Wonder Woman: The Complete Series Now on Blu-ray
As I previously mentioned, there is a new release of Wonder Woman: The Complete Series on Blu-ray. Thanks to the studio, I was sent a copy, and I took a quick look at the package this weekend.
Note that I will not be talking about specific episodes here. I suspect you know if you want to see them. They’re very 70s, and the ideal audience is nostalgic, with plenty of patience, as they seem slow-paced to a current-day viewer. The special effects were done on a TV budget of the time, and several of the episodes focus on trends of the era, including aliens, psychic powers, disco, and skateboarding. It’s all redeemed because, as they point out in some of the special features, Lynda Carter was one of the best choices for a live-action superhero ever, bringing grace, charm, and personal strength, as well as beauty, to the role of Wonder Woman.
The Blu-ray set certainly saves space compared to the three season DVD sets I previously had. An unfortunate casualty to that were the many pictures and episode descriptions included in the DVD box packaging. Those sets had fold out sections with lots of photos. On the other hand, they also had reversible discs, which I don’t care for.
The Blu-ray set consists of 10 discs and a small insert with the episode title listings. There’s no list of which episodes are on which discs, though.
Season 1, which was set in the 1940s, consists of 13 episodes on two Blu-ray discs. There’s also the pilot film, which can also be viewed with commentary by Lynda Carter and series producer Douglas Cramer. The special feature is a 21-minute featurette, “Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective” (made in 2004). Participants are Carter, Cramer, and illustrator Alex Ross. It’s nicely comprehensive, about her casting and approach to the role, how the series came about, the period, and some of the key moments of the series, including the costume elements, the theme, Wonder Girl (Debra Winger), and the invention of the spin.
Season 2 moved the character to the then-contemporary 1970s (because the network changed to CBS). There are 22 episodes on four discs. The special feature is “Revolutionizing a Classic: From Comic Book to Television, The Evolution of Wonder Woman From Page to Screen”. It’s 11 minutes, and it was clearly filmed at the same time as the one mentioned above, with the addition of comic artists Phil Jimenez (who wrote and drew a run of the series) and Adam Hughes (known for creating WW comic covers). Also added was fan Andy Mangels, who talks about how ideal the casting was and how identified Carter is with Wonder Woman — she is the “epitome”, “the living physical embodiment of the character”.
Season 3, consisting of 24 episodes, is also contained on four discs and comes with the 14-minute “Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Feminist Icon”. Participants are Lynda Carter, Karen Berger (WW series editor 1986-1991), Dawn Heinecken (author of The Women Warriors of Television), Lillian Robinson (author of Wonder Women: Feminisms and Superheroes), and Nina Jaffe (author of Wonder Woman children’s books).
They say somewhat obvious things over clips from the show. It will likely seem naive to those today, which illustrates how far we’ve come, not just since the 40s (the character creation) or the 70s (the period of the show), but since this was made in 2005. Viewers less familiar with the debate over the character may find it interesting to have it pointed out that her villains used to be reformed and join the “cause” and other ways the character differed from other female superheroes (who were mostly called girls) and other heroic TV shows. At no point is the sexism of the costume, particularly in some of the more recent art, addressed.
Also on season 3 is a commentary by Carter on the first episode, “My Teenage Idol Is Missing”, in which Leif Garrett plays twin teen singers, one of whom is kidnapped and replaced by the other.
It’s a nice package, particularly for, as I mentioned, those with fond memories or an interest in the history of women heroes.
A part of me wants to see these, but I’m worried my memory of how much I liked it as a kid doesn’t hold up to the reality.
That is always a risk, particularly since our expectations for storytelling and pacing of TV shows have changed so much over the decades. It’s certainly something to … anti-binge? Space out over time. There’s still a definite charm to them, though.