Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wonder Woman 3.22: The Man Who Could Not Die

Airdate: 8/28/79

A newly relocated-to-L.A. Diana Prince now has a new IADC boss, Dale Hawthorn, a new apartment and a new set of troubles. It all starts when a chimpanzee gets hit by car, thrown 50 feet after impact, and not only lives but shows nary a scratch or bruise. And after a mysterious lab explosion she discovers a man with exactly the same powers – Bret Cassiday is invincible, impervious to pain, immortal, and needs no food or water… and hates every minute of it. He had taken part in an experiment by a man bent on creating an army of superhumans, with a formula stolen from an esteemed scientist, and now he’s between a rock and a hard place as he can’t reverse the effects without going along with the madman’s dastardly plan. Diana/WW helps him out a bit, and the two automatons chase down the baddies, but in the aftermath, all the scientist’s notes were burned, and now that he’s a fugitive, Dale can’t return to normal without finding. As a consolation, Diana hires him to work for the IADC.

So I’ll have to check with the IMDB/Wikipedia after this, but for whateverreason, they totally revamped the format of the show. For one thing, Lyle Waggoner’s gone – he’s missing from the opening credits – and now Diana’s an L.A. girl with a crusty assignment manager who reminds me of a portly Joe Atkinson, who left after the beginning of last season. No IRAC, no Rover, all gone. Instead, we have a wiseacre black boy as a gouging salesman who hangs around the office: a blatant ripoff of Gary Coleman from the then-hot Diff’rent Strokes. And the apparent installation of a superhero working alongside Diana seems a bit derivative of The Six Million Dollar Man, especially now that WW of of late is acting a heck of a lot like The Bionic Woman.

Theories: this may be after learning they were cancelled, so it could all be a last ditch effort to create ratings fireworks in hope of renewal. Or this could be the fourth season, and they were canceled after three episodes. Or perhaps they just figured they blow the remainder of the budget on an extravaganza of stuntwork, explosions and special effects (although the chimp getting thrown in the air couldn’t look any more fake – it literally looks like a plush animal). Or maybe a combination of all or some of the above. In any case, this is the last single episode of the series. I’ll check back with more info.

Exposition of new setting is an endless series of panoramic shots of L.A. They could’ve cashed a check from the Chamber of Commerce.

Update: According to Wikipedia (with no citation listed, so we’ll just have to trust them), this episode was the last to be produced, anticipating a fourth season. When that didn’t happen, it was aired penultimately, with the “Roller Coaster” two-parter airing last. All of this was broadcast in late-Aug, early Sept., so it must have been a real tease for fans expecting a fourth season!

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