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Today in things that make us scream incoherently

Oh No They Didn’t! NBC Recycles Failed Wonder Woman Pilot Costume On Lois Lane

You may think that sounds like the most ridiculous title in the world and you’d be right. This is really happening. Smallville’s Lois Lane, Erica Durance, will be sporting Adrianne Palicki’s failed Wonder Woman pilot outfit when she guest stars on David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law. We are not amused. Hit the jump for the reveal. 

You may remember we brought you news last month that Durance would be guest starring on the NBC dramedy, Harry’s Law. She was set to play “a psychologically infirm woman who retreats into the persona of the DC Comics heroine to help wreak revenge on perpetrators of domestic abuse.” I was already skeptical of Kelley going into Wonder Woman territory again, as well as the concept of her role, but this just takes the Amazon cake.

TV Guide spoke with the actress about her role. She said it was easier to play a “sort of” Wonder Woman rather than the real deal because she probably wouldn’t be judged as harshley. “As an actress, getting to put on the suit and play Wonder Woman was fantastic and then I got this whole other layer because of the way David E. Kelley had written it, to ground it in this kind of humanistic viewpoint, which was lovely,” she said also adding that putting on the costume was daunting. ”Partially because having been in the comic world for a while now, I’m really very respectful of the people that love this character. I do take it very seriously.  As a side note, just to be light about it, any woman wearing tight pants is not super excited the first time she puts them on. [Laughs] I wasn’t exactly, you know, tight pants- or underwear-ready.”

And yes, there’s more. “The best part is the corset, believe it or not, because it gives you a tiny little waist, making you sit up really straight. I would say the most uncomfortable part is tight, stretchy pants because, well, you know what you feel like when you’re wearing tight, stretchy pants. You just have to be careful everything is appropriate,” she said. “I’m very grateful for the pants. I know that people were very excited about the underwear and seeing them. To be quite frank, I don’t know if I could’ve done the underwear justice at this point in time and it might have been more upsetting for people to see me in them than to not, so I think the pants are a safe bet for me.”

I can’t…I just…I can’t. Let’s put Durance’s self-consciousness aside for a moment. I see what you think you did there NBC. You and Kelley think it was a cute nod to your high profile project. “We’ve already got Lois Lane! Let’s put her in that Wonder Woman costume, fans will love it!” No. No, they won’t. First of all, this just looks lazy to me. You have costume designers working for you and I’m sure they would love the chance to design a Wonder Woman outfit. Instead, you reuse something from a project everyone hated. Secondly, everyone hated your Wonder Woman project. We do not have good feelings about it. You are just making us angrier that you failed to bring one of our favorite characters to life and squandered a huge opportunity. This just feels like a slap in the face to fans.

End rant.

You may recall, Durance put on a Wonder Woman-esque costume back in her Smallville days when they dressed her up as an “Amazon Princess” for a convention episode. Here’s the side by side comparison of her look from Harry’s Law with Palicki.

Durance also told TV Guide she’s not really trying to get away from genre work after Smallville. “I just believe things come your way that are meant to come your way and you’ll know when you see it whether you want to do it or not. I think that most of us actors are put in a box of sorts. We’re labeled,” she said. “You can do your best to step outside of that a little bit here and there and have some fun with it, but you also have to understand that and embrace it and enjoy it.Personally, I’m just grateful to work again.

(via DC Women Kicking Ass and Straightened Circumstances)

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  • Whitney Drake

    The only good thing about this is that the cups of the corset actually fit Erica Durance. I could never understand why they tried to make Adrianne Palicki’s breasts fall out of them (it just made it look cheaper than the shiny vinyl already did).

    As far as David E Kelley goes, I think you’re giving him too much credit.  He probably thought, I already have a Wonder Woman costume.  Let’s just reuse it.  Nobody will notice- since he thought nobody would realize his WW show was nothing like WW.

  • Anonymous

    Heck, if she’s supposed to be emotionally unstable, the costume shouldn’t look so professional, no?  Like more hand-made, or an off-the-rack halloween costume would make more sense.
    They’re just being in-jokey and cute by using the custume, and making sure she looks as hot as possible.

    Who knows, maybe there’s a line in the episode where someone says “And what’s what’s with the pants? I thought Wonder Woman wore shorts.”

  • ainok

    That outfit is so tacky and shoddy looking. Sheesh.

  • Heather Harris

     I was just about to say the same thing, that the ONE decent thing is that it fits her better.

  • Anonymous

    As far as a character retreating into a super-heroic persona in order to deal with their personal issues, I’ve seen that before–possibly on another Kelley show–so there’s nothing new there.

