You Have to Let It Go

Not too long ago, David Kelley took over the reigns of Executive Showrunner for the new Wonder Woman release.  At this point in time, the show is almost ready for Wonder Woman’s return to the small screen.  Recently, shots of the star in the new costume have surfaced, and reaction to the new costume has been mostly negative from long-time comic book (and first TV series) fans.  However, the following image has been making its way around the web once more:

Until you let go of this image, Wonder Woman will not be able to move forward.

Linda Carter was asked about Adrianne Palicki taking on the role and even Linda notes that Wonder Woman’s story needs to be retold on TV.  I realize that many fans of Wonder Woman are reticent of this showrunner, are not sure of Ms. Palicki, and maybe question whether the show will succeed.  But this all misses the point.

Wonder Woman, in any medium, must be allowed to try.  Even if the show does a crash and burn, she must be allowed to tell her story.  Because, right now, the image of Wonder Woman is indeed that of the 1970s show, for good and for ill.

Since 1979, Superman has headlined 4 feature films (S2 – Adventure Continues, S3, S4 – The Quest for Peace, and SReturns), 3 TV series (The New Adventures of Superboy, Lois and Clark, Smallville), and has been voiced or played by at least 6 actors (Chris Reeve, Brandon Routh, Dean Cain, Tim Daly, George Newburn, Gerard Christopher, and others).  In each case, there have been good stories along with some that Superman fans would rather forget.  But the point is that Superman is allowed to try – and fail…repeatedly.

The same goes for Batman.  Like Superman, you can point a number of different actors and a wide range of voice talent, but Batman has been allowed to try…and fail (reference “Batman and Robin” the movie).  Eventually, you’ll get a cinematic blockbuster (The Dark Knight) if you keep trying.

In both Superman and Batman, there are fans of nearly every actor or voice talent of the character.  This is not so true of Wonder Woman, because there have not been many different types of talent that have taken on the role.  The image of Linda Carter as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman still holds far too much sway in the public consciousness.  There are people who are afraid of the possibility that David Kelley’s Wonder Woman may fail.  Even more to the point, many of Wonder Woman’s fans are reticent that she may not be seen on any screen for a long time should this show get canceled prematurely.

This may be true.  But Wonder Woman must be allowed to try.  And Adrianne Palicki must be allowed to stand on her own merits.  If David Kelley can succeed with Palicki as the main character, that would be a good thing.  But if the show does not succeed, that is also good.  Because that is the basis of a hero:  Being able to succeed after suffering setbacks.

We would do well to remember that.

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9 Responses to You Have to Let It Go

  1. philippos42 says:

    Thank you for this.

  2. Diakron79 says:

    If David Kelley ‘s show does or doesn’t succeed, that would be a good thing? Why? Because that is the basis of a hero: Being able to succeed after suffering setbacks?

    Mister. I don’t know where the heck you’re getting this kind of idea from, but Mr. Kelley is NOT a hero sir. he is an executive producer, a businessman w/ a lawyer fetish(based on his experience in practicing law) who was obviously ill-advised on how to adapt a modern superhero series properly.

    You’re advocating a free pass to David E. Kelley’s idea of Wonder Woman and let it fly in the air even if it’s apparent that it’s got a leak & let it crash & burn, then wait for the next perfect plane to soar w/ flying colors? I got news for you. That sort of thing is a perfect example of wishful thinking . Taking a risk like that is irresponsible & fatuous. A wise businessman once said If it smells like a defect, & if it feels like a defect, & if it tastes like a defect, then that defect shouldn’t be out on the open market. This is why Beta-Testing exists. I’m surprised that you left that out in this issue which makes this article very disappointing.

    • Heavy Armor says:

      I don’t know what’s funnier:

      You condescending attitude or the fact that you missed the whole point of the article by about 10 light years. Your reading comprehension skills also leave much to be desired, because the “Hero” I was referring to was Wonder Woman, not David Kelley. Also, in your haste to show how smugly superior you think you are, you also apparently skipped over this tidbit:

      Since 1979, Superman has headlined 4 feature films, 3 TV series, and has been voiced or played by at least 6 actors In each case, there have been good stories along with some that Superman fans would rather forget. But the point is that Superman is allowed to try – and fail…repeatedly.

