If each decade of television had a 'defining' super-hero series (George Reeves' 'Superman' in the '50s, Adam West's 'Batman' in the '60s), Lynda Carter's 'Wonder Woman' was certainly the '70s series, and, in many ways, "Wonder Woman - The Complete First Season" is one of the best comic book adaptations to ever appear on the small screen. Taking a major risk by setting the action in WWII (when the character was first introduced in print), after a campy few episodes (aired on television as one-hour 'specials'), the level of silliness was reduced, and a sophistication introduced that makes the season still entertaining, over thirty years later.
Much of the credit for the series' success must go to the extraordinary Ms. Carter; buxom and statuesque, she 'filled' the bullet-bra costume astonishingly well, yet more importantly, she possessed innocence as well as beauty, and her dazzling smile succeeded in keeping the character 'family-friendly', despite the provocative garb. Add to this her impressive acting skills, and you had an ideal spokesperson for feminists, sincere but non-threatening. As with Reeves and West, in her 'alter ego', Navy Yeoman Diana Prince, she displayed little difference in characterization from her 'Wonder Woman' persona, relying on glasses and hairstyle to 'fool' her co-workers; while this strains credibility, it was actually done for the audience's benefit, to simplify things for viewers unfamiliar with the comics.
Carter's co-star, Lyle Waggoner, as boss and friend, Major Steve Trevor, is also remarkably good in his role, if a bit stereotyped in the 'heroic' mold. Wisely, the producers gradually eliminated the romantic subtext of their relationship (saying it was difficult to sustain, in a weekly series); scenes of her dreamily gushing on about how "wonderful" he was never rang true, and seemed awkward, at best. In able (if superficial) support, Richard Eastham (as Trevor's War Department boss), and Beatrice Colen (as Prince's 'Plain Jane', romantically frustrated co-worker), provided stability, and additional 'grounding' for the WWII era.
While the wartime setting would ultimately prove too limiting (with the Nazis over-used as the weekly villains...weren't we fighting the Japanese and Italians, as well?), and subsequent seasons would move the action to present-day, first-season writers did attempt to come up with unique 'spins' on standard comic book plots (a "Day the Earth Stood Still" alien visit, machines to create earthquakes, Pavlovian experiments to create a gorilla 'hit' man, etc.), and the time period did provide some novel scenarios (a plot to steal cattle intended for the army...guest-starring legendary Roy Rogers...and another episode involving a jet plane prototype). Certainly, the most talked-about episodes featured young Debra Winger, at the start of her career, as Wonder Girl, Diana's baby sister (with the wonderful Carolyn "Addams Family" Jones as the Amazon Queen).
As a whole, "Wonder Woman - The Complete First Season" is a lot of fun, at a really terrific price, and a great introduction to the series and it's irreplaceable star!