Sid and Marty Krofft were prolific creators of children’s programming in the 70s, though often adding a twist of the bizarre into the mix. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was no different. The show was, essentially, a gender-flipped 70s-era version of the 1966 Adam West Batman series by the creators of H.R. Pufnstuf. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was part of The Krofft Supershow, airing in 12 minute segments for a total of 16 episodes, each pair forming a full story. The end of the odd-numbered episodes was a cliffhanger with the main characters facing danger. The segment lasted for just one season, being dropped from The Krofft Supershow when it went to its second season.
Deidre Hall, best known for her work on the daytime soap Days of Our Lives, played intrepid reporter Lori, who became the superheroine Electra Woman. Judy Strangis played Judy, who became the teen sidekick Dyna Girl, even though Strangis was only two years younger than Hall. Their powers came from the ElectraComs, devices on their wrists that projected energy that could be used to thwart the machinations of their villainous opponents. The ElectraComs received their power from the ElectraBase, where scientist Frank Heflin, played by Norman Alden. Heflin operated the CrimeScope, a computer designed to track crimes and acts of villainy. To get around, the ElectraDuo used the ElectraCar, a three-wheeled vehicle.
While the heroines depended on gadgets for powers, the villains weren’t so limited. The Sorceror and Miss Dazzle relied on magic, including a magic mirror that allowed them to travel in time. Glitter Rock and his sidekick, Side Man, used sonic gadgets. The Empress of Evil and Lucretia used magic. The Pharoah and Cleopatra used magic and alchemy. Ali Baba and the Genie also used magic. The Spider-Lady and her sidekicks, Leggs and Spinner, kept to a spider-theme with nets and misdirection. The sources of the various powers were never expanded upon.
Indeed, given the time limitations, the episodes jumped right to the action. Lori and Judy were reporters more to give them a way into some of their mysteries more than anything else. Electra Woman was a superhero fighting evil while Dyna Girl was the spunky teen sidekick, a much more colourful and happier Batman and Robin. The focus of the episodes was split between the heroines and the villains, showing the nefarious plot to avoid the slower parts of investigation.
The 2016 reboot movie started as an idea from Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart. They wanted to do a superhero series to mock life in Hollywood. As they developed the idea, Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures approached them with the idea of using Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. The result was first released as a series of webisodes before being released on DVD. Electra Woman (Helbig) and Dyna Girl (Hart) returned.
The reboot begins in Ohio, with Electra Woman and Dyna Girl at home after a gruelling day of heroing, still in costumes that resembled those worn by Hall and Strangis. On TV is a commercial featuring Major Vaunt, a superhero who has landed a contract with a Hollywood agent and, as Judy put it, “sells out.” Their day continues on its low course when the Bernice, the bratty teen-aged neighbour, pops in to mock them and their uselessness. After all, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl don’t even have powers, just Dyna Girl’s Dyna Suction Gun. Lori and Judy shoo Bernice off, then head out to get a snack. At the convenience store, while the heroic duo are in the back hunting down slushies, two masked robbers enter. One is armed with a pistol, the other with a smartphone, recording the crime. To add to their general lack of smarts, neither robber notices or even looks for anyone in bright spandex. Despite their lack of powers, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl show the robbers the error of their ways, disarming the gunman with ease in a very literal fashion and uploading their failure to their own YouTube channel.
The video becomes an overnight sensation, leading to Electra Woman getting an invite out to Los Angeles by CMM, the Creative Masked Marketing agency, run by Dan Dixon, superagent to superheroes. After travelling from Ohio to LA in the ElectraCar, a sixteen year old hatchback with a fading psychedelic paint job, Lori and Judy are given the grand tour of CMM. Dixon isn’t one to take no for an answer, so the tour includes the lab of Frank Heflin, genius inventor with almost no social skills, the ElectraComs, which are a mix of smartphone and weapon, and the reveal of new costumes. Judy is hesitant, but Lori jumps at the chance to be a proper superhero and answers for both of them.
During an interview on a morning show, the ElectraDuo stop an armoured car robbery, using the ElectraComs and natural talent. The footage shoots them from stardom to superstardom, but cracks in the partnership start forming. The media and CMM treat Dyna Girl as a sidekick instead of a partner, driving a wedge between Lori and Judy. Meanwhile, a supervillain appears, the first since the end of the Shadow War, the final battle between superheroes and supervillains that ended with the heroes triumphant. The villain calls herself the Empress of Evil, wielding what looks like magical powers to stymie the LAPD. The collected heroes of LA can only watch as the Empress toys with the police until Major Vaunt teleports to the scene to fight her. However, he’s too busy playing to the cameras to be effective and is killed by the Empress.
