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Is there a word for the opposite of anticipation? Is dread really the word I’m looking for? Whatever the correct term would be for what I’m feeling, Thursday’s casting news for NBC’s Wonder Woman brought that feeling out in spades. Why isn’t anyone else getting DC Comics deja vu about the car crash this project is turning into?
Here’s the thing: For a while there, I really wanted to be enthusiastic about David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman. Sure, the script doesn’t look that good, but it’s being reworked, and there are many shows that have terrible pilots and then turn into pretty good series in the end. Also, I have a love-hate relationship with Kelley’s work that left me hoping that, just maybe if Kelley could get over his love affair with whimsical cuteness and letting his politics — which I happen to agree with — overwhelm his writing, something interesting might come out of his attempting to get outside his comfort zone a little with an Amazon warrior princess. And then … and then it turned into Catwoman.
You remember Catwoman, right? 2004 movie starring Halle Berry and Sharon Stone? Complete and utter train wreck that everyone involved, right down to DC Comics themselves, like to pretend never happened?
Consider the evidence: Catwoman‘s lead, Halle Berry, was considered an unexpected choice for the role who doesn’t exactly match the picture most people had in their minds of the character, but nonetheless, someone who wasn’t necessarily a bad choice — just like Adrianne Palicki, the lead in Wonder Woman. Catwoman was campy as all get-out, unlike the tone of the comics at the time, and Kelley’s Wonder Woman — exec by day, crimefighter by night and a woman who just can’t get her love life in order no matter what! — is … well, just the same. And then there’s the villain.
I’d be the first person to say that Liz Hurley is no Sharon Stone. For one thing, Liz is known more for her fashion choices than her career choices — although, sure, beyond Basic Instinct and Casino, I’d be hard pressed to remember too many of Sharon’s career choices — and for another, at least Sharon can act. But both starring as the villains in their respective projects just seems like stunt casting, the idea of “Let’s get these two hot women fighting! There can be a catfight at some point! Awesome!” instead of … well, anything else, like whether or not they make sense for the role or seem credible as über bosses or whatever. Sensationalism over substance.
More than anything else, the casting of Liz Hurley convinces me that Wonder Woman will be cheesy camp, lazily substituting cattiness and familiarity for anything worthy of the character and her history. I’ve been disappointed by Catwoman before, and don’t really need to go through that again with Wonder Woman, you know?