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What Are The Ingredients For A Good Wonder Woman Television Series?

We look at previous adaptations of the character for the small screen to identify what works, and what didn't.

Wonder Woman is sort of an elusive character. Who she is and what attributes define her are sometimes difficult to explain, which is one of the reasons why she is so difficult to write well, and may be one reason why film and television executives have stayed away from adaptations of her character. She is a super powered woman who stands for very specific principles but her heritage and her background are so unique that it is nearly impossible to make audiences relate to her. She is an Amazon warrior woman and also a compassionate character but if tested and pushed to her limits, she is ruthless. She has grace, beauty, charm and charisma; and if she sounds a little like a perfect woman, that right there may be one of her biggest flaws.

For the last several years we have heard rumors of a Wonder Woman movie or television series. We even saw the pilot to a Wonder Woman TV show written by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal) that (thankfully) never got off the ground. More recently, following the success of Arrow for the CW, the network has looked to Diana for their next potential superhero inspired television series. Yet, unlike Arrow, Wonder Woman isn't exactly black and white. She's far less grounded than Oliver Queen and a whole heck of a lot more complicated. Beyond that, there have also been a lot of different versions of her character. So how do you make a good Wonder Woman television series? What are the ingredients to make something like this work? To answer this question, we looked at what is wrong with the character and what we feel would not translate well onto the small screen.

== TEASER ==

The Wonder Woman Origin

In her comic book origin, Diana is sculpted out of clay by her Mother with the blessings of the Olympian Goddesses. She is raised as a great warrior on a peaceful island made up only of women. This entire idea, while interesting, is impossible for the average person to relate to. Take for example a character like Superman; he may have been an alien who crash landed in Smallville, but he was raised by a warm and loving Mid-Western family. The fact that he also has estranged parents sort of helps his character be more relatable to audiences. It humanizes him in a way because although he is so strong and essentially "super human," he has average problems that a regular person could relate to. The made of clay origin and the being raised on an island of women doesn't exactly work because it is difficult explain in a real world environment. If that origin is kept, the fact that she comes from a completely different place needs to be meshed into the story. How do you explain her origin but set her story in the real world?

In the current Wonder Woman comic book series, Diana's origin story was changed. In it, Hippolyta falls in love with Zeus and they conceive a child -- Diana. She grows up not knowing her father and thinking she had no male figure in her life. This creates a very interesting dynamic and one that grounds her character. It demonstrates that she has "regular people problems," not just "I have to save the world," problems and I think that is important. Whatever origin this next show chooses to use, in order to make it feel grounded and to appeal to a mass audience, Diana will have to feel relatable on an emotional level.

The Costume

None of Wonder Woman's costumes have been very good. Her original costume with the skirt, while cute, was impractical. The red, white and blue strapless leotard with red knee high boots; while iconic, ridiculous to actually fight in. The pants and strapless top worn by actress Adrianne Palicki on the most recent attempt at an adaptation for a Wonder Woman television series may have been better than the previous two mentioned, but it still does not really work. The texture was shiny and looked cheap, and as good as Palicki's acting was in the pilot episode of that show, even she could not make that costume look better.

Regardless, the character definitely needs a costume redesign both for her current comic book series as well as in the CW television show. We recently saw an incredible redesign of her costume that went viral illustrated by artist Rahzahh. The best thing about this costume design is the fact that it takes many of the elements of her costume (the eagle emblem and the red, white and blue stars and stripes) and incorporates them into a new costume that not only covers her entire body and looks practical, but it is more fitting for a warrior than a skimpy bathing suit. She looks cool and looks believable, like she could kick major butt, and I think that's important.


If it's going to air on the CW, then it's likely to target a very specific, teenage demographic. Although I will be the first to say that there are a lot of elements of Arrow that I find cheesy, overall I think it does a relatively good job walking the line between the unbelievable and grounded in reality. In order for this show to work the tone needs to make the story feel grounded. Mind you, grounded does not necessarily mean dark, but it does mean more serious. If you focus on relating the character to audiences on an emotional level, chances are you will have more luck with the show. It also needs to be well written and consistent. It needs to focus on her flaws and imperfections as well as her battles.

Consider The Budget and Cameo Appearances

Obviously you can't expect that every single member of the Justice League is going to show up for her television show, and although seeing many familiar faces on the CW's Arrow series has been fun a lot of the time, the majority of these characters are street level at best. Wonder Woman is super powered, and if you can't show her doing crazy stunts, then don't even try.

It is also important to look at the character's identity and consider what other characters are important and supplemental to her story. Artemis, Hippolyta and Ares, for example, are vital to the Wonder Woman mythos and are a group of characters that should absolutely be featured on the show.

If it were up to me, I would personally focus on her youth and younger years, much like the CW did for Smallville. It is impossible to really relay all of Superman's feats as an adult hero without spending a whole lot of money, and it's easier and more cost effective to tell the story of his youth. The same can be said for Wonder Woman. The show could easily focus on Diana's youth and her years on Paradise Island and still remain cost effective. It would also explore her character and identity in ways we haven't yet seen which would definitely add to her story.