      Also:

      The same goes for Batman. Like Superman, you can point a number of different actors and a wide range of voice talent, but Batman has been allowed to try…and fail. Eventually, you’ll get a cinematic blockbuster if you keep trying.

      Smallville wrapped up 10 years of filming, despite the fact that it has been the worst show when it came to portraying the Superman mythos. But a new Superman movie is just around the corner. Superman has been a defective product since “The Quest for Peace,” but this does not stop him from launching yet another release, even after a mediocre movie release in Superman Returns.

      The bigger picture is that, once again, Wonder Woman is put back on the shelf. Once again, the image of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman is the only one that stands. It took Tim Burton and Michael Keaton a leap of bravery to change how Batman is viewed by the public, even though many people initially reacted very negatively to the change. And that was because the only image people had of Batman at the time was that of the TV show with Adam West and Burt Ward. Looking at Batman in of his incarnations today, you would never have known that.

      The thing is, you never know how the public will react to something unless you actually show up. And until that happens, everything is speculation. Wonder Woman loses another opportunity to tell her story. Life, contrary to ill-informed opinion, is a Beta-Test. But you have to show up to the battle in order to fight. And Wonder Woman has not.

      • Diakron79 says:

        “I don’t know what’s funnier:

        You condescending attitude or the fact that you missed the whole point of the article by about 10 light years. Your reading comprehension skills also leave much to be desired, because the “Hero” I was referring to was Wonder Woman, not David Kelley. Also, in your haste to show how smugly superior you think you are, you also apparently skipped over this tidbit:”

        I’m sorry you feel offended by my comment. 1st of all, I’ve read your points in regards to Batman & Superman’s franchises. Granted, both of them had a fair amount of pedigree exposed to the public for over 2 decades now. Both had their ups and downs in terms of quality…yes they were allowed to try and fail in their products, but that’s only the executives @ Time-Warner hold the mighty collective hand to allow it to be…but they shouldn’t. They allowed them to be “only” because those 2 characters are “males” , Wonder Woman is “not”.

        Ever since the Supergirl film got flopped. WB had a long track of not taking chances with superheroines more than superheroes only because they’re women. One can argue that shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer revitalized interest in the mid 90s, but she’s not a superheroine in any sense since her icon is the idea of an angsty feminist vigilante w/ issues. That’s what Joss Whedon had in store for WW when he was attached to the WW movie which remains in developmental hell for the time being & that’s a good thing.

        Yes, the average public weren’t eased w/ Burton’s Batman at first b/c of their mindset of the 1960s TV show, but little did they know that’s how Batman turned out to be in his Golden Age incarnation. Burton (who wasn’t a comic book fan) was faithful to the character & that’s a chance that’s deserved to be allowed, but ‘again’ …it was the executives’ call to allow it.

        Wonder Woman is a very different case because she’s not an angsty, dark vigilante that she was made to be in the comics of yesteryear. The average public’s mindset is Lynda Carter because she embodied the context WW in the comics gloriously well. Which is why I think it’s unfair in your position or for anybody’s position to tell people to let it go & give someone like D. Kelley a chance when the obvious is very clear that it was a train wreck waiting to happen. The public would’ve never kept up with it’s process if it weren’t for the World Wide Web.

        They detested their poor version only because they care about this superheroine since she’s symbolizes hope & optimism, sense of amazement, etc. That’s what this character is known for before and after the 70s TV show. Not only they are loyal fans, but they’re also loyal customers, so they had the right to be angry or be concerned about this development, so whose condescending who here w/ this “Give it a chance” rhetoric?

        Time-Warner & DC no longer takes WW seriously as a one-shot icon because of 1)they feel male dominance marketable & 2) they also remain in that ‘superhero deconstruction’ mentality that they feel is the 2nd thing that’s marketable which is now bland & detrimental compliments of Frank Miller & Alan Moore’s cultural impact in the 1980s. But it’s hard to tell them that when their chairs are bigger than ours. This is why they’ve been deviating her mythos poorly in the state of things.

        I do believe in change, but I also believe in change done right. Hollywood has looked the other way before and yet again…they seem to never learn from their mistakes, so they remain reckless & this is why I strongly disagree with your appeal to failure. We can’t dismiss production history if we don’t learn from our mistakes.

