September 10, 2017

"The Greatest American Hero" Reboot Features a Woman as Hero: So Did the Last Episode of the Original Series

ABC is rebooting the show "The Greatest American Hero" with a woman in the lead as the character with the task of righting wrongs with the help of an alien-provided magic suit. There seems to be a lot of surprise that the superhero character would be female, as if the idea was new. But back in 1986 the original actors filmed a pilot, called "The Greatest American Heroine," which became an episode of the series (season 3, episode 14).   In it, Ralph Hinckley, the original hero, selects a woman to carry on the mission after the public learns his secret identity. That was thirty years ago. At that time, it seems to have been a relatively novel idea. Today we may see it happen, although the idea that the main character will be as clueless as Mr. Hinckley was in terms of how to use the amazing weapon the aliens have given her could be problemactic.

She also seems to have no profession; the original suit-wearer was a high school history teacher (and remember that his girlfriend was an attorney, suggesting that she saw something in him pre-suit). Maybe the lack of career is supposed to signal that the new suit-wearer can pass unnoticed in today's society, or to give her the ability to save the world without having to take a day off from work. It's a little disturbing to think, though, that intelligent aliens would entrust such a mission to someone who has little sense of professional direction. I understand the original show was a satire, and the reboot probably will be, also. I wonder how the viewers will receive the new character, because we're still hearing (or hearing once again) that women just aren't as good as men at many things.

BTW, Fox tried a reboot in 2015. It didn't take off.

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