Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection


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Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:




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Movie

For those of you who have only been following super heroes for the last 20 years or so, there was a time when Diana Prince/Wonder Woman wasn’t a demigod with powers that could rival superman. Once upon a time she was an amazonian warrior and a 1970s icon of super heroes. I know we’re living in an age where Super Heroes are finally done justice due to the increases of technology, allowing for better costumes, CGI enhancement for their powers, and a litany of fans who rabidly will eat up whatever DC and Marvel put out. But the 1970s and early 1980s also had their go at the iconic super heroes, and DC once more was top of the heap. The 1950s The Adventures of Superman sort of started it all, but the 1970s was when the powers that be tried to bring more and more super heroes to the TV screen. Wonder Woman was one such attempt, and while it was 1970s cheese (all those old Super Hero shows from that era were cheese, as much as I love my nostalgia) it iconicized Lynda Carter for decades to come. So much so that when Gal Gadot was cast, there was enough fan outcry over the differences to actually cause a stir in the 2010s.

Following up The Adventures of Superman in the 1950s, and Adam West’s legendary performance as Batman in the 1960s, Wonder Woman takes giant cues from both those series, blending the seriousness of The Adventures of Superman with the campiness of Batman. The series is nowhere as goofy as Adam West’s Batman, but nowhere as straight forward and serious as George Reeves iteration of Superman, but the camp is most definitely present. If you watch one of the special features an interview with producer Douglas Cramer reveals that he was known as the “king of camp” back in the 1970s and fully reveled in that aspect of the show. The episodes (which are surprisingly long at 50+ minutes for each episode) are full of 70s cheese and whimsy, but still loveable fun at the end of the day.

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The show lasted longer than expected, but was also fraught with issues. You can definitely tell the behind the scenes writing squabbles that happened, as the show itself jolts from the World War II era of the first season (and of course the TV movie pilot) into 1970s present day for the 2nd and 3rd. The tone shifts wildly between the 1st and second season, with the camp factor being much higher in said first season. The 2nd and 3rd stabilized itself by that time, but also suffered from it’s incredible repetitiveness and predictability.

Wonder Woman suffered the fate of most 1970s super hero shows, and was canceled after 1 short season and 2 full length ones due to low viewer ratings (despite the fact that it would become a cult classic years later), even though it definitely outlasted the single season of The Green Hornet and the 1975 version of Shazam! (anybody else remember that cheese ball?), it still struggled enough in it’s final season to warrant being shut down by the power that be.

The show was designed as a feminist (at least 1970s feminism) outlet and the show plays rather intelligently with the subject matter. It doesn’t lambaste the viewer with long winded rants ala Supergirl, but rather smartly uses Diana to showcase female strengths, and expose some of the misogyny out in society. As such some of the villains definitely taken on an authoritarian vibe when they’re male, and uses that to amp up the excitement for when Wonder Woman beats their butts into the ground.




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :3.5stars:
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There are some pros and cons to this new boxset, but I think that the pros outweigh the cons enough to warrant a pleased enough reaction to this vs. the old DVD set. The first thing I noticed was that the 35mm show was DNR’d a good bit. Not enough to where it’s full on wax museum, but enough that it took the 35mm film stock and made it look like video tape material. The grain is heavily reduced and I noticed some soft facial textures as a result. The colors are generally well saturated although they suffer from some inconsistencies. Some scenes are cool and slightly desaturated, while others are almost OVER saturated, with neon shades of red and a light teal tinge. That sounds annoying from my description, but it’s not nearly as noticeable in motion. The inconsistencies are noticeable but not overly jarring, and the increased color saturation looks really well done most of the time. Fine detailing is OK, but the soft nature of the show and the DNR robs it of some of the detail it could have had. I saw no mention of a new master being struck, but the Warner Brothers press release does state that the show is “restored”, whatever that means, so I’m guessing some touch up work was done behind the scenes. All in all, there’s some negatives, some positives, and while the presentation will probably garner some controversy, is a moderate upgrade over the old DVD set we’ve had these years past.








Audio: :3.5stars:
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Sadly Warner has gone back to a habit that we though was long since gone in their Blu-ray TV boxsets, and that is giving the series a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track instead of a lossless encode. To be fair, the Dolby Digital Mono track is given a fairly beefy 192 kbps and sound rather good, but I’m pretty sure a nice boost in the bitrate and given lossless encoding would have sounded a bit more robust. Especially in the LFE department that is sorely lacking. Other than that, this is a very competent mix and sounds very clean and clear. No major audio distortions that I could hear, and the balance is excellent. It’s a simple 2.0 Mono track, and nothing can make it into a big and blustery Arrowverse track, but it is more than capable.




Extras: :1.5stars:
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• Audio commentary of the pilot movie by Lynda Carter & executive producer Douglas S. Cramer
• Audio commentary by Lynda Carter on episode, “My Teenage Idol is Missing”
• Featurette – Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective
• Featurette – Revolutionizing a Classic: From Comic Book to Television
• Featurette – Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Feminist Icon









Final Score: :3.5stars:


Wonder Woman: The Complete Series is a fun bit of super hero nostalgia and made an icon out of Lynda Carter (even though the original actress for the show as Cathy Lee Crosby, who was replaced by Carter), despite not becoming as legendary as Adam West’s Batman or George Reeves The Adventures of Superman. The Blu-ray set has it’s pros and cons with the video, but is a solid enough step up over the years old DVD boxset that Warner has had out for over a decade. Fun nostalgia watch.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner, Tom Kratochvil,
Creator: William Moulton Marston, Stanley Ralph Ross
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: NR
Runtime: 2956 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 28th, 2020
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Recommendation: Fun Nostalgia Watch

 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I remember watching this series as a kid. Will check it out for nostalgia. :)
 

Epoxy1

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When I was a kid I watched it and enjoyed it. I watched an episode as an adult years later and come to two conclusions. First, the show wasn't very good overall (campy as heck), and second, Linda Carter was smokin' hot in the 1970s. :)
 
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Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
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Location
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My AV System  
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When I was a kid I watched it and enjoyed it. I watched an episode as an adult years later and come to two conclusions. First, the show wasn't very good overall (campy as heck), and second, Linda Carter was smokin' hot in the 1970s. :)
yeah she was. She actually looks really great 40 years later too as she's the President in Supergirl.... I was shocked how good she till looked
 
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