        As for life as a beta-testing thing–I beg to differ. . Life is a journey. Beta-testing is testing out a product to a limited audience as a way to moderate it’s bugs and make improvements before it gets an authorization for a nationwide release. But thanks to internet, it got beta-tested anyway to the whole audience & rejected it w/ no contest & NBC gave it the call to reject it. Back to the storage vault for now. From where I’m standing, that’s a good thing b/c after all the negative, illiterate crap WB animation & DC had been dissing on her mythos. WW is far from ready to return. For pop culture’s sake, I would rather have a non-WW movie or TV series than to have another WW that would damage her mythos any further.

        Again I apologize if I offended you. My comment was harsh & I should’ve toned it down. I just find this article kind of discomforting. I’m tired of certain folks waving out the “Give It A Chance”, “You’re Living In The Past”, “Let It Go” cards whenever a controversy festers out. I’ve been hearing this kind of rhetoric for a very long time & I find that patronizing, so again…who’s patronizing who here? Also, I honestly really don’t think you were ‘clear’ about what ‘hero’ you were referring to. The paragraph seems apparent it was in reference to Kelley & the actress he hired to perform. Not WW herself.

      • Heavy Armor says:

        You’re still not getting it.

        What I’m advocating is not an appeal for failure. It’s an appeal for risk. Because in the quest for the “The Perfect Plane” as you put it, you risk being forgotten completely with the passage of time.

        If you look at what people are talking about when it comes to Wonder Woman outside of the comic book industry, it all surrounds the show from the 1970s. When actresses like Megan Fox criticize the character, many of things she critiques stem from the 1970s portrayal of her character. When other actresses and writers talk about her, it is also based on her 1970s show. This is not because the show was a cinematic tour-de-force (in fact, far from it), but because for Wonder Woman, it was the only product in town. Fast-forward now 35+ years, and Wonder Woman has only one animated feature where she stands on her own. And people still talk about Lynda. I’m willing to venture that more than a few of fans outside of the comics would not be able describe Wonder Woman beyond her accoutrements (like the lasso, the plane, and the “satin tights”). And it would be because it stems from old memories of her 1970s show.

        Now look at Superman. Most people don’t even know about Kirk Alyn. When the buildup for the 1979 movie started, there was a reticence and initial reluctance about that movie, because George Reeves defined the character in the 1960s TV show The Adventures of Superman. Christopher Reeve (no relation), has since redefined the character for a new generation of fans. Chris’ portrayal was also a radical departure from George’s. It also has the distinction of being the first non-comic based Superman to show elements of his Kryptonian heritage. Now Dean Cain and Tom Welling have become the men with whom are closely associated with Superman, for good and for ill. This will probably change when Henry Cahill’s movie comes out. The same could be said for Batman. Michael Keaton’s portrayal was a radical departure from Adam West, but has since defined how Batman is portrayed on screens big and small, live and animated. The point is that Superman and Batman fans can look to multiple versions of the same character and call them their own personal favorite version.

        As such, criticisms of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns never stemmed from comparisons of Superman: The Movie or its sequels. Brandon Routh was never disparaged because he never sounded like Chris, Dean, Gerard, or George. Kate Bosworth’s (really poor) performance was not panned because she doesn’t compare to Margot Kidder or Teri Hatcher. Nolan’s Batman movies are not compared to Burton’s. Bale’s performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman are not disparaged through comparison to Kevin Conroy or Michael Keaton or Vil Kilmer. Ledger as the Joker is not compared to Nicholson, nor are neither compared to Ceasar Romero.

        But that is not the case when it comes to Wonder Woman. It all comes back to Lynda. Every review of Wonder Woman few appearances in media comes back to that photo. And it is because it is the only game in town. Eventually, WW fandom is going to have face up to that, because this is the shadow the prevents Wonder Woman (the franchise) from stepping out any further.

        They detested their poor version only because they care about this superheroine since she’s symbolizes hope & optimism, sense of amazement, etc. That’s what this character is known for before and after the 70s TV show. Not only they are loyal fans, but they’re also loyal customers, so they had the right to be angry or be concerned about this development, so whose condescending who here w/ this “Give it a chance” rhetoric?

