Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wonder Woman 3.15: The Starships Are Coming

Airdate: 2/2/79

Aliens have abducted a teenage boy from his small Pennsylvania town – or at least that’s what it seems. Upon closer investigation, Diana discovers a veil of secrecy surrounding the hamlet, and raises an eyebrow when a small TV studio is discovered to have ordered some fancy equipment. The involvement of a right-wing fanatic named Mason Steele seems to be behind the “aliens” goading of a high-ranking general into nuking China, making him believe that a even more pernicious extra-terrestrial invasion could imperil the entire planet. After the discovery, WW uses Steele’s airwaves to announce to the world the hoax, stopping the general before he can launch the missiles.

Not bad premise, well-paced and crafted – sort of a cross between OrsonWelles’s fake Martian invasion radio broadcast and Close Encounters. Second sci-fi story in a row is giving WW just the lift it needs amidst a slew of Starsky and Hutch derivations. Only problem: the general sure is an idiot for believing the aliens’ ruse; it’s a bit farfetched for us to swallow, let alone a man who’s got his finger on the red button. Final fight scene with WW and Steele’s thugs is well-choreographed. And speaking of Steele – his right-wing rationalization of his inane plan and artful demonization of his detractors is creepily effective, and al-too resonant today.

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