Friday, June 14, 2013

Wonder Woman 3.1: My Teenage Idol Is Missing

Airdate: 9/22/78

That’s it – WW’s transition to the 70’s is official with this one: Leif Garret playing a teen pop star who gets kidnapped for a 2 million dollar ransom! His kidnapper, a man named Crichton, has managed to secure a doppelganger (his long-lost brother) for the heartthrob, but when the imposter turns out to be just as good a singer as the real deal, the star’s manager isn’t in a rush to pay up, leaving no recourse for the bad guys but to murder their only source of leverage. The only one wise to all these goings-on is a girl named Whitney, who, with the help of WW, helps rescue her beloved dreamboat, just in time for a concert starring both singing brothers.

Season three kickoff has streamlined all the elements that have made the show a hit thus far: the WW rescue scenes, the spinning transformations, alternate outfits for different modes of action (in this case, the return of the biker suit), and less talky-talk at IADC headquarters (in other words, less Steve). A new disco-infused opening is tighter and faster-paced too, and the cold open appears to be getting longer, more closely resembling a Bond film. All this hip window dressing didn’t seem to boost the ratings a whole lot; this would be the final season for Ms. Prince and her star-spangled alter ego, but for now we can certainly enjoy all her hijinks in all their polyester-clad glory.

Another popular element here is the casting of Dawn Lyn as Whitney, since she closely resembles young actress Quinn Cummings, a huge star at the time having come off her supporting role as Marsha Mason’s daughter in The Goodbye Girl.

The DVD includes an audio commentary for this episode by Lynda Carter. It’s quite informative – Ms. Carter is not always one to mince her words – and we learn much about, among other things, when she was told the series was cancelled, Debra Winger’s not-so-fond memories of being on the show, and Carter’s regret that the show gradually lost its feminist message, especially during the last season (her “speech” on what feminism is all about is pretty profound). 

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