        Let me tell you a story about a science fiction franchise back in the 1980s. In the middle of its movie run (the fourth movie was being filmed at the time of pitch), the studio wanted to create a new television program based on the franchise. The showrunner, who created the original version, was given the task to re-introduce the story in whichever fashion he saw fit. However, when word got out that the new show would not feature any of the old characters (this was first reported in the tabloid The National Enquirer), fandom howled in disgust worthy of a shore barrage of cannon shell. Even the original actors did not like the idea (mostly because it meant no additional paychecks, along with the feeling of being pushed aside). The first season of the show was not that great in terms of writing, but the ratings for the show were high enough to keep it going. As such, there was a foundation that could serve as a basis to be built upon further. The show eventually hits its stride in Seasons 3-5, resulting in another spin-off. Fandom for the original show, for the most part, has reconciled its initial feelings of hatred towards the first TV spinoff since.

        That show, by the way, was Star Trek: The Next Generation. And, this is why the howls of disgust over JJ Abrams version of Star Trek were not because people enjoyed Shatner, Nimoy, Doohan, and Nichols more, but because the story told was not that great. But even with critical panning, the Abrams revamp is getting a sequel.

        As far as the 1970s version of the Wonder Woman, that show had gone through several revamps. The 1974 TV movie was almost as poorly executed as “The Girl from UNCLE.” Season 1 was World War 2 based, Season 2 had suddenly fast-forwarded about 30 years, as a Diana Prince who was now working with Steve Trevor…junior. By the middle of season 3, it was clear that show had lost all momentum from its changes back in Season 2. It was being beaten soundly by another revamp Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Which is why I always find it strange that when people who criticize Wonder Woman’s attempts to come back to the screen also praise the old TV show.

        Fandoms, despite their own beliefs otherwise, are very fearful of change, especially when actors and actresses become entrenched. The longer the entrenchment, the harder it becomes to accept anything else. All one has to do is look at the online screeds for Mystery Science Theater 3000, when Joel Hodgson decided to leave the show and Mike Nelson, the series lead writer, took over as host. That war between Joel’s fans and Mike’s fans raged for years. That too, was based on the same ideals that you’ve espoused here: The protection of an ideal that, in reality, was not really there.

        Again I apologize if I offended you. My comment was harsh & I should’ve toned it down. I just find this article kind of discomforting. I’m tired of certain folks waving out the “Give It A Chance”, “You’re Living In The Past”, “Let It Go” cards whenever a controversy festers out. I’ve been hearing this kind of rhetoric for a very long time & I find that patronizing, so again…who’s patronizing who here?

        You’re patronizing me. That much is clear. I am not responsible for your actions, nor am I responsible for your reactions to what I write. Also, I am not responsible for what other commentary you have read. Your first comment on my blog, in this post, was very condescending and off-the-mark. Your response now comes off an attempt to walk some of it back, but you seem bent on wanting to blame others for your own faults as a justification for your initial attack.

        My other problem with your comments is not that you’re living in the past, but that you’re living with an ideal that does not exist. My original commentary is based more on the fact that criticism of David Kelley’s Wonder Woman is not based in whether the show can succeed on its own merits. Much of it stems not from the actual 1970s show, but based on what people believe that they remember of said show. The same can be said for Adrienne Palicki and the costume; far too much of the criticism of both actress and uniform are based on comparisons with the image that I posted above.

        There seems to be a palpable fear that if the next version of Wonder Woman doesn’t blow the doors off of whatever medium it is released in, then the WB will simply pull the plug on the Wonder Woman franchise. This has lead to a fear of failure. It also leads to an extremely defensive fandom, holding on to whatever has been considered a successful image of the character or show in question. Batman’s 1988 movie succeeded because Burton let go of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Neil Hefti’s theme song. Richard Donner did the same to George Reeves and Noel Neill. The James Bond franchise continuously lets go of their lead actor(s) and seems to redefine who and what James Bond is, even when it fails (and there have been some spectacularly bad ones throughout the decades). But the fact remains is that the image of those heroes has changed over the years.

        This cannot be said of Wonder Woman. And the longer this goes, the more inertia the franchise will suffer from.

        Realistically, I don’t have side in the actual fight regarding whether Wonder Woman deserves a relaunch, other than it should happen (in hands other than Joss Whedon, James Cameron, or JJ Abrams). Also, what has to be understood is that there is no obligation whatsoever for the audience to watch the show, so it has to be something that can hold a sustained and sustainable interest to a cross-section of viewers. Therefore, if you want Wonder Woman (the show or movie) to succeed, then Wonder Woman (the franchise) has to let go of the 1970s Wonder Woman show. Until this happens, there will be no chance for Wonder Woman to even get off the ground.