The rift between Lori and Judy grows afterwards. Lori has fully embraced the Hollywood star lifestyle, focusing on media appearances, while Judy wants to use Frank’s CrimeScope to locate the Empress. The two split up, going their separate ways. Outside where a commercial is being filmed, fans recognize Judy as Dyna Girl and get selfies with her. One other person recognizes her, and Judy knows who it is just before she’s taken away.
Learning that Judy has been kidnapped by the Empress, Lori realizes what and who is important in her life, even if Judy can be a wet blanket at times. She talks to Frank, who locates Judy’s ElectraComs at CMM’s headquarters. Lori races, with some false starts, to the agency and finds Judy in the basement, tied by cables to support pillars. The Empress reveals herself and taunts the two before leaving to cause more mayhem. Lori apologizes for the way she behaved, and Judy accepts that Lori has come to her senses. They’re discovered by Frank who is on a soup run.
Lori and Judy try to figure out a way to stop the Empress. Frank reveals to them the new ElectraCar and the pair rush off. They confront the Empress of Evil with the new ElectraCar, a sleek sports car with a massive ElectraCannon extending out over it. The ElectraCar lasts not even five minutes before the Empress uses her powers to fling it away. Electra Woman takes matters in hand and pummels the villain, but the Empress’ powers have made her body impervious to damage. Lori, though, knowing the villain, knows her one weakness and uses it to defeat her.
The reboot has several advantages, the big one being that special effects cost far less, relatively speaking, now than in 1976. The lack of details in the original Electra Woman and Dyna Girl means that expanding on their backgrounds and personalities won’t contradict anything previously done and allows for greater depth of the characters. The reboot is a comedy at heart, and the webisode approach allows for humour that wouldn’t be allowed on Saturday morning television. Helbig and Hart make the characters their own while still acknowledging the original work. At the same time, they have commentary about life in LA for actors and the nature of superhero movies. While the rift between Lori and Judy was an obvious conflict, Judy herself makes fun of that storyline while foreshadowing it. The reveal of the Empress of Evil’s identity is also foreshadowed, with hints given along the way.
Helbig and Hart’s Electra Woman and Dyna Girl updates the TV series. The new costumes are practical, with spandex replaced by padded outfits that both protect and give further range of motion. The new ElectraComs have similar abilities as the originals with the extra communication capabilities as smartphones. The situations are also updated, with modern problems plaguing the ElectraDuo, from life in LA to trying to find the right Uber car.
The new Electra Woman and Dyna Girl is very much a product of now, much as the original was a product of the 70s. Dyna Girl is no longer a sidekick, despite the attempts by both CMM and the media to paint her as such. Instead, she’s Electra Woman’s partner, an equal. The focus is on the ElectraDuo; the only time the audience learns anything about the Empress of Evil and her plot is when Electra Woman and Dyna Girl are there, only because the villain takes the time to gloat. The Empress herself does change from the original; instead of being a construct created by Lucretia, the new villain has motivation and a tie to the ElectraDuo, one that is set up even before she appears as the supervillain.
With the original Electra Woman and Dyna Girl having almost no depth because of its format, the reboot has a free reign to create details as needed, playing around with the concept for the sake of the story. The new version is slightly more adult than the original and is far more genre savvy. The result is a movie that exceeds the original in scope while still remaining about the title duo.
The dam broke. News just keeps flowing, with nothing outside consideration. Let’s get started on the March news roundup.
Catan TV and movie rights purchased.
Gail Katz, producer of /The Perfect Storm/, has bought the rights to the board game, The Settlers of Catan. While the purchasing of rights is just the first of many steps to get a movie or TV series made, it’s not a guarentee. Catan also has the interesting problem of having no set plot. Instead, players are in competition to settle the land of Catan, but may also trade with each other. The trading is the source of endless “wood for sheep” jokes amongst the game’s players.
Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar becoming TV series.
Starlin, creator of Guardians of the Galaxy, will also be the executive producer of the TV series. /Dreadstar/ will follow Vanth Dreadstar, sole surviror of the Milky Way galaxy, as he tries to end an war between two empires. No casting has been announced.
Fox greenlights Sandman spinoff.
Lucifer, a spinoff of Sandman, has been ordered by Fox. The original Lucifer had the lord of Hell giving up the title and moving to Earth to run a piano bar while interacting with other religious figures. The Fox series, though, has Lucifer assisting the Los Angeles police department in solving crimes.
