23 July 2011 | RikerDonegal
It's not perfect. But it aims high and it's not bad. Worse pilots have made it to TV and spawned series that ran for years!
Okay, here's everything I have to say/write about the 2011 Wonder Woman pilot.
1. Adrianne Palicki is superb! I'm a fan. I've been a fan since I first saw her in Supernatural and South Beach. I liked her because she is uncommonly sexy and very beautiful. But when I saw her in Friday Night Lights, I quickly realised that she is a supremely talented actress. She brings something to the table that is rare: she makes you believe that there is a lot going on behind her eyes. The most obvious example of this quality is the late Peter Falk. You watch him as Columbo and you believe that he is thinking about... something/everything. Palicki does this in Friday Night Lights and she does it here. So... she's beautiful and sexy and she has - I suppose - gravitas. Or whatever. Here, in the WW pilot she totally nails it.
2. The writer (David E. Kelley) has a specific take on Wonder Woman and runs with it. His shows tend to be shows about the law, his shows tend to be about lawyers. So... he drops WW into a world of laws, corporations, big bucks, legalities/illegalities and - in this one hour of TV - explains why she exists in this world. And, to be honest, it works. It's not MY take on Wonder Woman, but - after seeing this - I would be willing to take a leap and watch HIS take on the character.
3. The action scenes are good.
4. This is not an origin story. This is a case-of-the-week story. This is exactly how I would start a WW series (should anyone care).
5. Some things DON'T work. Sometimes the dialogue makes you cringe. There are a couple of bad scenes, in my humble opinion. The hospital scene, the two scenes with Steve Trevor, the applause scene, etc. Scenes where you roll your eyes. But, because I liked lots of other things, I'm willing to let the bad stuff slide. And, to be honest, even when I was cringing at something, I could appreciate what David E. Kelley was trying to do. It's not perfect, but it has a clarity of vision sadly lacking in the Bionic Woman or Knight Rider reboots. I HATED those. They had no redeeming qualities. This, I didn't hate. It had redeeming qualities. I could see what it was trying to be. And, because it succeeded on a few points (especially the fantastic lead casting), I was willing to go the extra mile and accept the other (weaker) stuff.
6. I liked the main character, and wanted to root for her. The most obvious comparison here is Bionic Woman from 2007. That show was dark and edgy and stuff. And... I never found a reason to like the main character. In one episode she set fire to her kitchen. That baffled me. What was I supposed to do? Laugh at her? Pity her? What? Diana Prince, as written by David E. Kelley, is interesting and likable. She's dark and edgy, I suppose, but she's more than that. She's arrived in our world and established herself an interesting set-up. And she's decided to 'go it alone' for reasons that make sense to her. And kinda to the audience as well. She's self-sacrificing and brave and annoyed by injustice and other stuff that would make me root for her on a weekly basis. Kelley's script has scenes that could, in the hands of a lesser actress, come off as self-pitying and unattractive. Palicki rises above that. Rises about the (sometimes flawed) material and makes us care, even when the on-screen image is something as uninspired as Diana at home alone, with her cat (!!), watching Ryan Gosling's weep-fest The Notebook.
It's not perfect. But it aims high and it's not bad. Worse pilots have made it to TV and spawned series that ran for years! 8/10