Watch The 2001 ‘Electra Woman And Dyna-Girl’ Pilot, A Show Even The WB Turned Down [Video]
If you can think back to the hazy days at the start of this century, there’s three things you might recall about the cultural zeitgeist of the time. One: Buffy The Vampire Slayer was at the peak of its popularity, anchoring the relatively new WB network with its combination of teen drama and supernatural superheroics. Two: ’70s nostalgia was hitting critical mass, as evidenced by the fact that we got two Charlie’s Angels movies. Three: Thanks to the success of the X-Men and Blade movies, live-action superheroics were starting the upswing in public interest that would lead to now, a time when we have nine friggin’ movies about the Avengers.
Obviously, these three threads had to come together at some point, and some bright-eyed young executive at the WB hit on the idea of exactly how to do it: reviving Sid and Marty Kroft’s Electra Woman and Dyna Girl as a cynical parody of superheroes, starring Night Court‘s Markie Post as a washed-up heroine dragged back into the game by a very chipper high school student. As you might expect, it didn’t pan out, but the magic of the internet has allowed us to watch the 14-minute pilot.
14 minutes might seem like an odd time for a pilot, but odds are pretty good that this was just a proof-of-concept dealie rather than a full show. That said, since the original Electra Woman ran as half of a half-hour show, it actually fits the pacing and time slot of its inspiration pretty well.
That said, it’s… well, it’s pretty easy to see why it didn’t get picked up. The original was a lighthearted parody of Batman ’66, which was itself already a lighthearted, comedic take on superheroes. It’s basically a parody of a parody of a comedy, which means that it loops back around into just being cynical for the sake of cynicism, full of jokes about how terrible everyone’s life is, and that’s not exactly a sustainable avenue for comedy. We gotta have someone to like, you know? It’s not exactly constructed that well, either — as io9 points out, they use a record scratch twice, and most of the jokes are pretty grating. Also, if you could harness the energy of all the frosted hair that appears in this show, you could power Los Angeles for a month.
What’s interesting is that, since it aired on the WB, the producers had access to DC’s characters, meaning that this show is actually set in a weird little TV version of the DC Universe, a year before Smallville would take that premise to its nigh-unbearable conclusion. Flash and Aquaman show up, and Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are all mentioned — although the latter in a way that I can’t imagine would ever get on TV.
Honestly, the most enjoyable part of the pilot is the five seconds of the Rubinoos that gets used as background music.