Wonder Woman
The Complete Third Season (Region 1 Edition)

Starring: Lynda Carter
Warner Bros
RRP: $39.98
Certificate: Not Rated (USA)
Available 07 June 2005 (USA)

The original character of Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston and first appeared in 1941 in issue eight of
All Star Comics. As a character Wonder woman is different to the other female super heroes, most of which, by just the fact of their name, were never allowed to grow up. It may be that the comic book writers found it easier to suggest and write for a Super Girl or Bat Girl than they did for a fully grown woman. Though Marston has said that he intended her to be a feminist character and for the most part subsequent incarnations have always portrayed her as a strong independent woman...

Lynda Carter, who played Diane Prince/Wonder Woman, was a virtual unknown prior to staring in the show. An ex beauty queen who had done guest appearances in Starsky and Hutch, this was her moment of fame, after this it was back to the occasional guest appearance. Her most recent work saw her playing Pauline in The Dukes of Hazzard film (2005). Lyle Waggoner, who plays Steve Trevor, had been working successfully for the best part of 13 years before landing the part in Wonder Woman. Arguably his most successful, internationally recognised, part. Like Carter he was to follow this performance with appearances in shows that not many would have seen or heard of; Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt anyone?

The television series ran from 1975 to 1979. This wasn't the fist attempt at a television series, in 1967, following on from the success of the campy Batman series the same company produced a short test film which was never picked up or aired.

This was the third and last season of Wonder Woman and contains all 24 episodes, spread over four discs. Set in contemporary 1970s, the action had been moved away from the World War II premise of the first season, with Diana Prince/Wonder Woman now working for the IADC. This meant that the level of sleuthing went up and the use of the super hero element retreated. Wonder Woman must contend with everything from aliens to made art thieves.

The show was a lot less campy than Batman, but still seems to have lacked the conviction to take itself seriously. However, in truth, the idea of a woman running round in a stars and stripes bodice and pants is a bit of a hard sell as serious drama. Like most long running series some of the stories are interesting whilst others are pure filler. This appears to be in line with most shows of the time. With the success of Batman, there seems to have been a move away from the more serious fare of The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone, into more relaxed, family orientated shows. Times were turbulent in the USA and so happy shows were produced with the tide of shiny happy people only changing with the introduction of Dallas in 1978. This may go some way in explaining why this was the last season, with the public wanting more reality and especially miserable rich people.

The third season set comes with hard plastic mount. I have to say I'm not a great fan of this kind of packaging - it tends to hold onto the discs a little too well. So much so that in the past I have snapped a Doctor Who DVD in half trying to get it out.

A nice extra that comes with the third season is the pilot of Shazam, a show which ran for 28 episodes from 1974 to 1976 - a real piece of twaddle which I'm surprised made it passed its first episode. It's both badly acted and scripted and I can only presume was included to make Wonder Woman look better in comparison.

So should you buy it? For fans and those wishing to complete their collection, sure why not? For the casual buyer, it must be remembered that this was a show of its time, what Batman was to the drugged fuelled psychedelic culture of the '60s, Wonder Woman was distinctly all disco.

Charles Packer

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$27.99 (Amazon.com)
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