What do you think, though? What do you think that the CW's upcoming Amazon should be like? Should it be set in present day, or on Paradise Island? How much of Wonder Woman's mythology should be kept? What should the show's focus be on? What characters would you like to see and should her costume be changed? Let us know in the comments below.

185 CommentsRefresh
Posted by OriginalVenom

@ssejllenrad said:

Give her an "ancient" costume feel like what Marvel did with Thor.

Donna Troy's Wonder Woman costume would be effective methinks.

This Wonder Woman costume is by all means the best iteration I have ever seen of her so far. To me of course.

Posted by kartron

IMO wonder woman's costume should be the one that is in the beginning of odyssey, it should start with the origin and as the Linda Carter's show did, work on the strands of emotion of audience while at the same time have Diana solve some crime and supernatural mysteries - add some spice of graphics that is done in series such as Star Trek or Star Wars. But yes, the script flow, emotions, graphics and sexyness level should all be in accurate proportions without being too much or cheesy. WW is definitely a tougher character to portray on screen - take whichever origin!

Posted by ssejllenrad

@OriginalVenom said:

@ssejllenrad said:

Give her an "ancient" costume feel like what Marvel did with Thor.

Donna Troy's Wonder Woman costume would be effective methinks.

This Wonder Woman costume is by all means the best iteration I have ever seen of her so far. To me of course.

Yeah me too. I hope Dianna took that costume from Donna Troy after One Year Later. Or at least used that in the New 52.

Posted by ssejllenrad

@AlKusanagi said:

You know, with a couple more years and about 20 pounds of muscle on her, Victoria Justice would make a pretty good Wonder Woman.

Oh yes that would be awesome! She's already gorgeous right now. Imagine if we add some maturity and badassery to her look... That would be a sure win Diana.

Posted by vernierhawk001

Just don't think the small screen, espescially a network like CW, will do her any justice

Posted by pinchpaker29

Lose the costume! ;) Sure seller!

Posted by sethysquare

@ssejllenrad said:

Not a suggestion... Just for eye candy...

I would like to see something like that.

Also I think CW should make Amazon a horror series filled with scary evil greek gods, mythological monsters taking humanoid forms and crazy ass cameo.

The tone should be similar to buffy the vampire slayer, supernatural and arrow. Like a mix of all of them with a wonder woman twist.

Posted by Coluber

Well, here's my idea on a Wonder Woman series. First off, let's start off with the Amazons themselves. Let's dive more into the myth than even the comics did. The Amazons (all of them) are the daughters of Ares and they were quite vicious, until the gods exiled them to Themiscyra, forcing them to calm down. There, Diana is created (she is not the daughter of Zeus), and eventually meets with Steve Trevor (the love interest, because, quite frankly, I hate her hooking up with Batman and the Ubermensch), and from there, she moves on to the Outside World. As for the costume, well, the one depicted in the article is horrible. If a redeseign is necessary, look to the Mycenaeans or the Scythians for inspiration.

Posted by jerrycan

How about making Steve Trevor or a similiar character her father...? A american pilot crash-landing on paradise island and the queen of the amazons, leaving nothing more then the star spangled stripes behind to inspire his kick-ass daughter to seek for him or the world he came from.


@jerrycan said:

How about making Steve Trevor or a similiar character her father...? A american pilot crash-landing on paradise island and the queen of the amazons, leaving nothing more then the star spangled stripes behind to inspire his kick-ass daughter to seek for him or the world he came from.

I like that better than Zeus. That's the thing, Azz's origin is a wrote, uninspired, cliche that's been done a million times before.

Posted by dondasch

@G-Man said:

The show could easily focus on Diana's youth and her years on Paradise Island and still remain cost effective. It would also explore her character and identity in ways we haven't yet seen which would definitely add to the story.

Wonder Woman 90210!!

This is why we can't have nice things.

Posted by Lovingdamnation
Edited by darkman61288

How about Paradise Island is destroyed before Diana is born and the Amazons flee the it including the Queen. Hippolyta and the others hide from the dark force that attacked them in Man's World. There the Queen meets a man named Alexander Prince who is a cop and good man. She falls in love with and they married and have 3 kids, Diana, Donna, and a son AJ. On Diana's 18th bday she and her father get in an argument. Diana storms out of the house to cool off. She comes home 2 two hours later. While fighing with her mom John trevor her dad's partner and Steve's dad knocks on the door. He tells Hippolyta and Diana that while her father was looking for her after their fight he saw woman being mugged. He tried to stop it but was shot and killed. This broke Diana's heart as she feels responsible for it. The Queen tells her about her Amazon heritage and takes to meet Athena the Goddess of wisdom . She tells Diana that she is destined to avenge the Amazons by defeated the evil that destroyed Paradise Island. She will be given great power to fight but only after she proves her worth. This is the main storyline of the series.

