Some of you might be wondering why I have yet to comment on the upcoming Wonder Woman tv show's costume... oh, who am I kidding, of course you haven't. But I've been saving up my bile for this subject, as I think that really, this is going to be providing a lot of material for the long haul here.
Not knowing what I mean? Well, it basically comes down to this.
Wonder Woman, or Diana as I'll call her to save on typing time, is meant to be one of the Big Three or Trinity of main superheroes in DC Comics, the other two consisting of Superman and Batman, but despite this she hasn't actually shown up that much in terms appearances outside of comics.
Now, I know that she has had SOME appearences in tv shows and movies. She was in 'Justice league Unlimited' for example, as well as the titular tv show with Lynda Carter and the animated movie made by Bruce Timm and co. But due to some legal jiggery pokery by her creator William Moulton Marston, it was fixed that she could only appear in adaptions where she was either the co-star or the main character. Presumably this was to prevent such instances of character mistreatment as Diana being placed in the role of the JSA's secretary when he joined the Justice Society of America way back in 1941.
Although this had the benefit of keeping Diana from being the damsel in distress for the guys on her team to come and rescue... it had the side-effect of her getting less media coverage, as, come on, no one wants to watch an action movie or show with a female character right? Or at least that was the case until the 1970s, where the resurgance of feminism that caused the wave of shows such as 'Charlie's Angels' and 'Cagney and Lacey' allowed the producers to have enough precedent to go forth with the aforementioned Lynda Carter show.
Skipping forward a bit yet again, we get to the early 2000s, and after the success, and failure of the numerous Superman and Batman movies, Warner Brothers finally thought that it would be a good time to make a Wonder Woman film. So the producer Joel Silver approached Todd Alcott to write the screenplay for said movie... only for Alcott to pass it over eventually, leading the task of writing a screenplay to go between Jon Cohen, Becky Johnston, Philip Levens, Laeta Kalogridis, Buffy creator Joss Whedon and a host of other people with no actual screenplay or script manifesting.
What can be the problem here? Is writing a Wonder Woman so hard that the brains of talented and experienced writers implode over the weight of the task?
Of course not, that's idiotic.
According to Joss Whedon the problem is that,
"Besides [Wonder Woman's] great origin story, there's nothing from the comics that felt right 100 percent, no iconic canon story that must be told. Batman has it made — he's got the greatest rogues gallery ever, he's got Gotham City. The Bat writes himself. With Wonder Woman, you're writing from whole cloth, but trying to make it feel like you didn't. To make it feel like it's existed for 60 years, even though you're making it up as you go along. But who she, and what the movie, is about, thematically, has never been a problem for me. But the steps along the way, it could be so easy for them to feel wrong. I won't settle. She wouldn't let me settle."http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1562057,00.html
Ah, so having a character with 60, 70 years of backstory etc. means there isn't enough material avaliable to make a movie, gotcha.
Naturally this kind of bizarre reasoning isn't occupying the minds of every writer in the industry, as in 2009 Warner Bros released an animated Wonder Woman movie as part of their new DC Universe line of animated movies. In the hands of Bruce Timm, Lauren Montgomery, Gail Simone and Michael Jelenic they actually came with something that was both critically acclaimed and made a fair bit of money too.
It could be here that it's probably important to point out that animation has a number of important advances over a live-action production, particularly when dealing with a character like Wonder Woman.
1. Animation allows you to do things that in live-action would just look ridiculous, or would be just too plain expensive to effectively pull off. This is something that 'the Last Airbender' learned the hard way, as where bending came off as naturalistic and part of the universe within the cartoon, in the movie... it looked stupid. And the Ocean Spirit kaiji thing was too expensive to do, so it got swapped with a big wave instead.
2. As a direct-to-DVD movie made by people with already a lot of history in the fields of comics and cartoon, pretty much everyone who would buy the Wonder Woman DVD would know what the character is like and the universe she operated in etc. So the deal with the suspension of disbelief can be by-passed, because, hey, we know all of this already.
If you're gonna get money from nerds, it's generally a good idea to make sure what you're selling is what nerds would want to buy or see. Same reasoning applies to computer games, comics themselves etc.
When they're instead going to be applying to make a live-action tv show or movie, they've got the opposite deal going on. They're going to be showing a lot of this stuff to people who aren't familiar with it, and thus may not be entirely willing to let some of the things in universe slide or feel that they have to change things to make them more appealing/less confusing to the average audience member.
And thus, to use examples from 'the Last Airbender' again, you have to remove Eastern religion and replace it with Christian symbolism, as they might not be familiar with Buddhism, Hinduism and Chinese folklore; compress a half dozen or more episodes of plot and subplots into a two minute voice-over, because they don't have the time to cover everything in a 90 minute movie etc. etc.
Where am I going with this? Well, when approaching the Wonder Woman tv show, they now had a number of the problems that I discussed above. The movie is introducing a lot of characters and lot elements that the audience might not get, so they're having to change them, so rather than being an Amazon Princess who moves to "Man's World" to spread peace and punch monsters from Greek Myths, she's now a the owner of a corperation who superheroes on the side etc. etc.
And then we get to the skewed gender issues that are beginning to surface as we approach this film... hoo boy.
Look, I likes boobs as much as the next guy of the hetrosexual persuasion, but when you're making a tv show about a character that is considered to be one of the, if not THE, main feminist characters in fiction, auditions with scripts like these ain't gonna get that point across well.
Hrrm. There's humanising your character, and then there's making them look massively out of character. Admittedly this was just from one of the auditions for the TV show, but it's still kind of worrying that material like that would be used in the first place. It's like a teenage boy trying to write a female character, but is unable to add angst without a subtext he could wank to. *Annoyed sigh*
And then we come to this, the actual costume that they'll be using in the show,
*Sigh some more* Look, I know that typically superheroine's costumes are meant to be sexualised, a side-effect of the idea that only guys read comics, but really couldn't they have come up with something that doesn't look so much like a sex costume thing?
A number of people have complained that this costume doesn't have dignity, or look Greek, to which people have responded that the original costume doesn't have or do any of those things.
Fair enough, I say, but some artists, like Darwyn Cooke for example, do manage to pull of the dignified, Ancient Greek look very well.
Soo, where am I going with this?
Well, I guess that somehow possible that the Wonder Woman TV show might be good... But so far the evidence doesn't suggest so. We'll have to wait and see, I suppose.