        I always give people who leave these kinds of comments an observation: If your first response to commentary that you do not agree with is to leave a railing screed, where name-calling and off-the-mark insinuations are paramount, then maybe you need to examine your own fandom.

  3. Diakron79 says:

    “You’re patronizing me. That much is clear. I am not responsible for your actions, nor am I responsible for your reactions to what I write. Also, I am not responsible for what other commentary you have read. Your first comment on my blog, in this post, was very condescending and off-the-mark. Your response now comes off an attempt to walk some of it back, but you seem bent on wanting to blame others for your own faults as a justification for your initial attack.”

    Most of my 2nd comment was an attempt of elaborating my feelings to why I’ve overreacted in this article. It was not a covert attempt of patronizing you any further.

    • Diakron79 says:

      “You’re patronizing me. That much is clear. I am not responsible for your actions, nor am I responsible for your reactions to what I write. ”

      Your self-righteous attitude is apparent. You are a pundit. You designed this article to arouse positive & negative feedbacks & I just gave them to you under my own volition. You wanted an argument, so don’t acting like I’m blaming you for controlling my actions.

      • Heavy Armor says:

        Do you proofread what you write before you lay your opinion bare on the internet for all to see?

        First you said this:

        Mister. I don’t know where the heck you’re getting this kind of idea from, but Mr. Kelley is NOT a hero sir.

        Along with:

        You’re advocating a free pass to David E. Kelley’s idea of Wonder Woman and let it fly in the air even if it’s apparent that it’s got a leak & let it crash & burn, then wait for the next perfect plane to soar w/ flying colors? I got news for you. That sort of thing is a perfect example of wishful thinking .

        When a cursory glance of the article advocated neither of these things. When I called you out on this, you responded with this:

        Not only they are loyal fans, but they’re also loyal customers, so they had the right to be angry or be concerned about this development, so whose condescending who here w/ this “Give it a chance” rhetoric?

        Which is why I responded to you with this:

        I am not responsible for your actions, nor am I responsible for your reactions to what I write. Also, I am not responsible for what other commentary you have read. Your first comment on my blog, in this post, was very condescending and off-the-mark. Your response now comes off an attempt to walk some of it back, but you seem bent on wanting to blame others for your own faults as a justification for your initial attack.

        You then turn around and say this:

        Most of my 2nd comment was an attempt of elaborating my feelings to why I’ve overreacted in this article. It was not a covert attempt of patronizing you any further.

        But then, 2 days later, you leave this:

        Your self-righteous attitude is apparent. You are a pundit. You designed this article to arouse positive & negative feedbacks & I just gave them to you under my own volition. You wanted an argument, so don’t acting like I’m blaming you for controlling my actions.

        In other words, you’ve walked back your half-baked apology on 5/22/11. Lovely. You called my commentary condescending because I have no wish to burn David Kelley in effigy. And since your commentary works on binary thinking here, I must therefore support David Kelley’s version and will defend it against anyone who hates it.

        Two things:

        One, your arrogance would be as astounding as your displayed ignorance if I really cared about either to the extent that you think I do. I proffered an opinion on how any review on David Kelley’s Wonder Woman was not based on its own merits, but what people perceived to remember about their memories of the late 1970s Wonder Woman show starring Linda Carter. If you left no comments regarding my post whatsoever, I would not have cared, because I do not write to “arouse” positive and negative feedbacks.

        Second, your responses had nothing to do whatsoever with the article. Instead, you not only made this personal, but you seemed to want to make this about me. You offer little discussion as to why you believe that my opinion on the commentary regarding David Kelley’s Wonder Woman is off-the-mark. Instead, it is insult and put-down, first of Kelley, then of Palicki, and then of me. Snark during a discussion never works to foster understanding. You missed the point of the article, ascribe positions to me that I’ve never articulated, and proceed to make excuses as to why you have little self-control over how you comment at places who offer differing opinions. Calling me a “pundit” does not justify your own behavior. And, yes, it says more about you than it does about me.

        And what is my crime? The offering of an opinion that is different from yours. And it isn’t even diametric opposition at that.

        So thanks for completely missing the broadside of a strip mall by a mile.

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