..

WONDER WOMAN
The Complete Second Season

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner
Producer:  Douglas S. Cramer
Audio:  Dolby Mono
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Warner Bros.
Features:  Bonus Documentary
Length:  1094 Minutes
Release Date:  March 1, 2005

"I'll bet you never see HER behind a typewriter!"

Shows ***

When Wonder Woman returned for her second year on television, she faced a few changes.  The biggest was probably the surprising network jump when CBS took it over from ABC.  The second was the decision to bring our favorite heroine out of her World War II setting and into modern times (1977 as it was).  And finally, a change in title proclaimed the second season as The New Adventures of Wonder Woman.

Thankfully, the most important element of the show remained intact, namely the irreplaceable Lynda Carter in the title role.  Lyle Waggoner, who had served in the reversal of the traditional damsel-in-distress role for our heroine, also returned as Steve Trevor...the son of the original 1940 era Steve Trevor.

In the new two hour pilot "The Return of Wonder Woman", all of this gets explained.  Princess Diana (Carter) had returned home to Paradise Island after the second World War, where she remained ageless and beautiful and waiting for us to need her again.  But in the 70s, with the Cold War and the emergence of terrorism, Diana discovers that the world might be in greater danger than ever before.

This she learns from a forced landing of Steve Trevor, the younger, after an attack on his plane.  It's all that was needed to get our beloved Diana back into the red, white and blue and bring Wonder Woman back to fight for the forces of good.

The 22 episodes of the second season are a fun lot.  Some of the best ones include "The Queen and the Thief", where Wonder Woman has to stop an elusive and charming jewel thief who ends up on her side, "I Do I Do", where Diana Prince checks into international secrets being traded in a health spa, and "The Man Who Could Move The World", in which a Japanese internment camp survivor with telekinetic powers seeks revenge on our heroine for a wrong he mistakenly thinks she committed against him in World War II.

Other gems include the two part "Mind Stealers From Outer Space", in which Wonder Woman reunites with an old friend from far away to save the world from a race of alien brain thieves (dig those cheesy ass costumes!!), "The Deadly Toys" in which Wonder Woman has to fight...Wonder Woman (at least in robot form), and "Seance of Terror", where some very bad people are misusing a boy with special psychic gifts in order to prevent peace in our time.

I'd have to say the single best episode for me was "The Girl From Ilandia", in which a child from another dimension learns to use her special powers under tutelage from Wonder Woman, who also makes every effort to get her back home.  The bonding between these two characters was warm and genuine, and seemed to show great promise for a terrific recurring character.

Of course, every season of any show has a misstep or two...this year's most embarrassing episode was "The Pied Piper", in which a hippie-esque musician with a flute (who can't sing worth a crap) entrances young female fans to rob for him.  It was possibly Wonder Woman's campiest moment.  But the season's strangest offering had to be "Anschluss 77", where Wonder Woman and Steve stumble upon a modern day Nazi plot to resurrect Adolph Hitler!

As with the first year, the second season was teeming over with guest stars, who thought it was very 'in' to be on the show.  Take a look and you'll find Roddy McDowall, Frank Gorshin, Martin Mull, Eve Plumb, George Chakiris, Jayne Kennedy, Rick Springfield and more!

I found the new modern day setting a welcome change.  Though some of the storylines weren't as good, it helped to develop the alter ego character of Diana Prince from a bookish wallflower into an intelligent, strong and capable woman in her own right.  Plus, it got Lynda Carter out of that awful military uniform and into some very delectable outfits...yum.

Yes, friends, Ms. Carter is the ultimate reason I loved the show then, and still love it to this day.  I admit, it's partly owing to the lifelong crush I still have on her, but really, in this role, she was more than just a lovely face.  Her earnest and honest portrayal of the character created an indelible image of Wonder Woman that still exists nearly thirty years after the fact.  As one comic book artist proclaims in the featurette, no one apart from Christopher Reeve has ever embodied a superhero character so completely and irascibly.

I fully agree...Lynda Carter and Wonder Woman are inseparable in my mind, and a comic book character created in the 40s couldn't have asked for a better real life portrayal if she could.

Video ***

These old shows are a somewhat mixed bag...the best sequences look truly stunning, with crisp images, clean frames and bright, vivid colors.  Others show their age a bit more in terms of grain and faded tones and a bit of softness.  I'd say the good greatly outweighs the bad, though, so high marks overall.

Audio **

The mono audio sounds like you would expect...serviceable and clean, but not overly dynamic or engrossing.  The theme song still sounds great, especially in the later part of the season when a more instrumental version came into play.

Features *

One lone extra, a short documentary entitled "Revolutionizing a Classic:  From Comic Book to Television".  It should have been the other way around, because it mostly focuses on Wonder Woman's modern day artists and how Lynda Carter's portrayal of her inspired their work.  But fear not, fans...Ms. Carter returns in this feature, and so does producer Douglas S. Cramer.

A special plea to Warner Bros.:  since there's only one season left to go, how about giving us the original pilot with Cathy Lee Crosby as a bonus feature?  That would be a trip!

Summary:

Two down, one to go...Wonder Woman Season Two on DVD means fans like me can count their collection two-thirds complete.  These 22 fun filled episodes will bring smiles to your faces and keep the spirit of Wonder Woman alive and well while we wait for the final season.

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com