    But as far as reusing an old costume goes, I don’t see anything wrong with that at all. Studios have warehouses full of costumes that get reused on different productions all the time. Not usually this high-profile, but still… I wouldn’t be surprised if Kelley’s costume team is the same for as it was for the WW pilot. Kelley’s been known to team with people he likes for different projects.

    Just out of curiosity, did the Wonder Woman pilot ever air? Was it ever screened for the masses or put on DVD? I know it’s pretty much universally reviled among the fan communities, but I don’t think I know of anyone who’s actually seen the whole thing.

  • Whitney Drake

    The WW pilot didn’t air on TV or go to DVD.  I believe it was canceled before they could even finish the VFX for the pilot.  The only people I heard of that saw it outside of those who work for NBC were people who got their hands on the network screeners.  But it wasn’t many.

    I do agree about recycling costumes being common- I’ve seen particular jackets I’ve liked pop up across shows.  But it is odd to reuse such a high profile costume so soon without any alterations at all.

  • Chuck Wells

    I have a bootlegged copy of the Palicki Wonder Woman pilot. There were certainly elements of the failed Kelley TV show that weren’t very well thought out, always the case with adaptations of comic book characters, but in my opinion Palicki would have been fine in the role. 

  • David Marshall

    I really don’t see the big deal. Studios own their intellectual property; they can do what they want. From their perspective, it’s just leveraging assets from a failed TV show. FYI, your side-by-side photo proves them right: Erica looks A LOT better than Adrianne.

  • Anonymous

    Of course they can do what they want. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. :)

    Also, proves them right in what sense?

  • Matthew Lane

    “Secondly, everyone hated your Wonder Woman project. We do not have good feelings about it. You are just making us angrier that you failed to bring one of our favorite characters to life and squandered a huge opportunity. This just feels like a slap in the face to fans.”

    Jill, thats an appeal to majority: Everyone did not in fact hate the Wonder Woman pilot. There are roughly 6.984 billion people living on the earth right now… I can say with complete assurity that at least one of them didn’t hate it… I can say this because i didn’t hate it… I was indifferent to it, but i lacked for “hate.”

    The project failed because it was a lackluster project, something that happens to new tv series all the time: The fact that shes one of “YOUR” favourite characters, doesn’t change the fact that its failure to catch tv execs interest is par for the course for many a TV show… Many of which are based on someones “favourite” franchise.

    If this feels like a slap its a sign you are being overly sensitive: Its not a slap, its not an insult, its just an effective use of a prop they already had. Why waste part of the budget making a new WW costume, when they already had a perfectly servicable one sitting in storage. In fact the reusing of props is not new, its something every show does. Have you ever wondered why ever section of the flight of stairs in Big Bang Theory is identical all except for a few props used else where in the series? Or are you like me & didn’t notice till someone pointed it out to you?

  • Petty Vendetta

    I’m all for recycling

  • Katrina Hill

    Interestingly, Durance looks much better in the costume than Palicki did.

  • Francesca M

    OH FFS.

  • Bettina M.

    I do agree it’s a silly choice, especially when the costume was generally regarded as tacky and cheap-looking by most fans. It really is a terrible costume.
    And yes, Erica Durance does look much better in it!

  • Daniel M. Clark

    I never thought the costume was bad. I thought the actress wearing it wasn’t right for the role. I thought the set pictures I saw didn’t look quite right. I thought that the story they concocted for the character (CEO of a company or something?) was horrendous. The show would have tanked hard… but I never thought the costume looked bad.

    I’m a comics fan and collector of 27 years, and I like the pants. Yeah, I said it. The pants make more sense and just plain look better.

  • Raina DaCosta

    I don’t understand the problem with this.

  • Teresa Jusino

    I have no problem with the costume.

    I have a problem with that seeming like a really dumb idea for a character. It seems like jumping on the geek bandwagon for no good reason. Argh.

  • Matthew Lane

    Actually i state a preference for Wonder Womans short lived “bike shorts” period, but i didn’t hate this costume either.

  • Matthew Lane

    Theres a very good reason to jump of the geek bandwagon… Its called Geek Chic’

    Unfortunately WE are whats hot at the moment.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    You criticize her generalities and then attach your argument that “it’s just an effective use of a prop they already had.” Good job, there, Professor Xavier, using your mind powers to get inside Kelley’s thought process. 

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    We’re not. We’re most certainly not. Our money, though, is very spicy.

