The third and final season of Wonder Woman hits DVD and thus, the cycle is complete. While many people feel that the show was cancelled unjustly after just three years, the bright side of that is that it never had a chance to get really tired and worn out like some longer running television shows do. Princess Diana and company didn't get the longer run that they deserved but they did get a good one and that's probably at least part of the reason that the show is so fondly remembered today, over twenty five years after the series felt the pain of the network axe.
For those who have been locked in a cave for the last two decades, the basic premise of the show is simple enough. Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) crashed his plane sometime around the Second World War and ended up on Paradise Island where, low and behold, he is saved by a race of Amazon women living, hidden away from the rest of the world. The woman who rescued him, Princess Diana (Lynda Carter) drags him ashore and soon learns of the evils that are spreading around the world thanks to Hitler and his big jerk gang of Nazis. The Amazons decide to send a representative back with Steve to help the war effort, and Diana sneaks her way into the role and heads back to the good old U.S. of A with him where she demonstrates her ability to spin around really fast and turn into Wonder Woman. After the war, she heads on back home for a few decades only to run into Steve again, thirty years down the road when he's heading up a defense committee. She sees this as a sign from above that she must return to the role of Wonder Woman once more, and so she does. Together with the help of her good buddy Steve, Wonder Woman uses her invisible jet, her lasso of truth, her deflective bracelets and her super human strength to fight evil in all of the many guises it takes in the modern day world of the late seventies.
This premise lead to all sorts of great possibilities for Wonder Woman to have many varied and unusual adventures – and that's exactly what happened. As Diana, Wonder Woman would get into all sorts of dilemmas in her personal life and as Wonder Woman she'd get the chance to show off her super powers and fight crime. This lead to a series that hit the perfect balance of action and soap opera dramatics with plenty of campy humor thrown in for good measure.
The episodes contained in this set are as follows:
My Teenage Idol Is Missing
The Deadly Sting
The Fine Art of Crime
The Deadly Dolphin
Pot Of Gold
Going, Going, Gone
The Starships Are Coming
Amazon Hot Wax
The Richest Man In The World
A Date With Doomsday
The Girl With A Gift for Disaster
The Boy Who Knew Her Secret – Part One
The Boy Who Knew Her Secret – Part Two
The Man Who Could Not Die
Phantom Of The Roller Coaster – Part One
Phantom Of The Roller Coaster – Part Two
A few highlights from the set? Sure! Be sure to check out the very first episode in the set, My Teenage Idol Is Missing which co-star Leif Garrett playing a teenage rock star and his twin brother! When he's kidnapped by a sinister gang and held for a two million dollar ransom, it's up to Wonder Woman to bust up the baddies and save the day.
In Disco Devil (I wish that were my nickname) the owner of a local dance club has the uncanny ability to stealing peoples memories and using them for evil. He uses his power to confuse the minds of some very important people so that he can turn things to his own advantage. Good thing Wonder Woman is there to punch him in the head!
Ted Shackleford and Joan Van Ark of TV's Knots Landing show up in Time Bomb where a time traveling fortune teller travels to the current day so that she can make a name for herself and become famous. Unfortunately, her plans are bound to screw things up and so Wonder Woman has to zip into action and stop her from making any bone-headed mistakes before it's too late.
In Skateboard Whiz we get the added bonus of seeing Wonder Woman cruising around California on a deck in order to put an end to an illegal gambling ring causing problems throughout the city. Check out her fancy skateboard suit and try not to turn green with envy. And speaking of Wonder Woman in fancy suits, check out The Deadly Dolphin where she slaps on a wetsuit and hits the surf to stop a team of terrorists from using exploding dolphins to do their dirty work. Some of the more humorous moments in the set include Wonder Woman's run in with a leprechaun in Pot Of Gold or her shot at a singing career in Amazon Hot Wax.
The interplay between Steve and Diana always makes for an amusing distraction and the added bonus of Lynda Carter looking so darn appealing in that oh-so-patriotic costume is another plus. Looks aside though, Carter does a great job of carrying the series and her spunky performances are a lot of fun.
Wonder Woman was obviously shot and composed for TV as we all know, so it shouldn't surprise anyone to see it presented here in its original fullframe aspect ratio. As far as the transfers go, for the most part things come up pretty good in this department. Some episodes fair better than others, and a few have got a little bit of minor print damage present throughout. It's not bad at all – print detail is high and colors look good, while black levels remain pretty stable. So while it's not perfect, overall the visual quality is pretty nice and the only thing worth complaining about is some edge enhancement here and there.
The episodes are presented here as they were originally broadcast, which is in Dolby Digital Stereo. There's the odd snap crackle and pop on the soundtrack but overall it is pretty clean sounding. Levels are well balanced and there's a bit of lower front-end action here and there. You won't notice a lot of channel separation as the episodes play out but everything is in order otherwise. Not much to complain about here, really. It's a good sound mix with clear dialogue and well balanced levels. There are optional subtitles available in English, French and Spanish, and an English closed captioning option.
While the set isn't stacked with supplements, there are a few little fun bonus features hidden inside the excellent packaging that houses the discs. First up is a commentary on the first episode in the set, My Teenage Idol Is Missing with star Lynda Carter. She doesn't have a whole lot to say about her experiences with this particular episode and the discussion tends to cover Wonder Woman in general a lot of the time (though she does discuss Leif Garrett on a few occasions) but there's enough material of interest to make it worth sitting through for fans of the show, despite some dreaded dead air space creeping in every few minutes.
Can't get enough Lynda Carter? Then check out Wonder Woman – The Ultimate Feminist Icon which is a lengthy interview/featurette with not only Lynda Carter but also a few of the ladies who penned some of Wonder Woman's adventures then and new. It makes for an interesting discussion as they discuss why Wonder Woman has become the symbol that she has and how that evolution took place.
Also worth noting is that with the first pressing of the set, you'll find a bonus DVD inside including a never before released (and incredibly corny but amazingly fun) episode of Shazam! entitled The Joyriders.
While it would have been nice to see a little more in the extra features department, especially considering that this was the final season for the series, Wonder Woman – The Complete Third Season looks and sounds pretty nice and the episodes contained in the set are a lot of fun. I can easily slap this bad girl with the ol' recommended stamp!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.