Hot Wax" is a personal favorite of mine, because in it, we get to hear the lovely Ms. Carter sing as Diana poses as an up and coming artist to infiltrate a crime ring centered around a recording studio.  It also was one of the few real hints at a possible love story for our leading lady...but sadly, as always, she headed off into the sunset alone.

But of the 24 episodes, the final ones were the finest, meaning that Wonder Woman exited at the top of her game.  The two-part "The Boy Who Knew Her Secret" seemed to set up a future for the character that would never play out, as Diana Prince was to be transferred permanently to Los Angeles.  But in this adventure, she stumbles upon an out-of-this-world plot where extraterrestrial beings are converging on a small town in hopes of capturing an intergalactic murderer. 

"The Man Who Could Not Die" brought Wonder Woman together with the man who might have been her perfect mate:  a guy who, thanks to an experimental serum, became invulnerable.  He and our heroine are the only two people who can truly understand how the other feels, and as we last see him joining the IADC, we're left wondering what kind of stories might have played out for them.

I have a feeling that one was meant to be the last episode of the year...Diana had completed her West Coast move, and Steve Trevor was no more (Lyle Waggoner's credit was even gone).  But the season actually ended on another great two-parter, "The Phantom of the Roller Coaster".  Diana is inexplicably back in Washington, and Steve is suddenly back, but no matter.  The story, which involves a kind but disfigured man living under an amusement park, is truly wonderful, and the show (and therefore, the series) ended on one of the most beautifully emotional notes imaginable.

As usual, the show was peppered with great guest stars.  Some of them, like Ted Shackleford, Roddy McDowall, Eric Braeden and Rick Springfield made return engagements.  Others, like Craig T. Nelson, Judge Reinhold, Sarah Purcell and Dick Butkus joined in the fun for the first time.

If we could have only gotten more...I can never relive these shows without imagining many possible storylines for Wonder Woman, but sadly, those episodes will only ever play out in my mind.  Everything about that last year just seemed to click, and there's no doubt Diana, Steve and Wonder Woman could have done much more.

Oh, well...I guess I'll have to go back to wondering what kind of secret agents Steve Trevor and the IADC employees were supposed to be when they never could figure out Diana Prince was Wonder Woman...she didn't even wear her glasses much that last year!  Was that the first sign that our country had problems in the intelligence community? 

Video ***1/2

Looking good...Wonder Woman goes out in style with some pretty solid transfers from Warner Bros.  The colors on season three look more vibrant than ever, and detail level is quite sharp.  Much less noticeable grain this time around. 

Audio **

The stereo mixes continue to do the trick...not a lot of dynamic range, but clear dialogue, good effects and the always terrific music are a definite plus.

Features **

There are two basic extras with the disc...the first is a commentary by Lynda Carter on the season's first episode "My Teenage Idol is Missing".  Her thoughts and memories are warm toward the show, her co-star (whose name she pronounces like "life" instead of "layf", and claims it's the correct way), even if the track is a bit sparse from time to time.  A new featurette "Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Feminist Icon" has interviews with Ms. Carter and some of the women who have written for and about Wonder Woman over the years.  I was hoping the studio might include the original little-seen pilot with Cathy Lee Crosby as an extra, but it was not to be.

And...if you act quickly, there is a limited edition disc included that features one episode from another 70s superhero program, Shazam!  That show was cheesy beyond belief...I loved it!

Summary:

She may be off the screen, but she's never out of our hearts.  Wonder Woman remains a favorite among TV fans, and she certainly saved her best stuff for last, even if she departed way too soon.  For those of us still loyal to the program after 25 years, she'll always be a wonder.

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