This has to be the highest-profile effort to bring Wonder Woman to television: One of TV’s best-known creators, The Practice‘s David E. Kelley, has come on board to write and produce a new series project about the female superhero. The project, from Warner Bros Television where Kelley is based, and Warner Bros’ DC Entertainment, will be taken out to the networks shortly. Kelley, who has created several female centered shows like Ally McBeal, has wanted to tackle a contemporary take on the World War II-era Amazon. He recently met with the DC team who also have been looking for ways to launch a new Wonder Woman TV franchise.
The comic book Wonder Woman character has evolved significantly since she first appeared in a 1941 issue of All Star Comics and recently underwent a controversial makeover. Details on Kelley’s TV series are being kept under wraps, and it is not clear if the new Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince will be the old familiar Wonder Woman or the redesigned reboot announced with great fanfare this year by DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee that looks like she’s ready for Goth Day at the Galleria. (DC Comics Has Ruined Wonder Woman!) Or whether she’ll keep her signature powers and weapons, including her Lasso of Truth, her indestructible bracelets, her tiara and her invisible airplane.
Wonder Woman has presented a challenge both for feature and TV creators. That’s probably because she is the most famous female superhero in the testosterone-dominated comic world. And because she also is a big feminist icon. The most successful screen adaptation of the Wonder Woman comic books was the TV series The New Adventures of Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter in the title role, which aired from 1975-1979, first on ABC and then on CBS. Carter has since become synonymous with the character. That will certainly present a challenge in casting the role if the project goes to pilot.
On the feature side, a Wonder Woman film has been in development hell for a decade at Warner Bros, with Joss Whedon at one point attached to write and direct for producer Joel Silver. In May, Warner chairman and CEO Barry Meyer confirmed that a new Wonder Woman feature is in development. There has been a concerted effort on part of Time Warner lately to better mine the DC properties across different platforms. The film division is expected to announce a slate of DC movies by the end of the year that would probably include Wonder Woman.
Warner Bros TV has brought DC characters to the small screen before: most recently with the CW’s Superman-themed Smallville, which is in its 10th and final season, and Fox’s Human Target, which returned for a second season. A notable recent effort to launch a new Wonder Woman series came a decade ago with Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman creator Deborah Joy LeVine as the writer.