Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wonder Woman 3.20: The Boy Who Knew Her Secret, Part 1

Airdate: 5/28/79

Weird pyramids from outer space are popping up in the small hamlet of Crystal Lake (ALAWAYS stay away from a town with that name); innocent looking enough at first, they have the habit of turning whomever picks them up into brain-drained zombies. That might have something to do with why Dr. Jaffe, an odd scientist who knows more than he tells, has sent Diana there to study them – her only help is a teenage boy named Skip who has noticed those aroud him not quite acting like themselves. When Diane holds one of the pyramids she discovers its identity-switching power (luckily Skip stops her before it completes), but now they must contend with an entire town of – presumably – aliens, but during the melee Skip witnesses Diana change into Wonder Woman. A small price to pay for saving the world, no?

Interesting variant of S2’s “Mind Stealers from Outer Space” (WW always seems to work best with interstellar themes) plays the same cards, only this time we have the added bonus of another character knowing Diana’s secret (even though it’s a “secret” that anybody with reasonably clear vision and average IQ should be able to figure out immediately). This doesn’t occur until the end of the show; in the meantime we get a lot of zapped-brains, expectedly cheesy props and special effects, and a rather sweet would-be romance between the title character and a shy horse-lover named Melanie.

I think I love this formula – small town goes berserk due to sinister, mysteriousforces that it takes a few lone, sane minds to eradicate – because it’s the stuff from which much American horror is wrought, from The Twilight Zone to Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Gremlins. This is the third or fourth time WW has tried it on for size – and it fits perfectly. All in all a terrific show, but it’s too bad more of these weren’t produced earlier in the season – it could’ve helped the ratings.

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