Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wonder Woman 2.17: IRAC is Missing

Airdate: 2/17/78

A mad technophile, Bernard Havitol, is bent on conquering the world – by seizing all the most important computers one at a time, and that includes poor IRAC, the IADC’s go-to font of information. After sabotaging the computers at a major power company and the US military, respectively, Havitol steals IRAC’s memory (and even messes with the IADC’s cute little rolling robot, Rover). Diana and WW are lured to Havitol’s hideaway (which again resembles an abandoned Western town) where she stops a time bomb from destroying IRAC, along with a “female” computer he had grown fond of while in captivity. Havitol and company are stopped by Steve and the crew before making their getaway.

An extremely dated episode, given the huge advancements in computertechnology made in the past 35 years, but for that reason it’s also a boatload of fun. Havitol is essentially a hacker, but the concept was not a virtual one back in 1978 (for that matter, neither was “virtual”), so he’s got to send his Starsky-and-Hutch-esque lackeys in to “siphon” out the computers’ “electricity” and replace it with the fake stuff. The show does get points, though, for presciently understanding that the world’s infrastructure would depend heavily on mainframe computer systems – just not ones that talked in synthesized voices and had monitors that looked like Lite Brite screens.

Best scene: WW has to dodge a deadly laser beam in the show's climax. Actually rather farfetched (the villain had vacated the premises at this point so apparently is a computer program) but still good visual stimulation.

More prescience – Havitol’s servile computers are referred to as “drones”; clearly with a meaning different from today’s.

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