Lindsay Wagner, the original Bionic Woman, became an icon in the late '70s as one of first high-profile female superheroes to headline her own primetime television series.
Like Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman before her, Wagner's role was a mix of traditional comic book action and modern, feminist storytelling centered around the life of a woman saving the world in a way that was as thrilling as it was progressive.
While Wagner recognizes that female superheroes have come a long way since she herself went hand-to-hand with evildoers week-to-week, the actress recently expressed her feelings that the superhero industry still has a lot of work to do.
"It's great that women are now allowed to be heroes," Wagner explained to The Wrap. "But I am also concerned when I see that a lot of the modern day ideas of a female superhero are just yesterday's male hero in some tights."
From Wagner's perspective, the thing that made the television appearances of the female superheroes of her day compelling weren't just that they were women, but that their characters brought a uniquely feminine perspective to the genre.
As comic book-inspired media continues to dominate, Wagner continued, the content itself has lagged behind in terms of the powerful storytelling it's capable of in favor of more visually impressive CGI effects.
"The whole point of having a woman in a leadership position of any kind is to hopefully bring the feminine aspect of wisdom and intelligence to whatever they're attempting to do," she said. "Hopefully we get used to technology so we don't have to be mesmerized by it and get back to story."
Wagner's point is well-put and interestingly timed given the current state of female superheroes on television. While major blockbuster movies still have a difficult time of crafting narratives in which one of a female hero's primary struggles is a classic love triangle, TV shows are getting better.
Supergirl, the most classic female hero on TV right now, is doing the subversive work of remixing the superhero genre by infusing with an almost Mary Tyler Moore Show ethos. For all of its explosions and fight scenes, CBS's Supergirl is, at its core, a show about a young girl trying to make it in the big city while also saving the world.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Netflix's Jessica Jones almost entirely forgoes CGI for a gritty exploration of what it means to be both the survivor of sexual assault and a person struggling to solidify their identity. Both shows are far from being mere female echoes to more popular male-dominated stories, but Wagner's point still stands. A few standout examples do not fix a widespread lack of representation.