  • Brandon Marshall

    Wow, Erica Durance doesn’t have a thought in her head. Did she really just talk for a paragraph + about her tight pants? Good thing T&A never goes out of style.

  • Matthew Lane

    What? that doesn’t make sense? how is it some sort of mind power to see its an effective use of something? Is it mind powers for me to say that you didn’t wake up this morning & walk down to the shops naked & shoeless to purchase new clothes and shoes… Because its an effective use of the clothes & shoes you already possess, to wear thiose clothes or shoes? Or am ui somehow magically reading your mind now?

  • Matthew Lane

    Oh no, its “US” thats hot… Unfortunately its a sexified, ramped up version of us & not  actually us. From Chuck through Beauty & the Geek.

  • Sidney Tucker

    I have no problem with the costume.  Has anyone read the new DCU?  I find it tacky that it would be recycled in this way.  I was looking forward to the new WW show.  Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Trinity.  As long as the producers didn’t bring Steve Trevor back, it might have worked.


    Does she have a brain? she seems like a bimbo

  • Anonymous

    I really don’t see the problem here. An unaired pilot would hardly be “high-profile” to viewers of “Harry’s Law.”

    As others have noted production companies reuse props from storage all the time. “Starship Troopers” armor in “Firefly”, anyone?

  • John Atkin

    How can you judge something without even seeing it first? The main issue you seem to have is that “Lois Lane” is playing the character of Wonder Woman. Well guess what? That isn’t really Lois Lane. That is Erica Durance, a very talented actress, who is playing a part. Her part in Smallville was probably a nod to the DC fans out there, but really, what is wrong with that? She looks great in the costume, and as we saw in Smallville, Erica is good at playing strong characters. Even if this is a comedy, I think you are going to see a really great performance from her. So seriously, try not to judge until you actually see the episode. You might feel a little silly afterwords for being so harsh.

  • Anonymous

    Never said I didn’t like “Lois Lane” playing “Wonder Woman.” But thanks for playing.

  • Jason Smith

    really the tacky pants “Look better” and “make more sense” than say a bathing suit or the original, a skirt? Well first of all, “looks better” is relative. The current Wonder Woman costume is well.. vastly overwrought. It’s too much about all these stupid little details and it took away the beauty in the simplicity of the previous costume. Second, how do skin tight pants make more sense than the bathing suit or a skirt? Because they restrict movement more? Wonder Woman can no longer move as fluidly since she has fabric that will prevent her from doing high kicks and well most moves that require high flexibility.

    And I love how no one has mentioned (at least not that I’ve seen) is that the SUPPOSED reason for the redesign is to “Keep Wonder Woman from popping out” as Straczynski stated, but yet.. she’s wearing the same type of top and now magically no one is worried she’s going to pop out? Because she’s got PANTS? (let’s not forget that a real woman wore the Wonder Woman costume and managed to keep both of her girls restrained for 3 whole seasons).

    Of course none of the fans of the new costume want to talk about the fact that there is not a single major male hero from Superman and Batman all the way to Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, or even Hawkman that have had such a vast redesign in their classic costume. Not a single one has been completely broken down and take back to the beginning and literally no aspect of the original costume still exists.

  • Christine McManus

    There’s actually a pretty cool site dedicated to recycled costumes. Most a re period piece type, but still cool to see how they alter some of them!

  • John Atkin

    Oh really, Jill? The tone of your post seems to strongly say otherwise. It isn’t too hard to read between the lines of what is written. Posting a quote from Erica Durance, and then cutting into that quote to add a snarky “And yes, there’s more…”, seems like a put down towards the actress to me.

    You also say:
    “…I see what you think you did there NBC. You and Kelley think it was a cute nod to your high profile project. “We’ve already got Lois Lane! Let’s put her in that Wonder Woman costume, fans will love it!” …”

    So yes, I think you do have some issues with Erica Durance playing a “character” who is wearing the Wonder Woman costume, because you can’t separate her from the character from Smallville. But thanks for playing ;)

  • Daniel M. Clark

    First, if you think that none of the male characters’ costumes have been messed with as much as WW’s, then you haven’t been paying attention. Green Arrow’s redesign kept only the color of his original look, everyone is wearing armor that never has before, Roy Harper still has red hair but that’s the only thing about him that’s the same, and every single Teen Titan has been dramatically redesigned. Deathstroke? They kept the color scheme and the half mask, but it’s armor now.

    Wonder Woman, the only thing they changed was – literally – the pants. And in the New 52, they ditched the pants anyway. Her costume in the books is 90% of the original.

