Don’t miss this documentary that includes The Bionic Woman


SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2013

Wonder Women:
The Untold Story of American Superheroines


"Girls took back the word 'girls' by putting three r's in it."

                                    —Gloria Steinem, on the progress of feminism by the 90s



I have mentioned in this blog before that I was never really a huge fan of Wonder Woman. I always preferred characters drawn from a universe grounded in reality. For me, The Bionic Woman was never a sci-fi series. It was a great drama with a strong female lead—who also happened to be part cyborg. A “power” that I never considered completely outside the realm of possibilities.


But just because I never wanted to grow up and wear a bathing suit to work like Diana Prince, doesn't mean I wasn't anxious to see this new documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, because I couldn't wait to see how The Bionic Woman and Lindsay Wagner fit into this story, too. So yesterday I took advantage of an advance screening sponsored by my local PBS affiliate and Community Cinema.


Just wow. This was an wonderfully produced documentary, capturing the history of the feminist movement through the decades in comics, television and film, highlighting some of the more popular icons of our generation.


Our heroines in 70s television were blazing new territory, yet the progress seemed stymied by having to play the sex appeal card, too. Eighties female heroines evolved in a more masculine direction, 90s adopted more intellectual traits, and in our current era—we seem to be embracing all of these layers to define feminism today.


Yet these strong female role models—both then and now—are still largely being created by men, and women are still not being represented in gender-equal numbers in front of the camera or behind. I admit to having recognized this same minority representation in the number of websites/blogs devoted to The Bionic Woman television series that are created and written by women. (Ladies, where are you?)



Are you kidding? Of course I snuck my camera into the theater. It’s not often we get to see Jaime Sommers hit the big screen.



In this film, there were several clips of the Bionic Woman featured, and Ms. Wagner was interviewed as well as Lynda Carter. While their segments are relatively short, it's wonderful to see them honored for their contributions to this movement.


A few more items: I heart Gloria Steinem. I loved this music score. I loved that they mentioned one of my other all-time favorite television characters, Dana Scully from The X-Files, as an icon of the 90s.


Plus I also loved the way they mastered the end credits, mixing interesting comic book style graphics alongside a woman's true story of dressing in her Wonder Woman costume to attend an event across town, and feeling a bit embarrassed riding the public subway en route. Until she heard a blind woman calling for help.


And while it ended with this wonderful reminder of how there's a superheroine inside all of us, capable of doing kind human deeds every day; I wondered if the woman sitting a few rows behind me—who had refused to give up her aisle seat earlier to a lady who nicely asked if she could sit next to her friend in a wheelchair—felt the least bit embarrassed by her selfish actions.


I didn’t need bionic hearing to witness this disappointment in the human race, but I did somehow manage to follow MY superheroine's example, and resisted the urge to toss this ungracious villain out of the theatre.


Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, is directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (click here for the rest of the production team) and is scheduled to air on PBS stations on April 15th, 2013 as part of the series Independent Lens. Check your local listings... and DON'T miss it!







The Bionic Woman and the character of Jaime Sommers are © Universal Studios. This website is produced by a fan just for fun, and is in no way affiliated with, nor endorsed by, Universal Studios or the cast or crew of this series. No copyright infringement is intended.