The most talked-about new project of the TV pilot season – producer David E. Kelley’s new “Wonder Woman” starring Adrienne Palecki – was rejected by NBC and won’t be a part of the network’s new fall schedule to be announced Monday in New York.
NBC isn’t saying why it rejected the superhero series, but that’s not stopping industry observers from floating a number of theories.
For openers, audiences who saw the pilot at test screenings were apparently underwhelmed, according to Entertainment Weekly. NBC has long relied on such testing to try out new shows, but so-so responses from test audiences are not always fatal. In this case, though, it seems as if the test audiences were so thoroughly unimpressed that NBC felt the most prudent thing was to just say no, rather than invest more money in reconfiguring a show that may have been beyond repair.
The EW story also cites “blow back” – complaints and criticism – from the public (as reflected by the usual Internet chatter) about the style of the new “Wonder Woman” costume. Apparently, it’s not as blatantly patriotic as the star-spangled costume from the original comic book or the one so famously worn by Lynda Carter in the previous “Wonder Woman” series from the ’70s.
And while this might seem trivial, our take on the costume issue is that it’s not just about the costume. Kelley himself is well-known for implanting his liberal views in his TV shows, including in recent years “The Practice,” “Boston Legal” and “Harry’s Law” (which NBC will bring back next season). Perhaps NBC just wanted to avoid more Web-based “blow back” that would question Wonder Woman’s patriotism and complain about Kelley’s “agenda.”
We have our own ideas about why “Wonder Woman” didn’t make it, although it’s certainly possible that the show failed solely based on the shortcomings of its production. Things like that happen all the time. However, we like to think that maybe NBC has had enough of superheroes, superpowers and comic-book antics. After all, the network’s been dabbling in this stuff ever since “Heroes,” and these kinds of shows haven’t helped the network emerge from fourth place.
It seems to us that Wonder Woman was just one superhero too many for NBC.