    As for the practicality of the pants… are you seriously suggesting that someone with Amazonian-level strength can’t do a high kick in a pair of stretchy pants? In a medium where Elongated Man and Plastic Man get to wear clothes, your argument is that Wonder Woman can’t do a kick wearing pants?

    Would you go so far as to say that Batman shouldn’t wear pants then? After all, how can he effectively fight crime if he has “fabric” holding him back? Maybe all the characters, male and female alike, should stop wearing pants. And what about shirts? Surely if the fabric keeps them from kicking, the fabric restraining their arms keeps them from punching effectively. Let’s do away with shirts – okay, sleeves. We can’t have nudity after all. From now on, it’s vests and underwear only for all superheroes, so that they all have complete range of movement without “fabric” to hold them back.

    Sounds reasonable.

    You don’t like the look of the pants, fine. But you sound foolish when you play the practicality card. Just say you don’t like them and move on.

    As for JMS, I never read anywhere that the reason for the redesign was to keep her breasts better restrained. If he said that, then clearly the redesigned failed on that point. But I don’t believe that was the sole purpose of the redesign.

  • Anonymous

    Nope, wrong again. “And yes, there’s more” = yes, she talked more about the costume, not just that.

    “already got Lois Lane” = my thoughts on what the creators were thinking when making the decisions

    Please stop trying to read my mind. I think Erica Durance is wonderful. 

  • John Atkin

    Well, I’m glad you think that. Nevertheless, I would give the episode a shot and see what you think before judging it too harshly in advance. You could be surprised.

    And hey, you did try to read the minds of the NBC Executives in your Blog. I guess I’m just following your example ;)

  • Anonymous

    In the first episode of Adventures of Superman, Jor-El wears a recycled Flash Gordon costume.

  • Christopher Sanders

    The pilot is available on the internet and at most conventions where vendors sell bootleg DVDs. 

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    “It’s just an effective use…” leaves no room for any other possibility, and I think you would be mistaken not to consider the possibility of self-promotion being another likely outcome of this particular effective use. OR other reasons. Smugness, maybe.

  • Matthew Lane

    Sorry adam but those are called Attribution Errors Bias. Attribution Error Bias is a cogntivie bias that affects the way we determine who or what was responsible for an event or action. Most prevelent is when one ascribes to a a person the causal force of an event rather then a situational causal event.

    What would the person in question have to be smug about? Whats he promoting, his failure? He made a pilot that wasn’t picked up by a network… Thats like being smug or promoting the you suffer from E.D, or came in second last in a race.

  • electrasteph

    Agreed about Palicki – I thought she was fine; the problem for me was Kelley and the writing.

  • electrasteph

    Having worn all of these options at one time or another, I’d prefer to fist-fight with people in the pants, myself.

  • Cindy Womack

    Im unclear as to the point of the post. Its in instance where if a blog is to serve as an article for public consumption like a newspaper or magazine it could benefit from more oversight by an editor.
    The plot of this episode (and possibly the casting) does seem to trade on geek chic but also mimics the real life “adventures” of a man arrested after dressing as a superhero and harrassing people.

    And see the quotes removed from teh article of origin we dont know if the actress was asked to elaborate further on her issues with corsetry and tight pants. If it is indeed the same costume from the WW pilot the photos suggest it was not built for her admittedly slim frame hence why she may have concerns

  • Anonymous

    Where did you get that and can you upload it onto movies jojo. The network had no right not to air it. Just like the rant says, David E. Kelley was the perfect writer for Wonder Woman especially if it also like Ally McBeal.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with you Jill! It would have been great to have David Kelley write Wonder Woman. It would not have been a mainstream comic heroe, but a real person! He has such a unique way of looking at things to. I am actually hoping this is another pilot to gauge people’s interest in the Wonder Woman project, but more than likely it is David Kelleys way of slamming NBC for canceling the project. Any show but David E Kelley is good obviously, but to take on Wonder Woman would have been amazing. But I think it is against the law for good shows to be on NBC. The West Wing was good for four years so NBC had to act fast and fire Arron Sorkin from the show so it would be as bad as Law and Order. Studio 60 which was also Arron Sorkin was cancelled after one season. But Law and Order has been on as long as I can remember five nights a week and people are dumb enough to watch it and even like it. Big surprise in a mainstream unimaginative show last forever in a high blind comformist society. The Firm is a great show by the way and smart. NBC will be sure to get rid of that soon. Let them have David Kelley! You, Lukas Reiter, and John Grisham are the only people on NBC with brains, so don’t think you will last. If you don’t believe me ask Arron Sorkin.