Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wonder Woman: Stop Fussing about it, Just Do It

From Comicbook

In his response to ICv2′s question about whether Wonder Woman is a cursed concept, Tom Spurgeon suggests that they — and everyone else — may be overthinking it.
Sure, an invisible airplane could look dopey if you do it one way, but I imagine it could be the coolest thing in the world if you do it another. I’ve said this before, but once you realize that Wonder Woman could absolutely get over if she were to crash that invisible airplane of hers into the front of Wayne Manor and beat the holy guano out of Batman for 15 minutes in the middle of his next movie, just punching him right down long hallways, it becomes clear that there are several ways for a character like that to work. You have just to stop fussing over the character and do one of them.
I agree for a couple of reasons. First of all, though I have a ton of respect for the recent Wonder Woman writers who have spent a lot of time thinking about who the character is and what a story about her should focus on, there comes a time when you have to put that aside and — to paraphrase Gail Simone — just have her fight some talking gorillas on top of a waterfall.

While it’s important to know the character you’re telling a story about, the story itself doesn’t have to be an overt demonstration of how you’ve figured that out. In other words, know who Wonder Woman is and why she came to Man’s World, but you don’t have to make the story about who she is and her mission here.
Related to that, ICv2 is focusing on the wrong part of Robert Greenblatt’s explanation of why NBC passed on the David E Kelley pilot. Rather than his idle musing about Wonder Woman being cursed, the more pertinent comment he made was in an interview with TV Line where he said, “It was tricky for me to step back and take a look at it and see if this was going to be the right take on this show. With this kind of audience, you have to get these things absolutely right; there’s no room for error. At the end of the day, I didn’t think we had done that.”

In other words, they overthought it. Those who followed the development of the pilot know that it was full of tweaks to the Wonder Woman concept in hopes of making her more applicable to modern culture. Joss Whedon’s failed script reportedly did the same thing. When you go down that road, you very much have to worry about “getting these things absolutely right.”

If there’s a curse, it’s the tendency of writers to “figure out” Wonder Woman to death. Why can’t she just be a strong, confident woman who beats the crap out of bad guys?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WB TV CEO on Why Wonder Woman Pilot Failed

Since the announcement that NBC wouldn't be picking up the Wonder Woman television show, many have speculated as to why the Peacock decided to turn down the Princess. And it's not just NBC who had a stake in the high-production pilot--Warner Bros., the owners of DC Comics, clearly did not want to see one of their star properties fail before given a chance to be on prime time.

Warner Bros. Television CEO Peter Roth recently spoke out on why he thinks NBC turned the series down. And while his words are fairly diplomatic with regard to NBC, he actually puts more blame on viewers who he thinks wouldn't be able to embrace the show's concept. Check out his quote below.
"I think Wonder Woman was a very well-crafted pilot...But after seeing the announcement of the NBC schedule, I now understand and agree with Bob [Greenblatt, NBC executive] that it doesn’t necessarily fit particularly well with their schedule. As well-crafted and contemporized as it was, it was a big and radical shift for viewers to embrace this new idea — and that may, to some degree, have had to do with why it didn’t make it."
If you didn't get the chance to read the leaked script for the Wonder Woman pilot, then you may have caught Tanit Phoenix's Youtube audition video, in which she reads directly from said script. If not, give it a look. Based on this, you might notice that the characterization of Wonder Woman in David E. Kelley's pilot- a corporate executive by day, super-heroine by night (who is self-aware of her celebrity status) is a far cry from the Princess of Themyscira we see in the comics. That's not to say the idea couldn't work, but I have to wonder (no pun intended!) if they had stuck to the subject material in the comics, would we be watching a Wonder Woman television series on NBC this fall? Was The Cape so awful that it scared NBC executives from taking a chance on another superhero TV show?
Just because NBC turned down this gem doesn't mean that Wonder Woman won't find a home on a different network, something Roth could neither confirm nor deny at the time of the interview. A Wonder Woman television series can work; all it needs is a few comics-savvy producers and writers who can breathe new life into this classic character. Oh, and maybe tell the costume department to lay off the shiny latex. I think we can all agree it was not a good look.