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New Wonder Woman's duds have people talking

What's everybody talking about? Well, it's not the "bombshell development" that threatens the upcoming wedding on the season finale of Little Mosque on the Prairie (next Monday, CBC, 8 p.m.). I can tell you that for a fact.

And it's not the fact that Larry King keeps going on and on and on (and on) about Piers Morgan. The possibility that Larry King wants to drive a stake through the heart of his successor is about as surprising as 9 p.m. following 8:30 p.m. on the nightly TV schedule. Nor is it Charlie Sheen. The only people tickled about talking up the Charlie Sheen situation are the Fox network and CBS. Fox wants to cash in on the guy's weirdness and CBS wants to salvage some moolah from the shenanigans.

What everybody is talking about is ... the outfit worn by the new Wonder Woman. I spoof you not. There's uproar and intense debate.

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See, NBC is making a pilot for a new version of Wonder Woman. This version is in the hands of David E. Kelley, who gave the world Ally McBeal and Boston Legal. It stars one Adrianne Palicki as the superhero lady who flies through the air and catches no-goodniks. Or whatever. NBC hasn't actually announced that it will air a new Wonder Woman series but, you know, the TV racket never saw an old idea it could not recycle. Especially if it involved a bosomy woman in a tight-fitting outfit.

Anyway, a photo of Palicki as Wonder Woman was released last week. To a shocked world, the following was revealed - Palicki has an enormous bust, skinny arms and legs and - wait for it - instead of boots and a teensy little skirt she's wearing tight leggings and boots.

Further, the signature stars and stripes of the American flag do not appear across Palicki's tiny little middle. According to Entertainment Weekly, this "de-emphasizes the patriotism and seems to play up the comic's Greek mythology." Right on.

At this point in today's epistle, we change course. This happens, as constant readers whose eyes are dizzy from rolling around will attest.

The iconography of Wonder Woman is something to take seriously. The comic-book character was created in the 1940s, an emblem of both female strength and staunch U.S. patriotism. In the 1970s, the figure was embraced by the fledgling American feminist movement as an illustration of female power. Wonder Woman was seen as a welcome warrior woman, a vigilante tough chick whose existence might encourage girls and young women to see physical strength and heroism as an aspirational thing.

Along the way, some things get forgotten about Wonder Woman. The lasso she wears that hints at some kind of bondage fetish. The fact that, as the comic-book character was redrawn over the decades and then appeared on TV portrayed by Lynda Carter, the figure's body seemed to slim down to frightening thinness and the bust got ever larger. Oh, and the fact that the original, patriotic figure was an instrument of an American imperialist ideology.

So here we are in the second decade of the 21st century and Wonder Woman re-emerges. After Buffy and Xena, a new Wonder Woman is a new kind of representative of female empowerment. Or is she? Kelley took a lot of criticism for packing Ally McBeal with stick-figure actresses. Given the attention paid to the pilot, we're almost certain to see Wonder Woman on the NBC schedule this fall. Then we'll really have something to talk about. Seriously.

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Airing this afternoon and tonight:

The Federal Budget (multiple channels, 4 p.m. ET) features the Minister for Hardship announcing that there's no money for nothing (or words to that effect) except a few of his favourite things. Which doesn't include "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" but might include "Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens." Following the announcement, the plotline calls for indignation to ensue.

Hogs Gone Wild (Discovery, 9 p.m.) is not to be confused with the federal budget. No way. It is, in fact, a show with a big cult following and a ratings hit for the U.S. Discovery Channel. And yes, it's all about hogs. In fact, " Hogs Gone Wild is a new adrenaline-packed series taking viewers to the front lines in the war against an increasingly destructive and invasive enemy: the feral hog." Nothing to do with the budget, obviously.

Check local listings.

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About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More

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