The New Adventures of Wonder Woman
Volume 1

Starring: Lynda Carter
Warner Home Video
RRP 12.99
Certificate: U
Available now

Diana convinces her mother, the Queen of the Amazons, that she must once again venture into the outside world as Wonder Woman...

As live-action TV versions of a popular comic books go, Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman is fairly respectable. The character is more faithfully adapted than The Incredible Hulk was. Although there are elements of self-mockery, as demonstrated by the garish title graphics, the camp theme song and comic-style on-screen captions, the tone is not out-and-out comedy, as was the case with Adam West's Batman. While it does show its age a bit - well, OK, a lot - the series is nowhere near as toe-curlingly bad as the tedious live-action Spider-Man series.

The 70-minute pilot episode, The Return of Wonder Woman, is a mixed bag, however. Perhaps because the story needed to be stretched beyond the usual 46 minutes, the plot meanders and lacks focus. Basically, the story deals with a mad-as-toast global terrorist, Dr Solano (Fritz Weaver), who wants to hijack planes carrying materials for a new nuclear power station, which will aid him in his plan to take over the world... or something like that. The narrative takes a few detours of dubious relevance, including such unlikely ingredients as a double of the hero Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) and a naff-looking robot. There's also a fight between Diana Prince (the unforgettable Lynda Carter) and another woman that strays into sexploitation territory when their clothes start getting torn.

Lyle Waggoner is not the world's greatest actor (but then you try exclaiming "A robot!" without sounding silly). Still, it's refreshing to see a male character being constantly rescued by a woman for a change.

Diana and Steve are assigned to investigate a reunion of Nazis in South America...

Of course, these so-called New Adventures of Wonder Woman are now pretty old, but back in 1977 the title was intended to differentiate this series from the earlier The New Original Wonder Woman, which also starred Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner but was set during World War II.

Anschluss '77 is the first of two episodes on this DVD that refer back to wartime events. The notion of cloning Hitler is not a new one, even back in '77, but the idea remains irresistible, and the plot progresses much more swiftly than that of the pilot.

A Japanese man with awesome telekinetic powers seeks revenge on Wonder Woman for her role in the Second World War...

The opening moments of The Man Who Could Move the World set up false expectations as our heroes view the playback of a rocket launch. But then we are told that the subject of their briefing is actually the one-time rocket scientist Dr Theodore Wilson (Lew Ayres), who is now experimenting in the field of psychokinesis.

Ultimately, this becomes another episode that harks back to Wonder Woman's wartime adventures, which makes you wonder why the production team bothered relocating the character to a contemporary setting in the first place. It's not rocket science!

The extras - a photo gallery and a few text features - don't inspire much wonderment, but at such a low price you can't really grumble.

Richard McGinlay

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