New Alien movie to be directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Blomkamp, who directed /District 9/, has a deal with Fox to film a new /Alien/ movie. This film is separate from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus 2. Blomkamp’s movie will be a sequel to Aliens, and will bring back Sigourney Weaver as Ripley.
EL James to write script for 50 Shades sequel.
James, who wrote the 50 Shades trilogy, is exerting ownership and control and will be the scriptwriter for the next movie in the series. The sequel may be delayed as a result; James has not written a script before and the Valentine’s Day 2016 release date may not be possible. The sequel also needs a new director; Sam Taylor-Johnson will not be back after numerous fights with James on set during the filming.
MacGuyver may be getting a reboot TV series.
Lee Zlotoff, the creator of the original MacGuyver TV series, is working with the National Academy of Engineers on a crowdsourcing competition to find the next MacGuyver. The challenge – the new character must be a woman, who doesn’t necessarily need to be named MacGuyver. The prize is $5000 and working with a Hollywood producer to develop the script.
Netflix to make new Inspector Gadget, Danger Mouse series.
Netflix is becoming the newest source for series. Besides the Marvel offerings, Netflix will be adding animation to the lineup. First, Inspector Gadget, a 26-episode reboot of the classic cartoon, will start in March in the US and in other countries later. A revival of Danger Mouse, will follow.
Not to be outdone, Disney brings back Duck Tales.
Duck Tales, a staple of the late 80s and early 90s, is returning with new episodes on Disney XD in 2017. The same characters from the original will be in the new show.
The Search for More Money may become a reality.
Mel Brooks has said he wants to make Spaceballs: The Search for More Money. Nothing is confirmed, but the idea is to have the sequel come out after Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination may be adapted in near future.
Paramount Pictures may be signing a deal the lead the way to a movie adaptation of the novel. The novel’s been in development hell for twenty years, with Richard Gere and Paul W.S. Anderson being attached to the project. Talks are still early, though.
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl getting remade.
Taking the titular roles are Grace Helbigg and Dana Hart, both of whom are known through their work on YouTube. The original Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was a 1976 Sid and Marty Krofft series and starred a pre-Days of Our Lives Deidre Hall.
Adventure Time to become feature film.
Cartoon Networks’ Adventure Time is in development for an animated film. Chris McKay and Roy Lee, producers of The LEGO Movie and the upcoming The LEGO Batman Movie will produce the film.
John Barrowman to develop project from Heavy Metal.
Barrowman, known for his role of Captain Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and Torchwood, will produce and star in The 49th Key, a miniseries based on a story by Erika Lewis that just started in the magazine, Heavy Metal, as of issue #273.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM being remade.
MGM will adapt the book by Robert C. O’Brien as a mix of live action and CGI. Adapted once before by Don Bluth as The Secret of NIHM, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM is about a widowed mouse who gets help from escaped lab rats to save her home and her son.
Valiant Comics bringing their characters to the movies.
DMG Entertainment of Beijing has invested in Valiant Comics and wants to bring the Valiant characters to the silver screen and television. Valiant has Bloodshot, Shadowman, and Archer and Armstrong already in development.
Live action Akira film delayed again.
The director attached to the project, James Collet-Serra, is taking time for himself after making the movies Non-Stop and Run All Night back-to-back. The fate of the adaptation is back in the hand of Warner Bros. The studio has been trying to cut the budget from the initial $180 million estimate down to between $60 and $70 million to offset the fan backlash currently happening. Warner has had the Akira adaptation in some form of development since 2002.
Sony working on an male-driven Ghostbusters remake.
The male-driven remake/reboot is being developed in parallel with the female-driven version. Sony is hoping to expand the franchise. Maybe the best approach for the movies is to borrow from the West End Games Ghostbusters role-playing game and set each movie as a separate Ghostbusters International franchise in different cities. Ghostbusters Tokyo: The Anime anyone?
Three Days of the Condor becoming a TV series.
The conspiracy thriller of the 70s is being developed for TV by Skydance and David Ellison. The original movie was itself adapted from the book, Six Days of the Condor, and involved a a CIA operative whose co-workers were murdered as part of a government cover-up.
Archie getting a reboot, new look.
In a possible first for the publisher, Archie Comics is getting a reboot and a new #1. Mark Waid and Fiona Staples will helm the title and will bring Archie to the 21st Century in appearance without taking away from what makes the character who he is. The re-imagining comes with Archie’s 75th anniversary and follows such works as AfterLife with Archie and the announced Riverdale TV series.
A third Tron movie is in the works.
A sequel to Tron: Legacy will be directed by Joseph Kosinski, who directed the previous Tron movie. The movie should follow from events in Legacy.