Sorry Xena, the original warrior princess may be looking to reclaim her status on TV.
According to Deadline.com, a new television series featuring DC’s first lady is in the works, and the accomplished David E. Kelley is the brains behind the project. Kelley is well-known for ventures into the worlds of the courtroom and the hospital, but taking on a superhero would be a new challenge for the writer/producer. His notable successes include “Boston Legal”, “The Practice”, “Chicago Hope”, and “Ally McBeal”, so there’s no question about his credentials. “Ally McBeal” gives him an advantage since that show proved that Kelley can bring to life a strong, female character who can carry a series.
Wonder Woman has had her share of troubles in the mainstream media in the last few years, so hopefully this project will breathe new life into the superheroine. Joss Whedon attempted to bring her to the big screen a few years ago, but after rejecting several script drafts, Warner Brothers shelved the project. Apparently (according to the suits) a female superhero can’t carry her own franchise. Thank you Catwoman and Elektra… However, in 2009, DC’s animation studios produced an excellent direct-to-DVD movie that showcased Wonder Woman as the prominent hero she has always been. I was among man fanboys who’s review was a simple “That’s how they should do a live action movie!” But, the revelry was short-lived since low sales of the DVD once again took lady heroes out of the spotlight. According to an April 2010 interview with producer Bruce Timm…
We had originally planned to do sequels for Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, but Wonder Woman’s sales started out extremely slow and then over time were eventually able to catch up to probably Justice League Frontier. The Exec’s decided because it wasn’t able to sell quickly right away, where as Justice League was, that there wouldn’t be any more female super hero films right now. We were developing and hoping to get started on a Batgirl film based on Year One, but because of Wonder Woman’s slow sales start, that won’t be happening now.
It’s a shame that prominent characters and potential female role models are being overlooked because of financial decisions.
Wonder Woman came under fire once again only a few months ago. With “Wonder Woman #600” hitting shelves back in June, her classic red, blue, and gold costume had been completely replaced by a new look, courtesy of artist Jim Lee. Sporting a leather jacket and a new form-fitting suit, Wonder Woman now looks like she should be riding a motorcycle alongside The Huntress in the next issue of “Birds of Prey.” Will this be the costume we can expect to see in David E. Kelley’s proposed series? We’ll just have to wait and see.
While featured in animated form in the “Superfriends” cartoons from 1973 to 1986 and again in “Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited” from 2001 to 2004, the only other notable appearance of the character on TV was the series starring Lynda Carter, which aired from 1975 to 1979 on network television. To this day, Lynda Carter’s portrayal of the character is considered to be iconic, just as Christopher Reeve’s was for Superman. Since “Smallville” has engaged in the practice of featuring actors who have previously played DC characters in other media (Christopher Reeve, Helen Slater, Teri Hatcher), perhaps Lynda Carter will be offered a chance to appear in the new series. (Yes, I know she was already on “Smallville” as Chole’s mom, Moira, but I’d like to think Warner Brothers wouldn’t mind having her on the new series.)
With “Smallville” ending its ten-year run at the end of this season, Warner Brothers might jump at the opportunity to maintain a superhero presence on television. The void left by “Smallville” should definitely be filled by a show that focuses one of DC’s prominent heroes, unlike the failed “Birds of Prey” in 2002 or the rumored “The Graysons” in 2008.