Posted by edge0076 about Steve Trevor and his sister Etta Candy Trevor crash land on PI inadvertently releasing the hordes of monsters the Amazons were charged with keeping from the rest of the world. In trying to help Diana recapture some, they discover that she hadn't been molded from clay as she had been originally told, but is really the daughter of Zeus. Wanting to keep this a secret from Diana, her mother agreed to let the underground caverns beneath PI be the prison for these monsters in exchange for Zeus' silence. Disgusted by her mother's deception, Diana leaves PI with Steve and Etta, agreeing to be the one to bring in the monsters set loose on the outside world.

From there it would basically be a cross between Buffy and Thor. :)

Edited by colonyofcells

How about a title like : Diana Loves Etta.

Posted by Chibi-Iroh

Why does everyone keep trying to destory Paradise Island or make Steve Trevor her father? All they have to do is take a similar route to what the animated movie did. Personally for her birth I would tell the same old tale about her being born from clay and then have her have good relationship with her fellow Amazons but feel like she isn't apart of them. Then at some point while she is fighting one of the Olympians probably Ares I would have him reveal the true way that she was concieved and Hera hear it. That would set Hera up as the villain for the sequel and it could make Wonder Woman 2 a revenge film about her trying to save her mother and the other Amazons. Elements from the old Wonder Woman and the new Wonder Woman should be combined to craft a great story and a great movie. Like I said to bring it to modern times just use the same formula that the animated movie used.

Edited by drgnx

Look, let's have Diana working at the Amazon as a life guard where they save people from piranhas and crocs. People can lie around in bathingsuits and Zeus can be David Hasellhoff, Pamela Anderson can be Hypolita, and her old female castmates over the years can be amazons, and and and ....

Posted by darkman61288

@drgnx: I hope this is sarcasm

Posted by drgnx

@darkman61288 said:

@drgnx: I hope this is sarcasm

Edited by GaspoweR

Man, I always felt that Wonder Woman would just be better as a movie then a TV show since all that build up of her getting used to being on Earth, etc. can only last for so long and after that you'll pretty much end up in Smallville territory with diminishing returns.

Posted by mewmdude77

A good Wonder Woman show needs Lynda Carter.

Posted by zachkastner

I think this is the best interpretation of Diana I've ever seen. A really great photomanip that's being shuffled around the internet.

Posted by kreewarrior

It can be done. Look at Buffy the vampire slayer. Diana could come to Protect America from terrorists. If terrorists takes a hold of top secrets they can destroy us with nuclear weapons. If that happens, it could spill over to Paradise Island. Therefore, she must stop the threat. She can pretend to be a college professor teaching Mythology and science. Her costume should be red white and blue tights but not shiny. She could look more like Xena....with a more worn leather with a hint of color. This would make an amazing story and cost effective. Oh and one of her college friend can be Donna Troy.

Posted by KeliaC

they need to stop messing with Wonder Woman and take her back to her roots. the costume redesigns are stupider than however impractical people complain her iconic look is. and even if changing the iconic look shouldnt change who the character is, they still change more than enough in addition to the look that the character just isnt Wonder Woman anymore. its horrible and I wish they would just stop because she is worse off now than ever before

Posted by KeliaC

@Chibi-Iroh said:

I've said it once and I'll say it again you CANNOT treat her like a superhero. You have to treat her the same way that Thor was treated. True he fought alongside superheroes but he is never treated or characterized as being a superhero, he is treated like this warrior who is helping to protect the world and fighting alongside his friends. Even in the comics I've never seen Thor as being treated like a superhero even though he constantly fights alongside them. Diana has to be treated like something else completely.

this sums it up pretty well. stop trying to pigeonhole her into what works for other characters or entertainment mediums and let the character be who she is.

Posted by Skewer

The truth is the real treat for a successful show is a great supporting cast: A great story line: A great gallery of villains since it a superhero show Great casting choices and the rest is up to the writers and film crew. That it, nothing else.

Posted by amazing_webhead

Don't worry too much about the costume. If you don't like it, she can just spin around and change to a different one. (HAHAHA!)

...But seriously. You could just say Zeus was the one to give the clay life and, thus, was her "father". Also, they could make Diana overconfident and focus on that for a tone.

Posted by Doubles

I say stick with the original costume. It's worked forever and it will help bring in a male demographic with the T&A. If that gets too much, go the Smallville route. Clark never wore the red & blue superman costume, yet it seemed to work.

Posted by Dakens son

And suddenly everyone is a writter,director and producer!!!


Posted by herrweis

@zachkastner: that costume is awesome

Posted by drgnx

@Dakens son said:

And suddenly everyone is a writter,director and producer!!!


Posted by Shotgun

Make it animated.

Posted by 672253

@x_29 said:

I want a Xena cameo

Yes. Just yes.

I have said many times that Lucy Lawless would be the one and only Diana (if she were 10 years younger). Or perhaps even Lena Headey...

Posted by jphulk26
Posted by lilben42

@Skewer: I think it would be great to for the creators of this WW show to look at Once Upon A Time for some inspiration. That show is so unique and most of the characters all have great development. I really want this show to be all serious with not alot if not any CW cheesyness. I also think they should use Circe for more of a main villain than anyone else.