Today we complete the Great ’70s Girl Feminist Hero Triumvirate that also includes The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman. In fact Isis (later called The Secrets of Isis) actually predated the other two shows, running from 1975 through 1977. (Naturally it did not pre-date Wonder Woman herself, who dated in comic book form to the 1940s). In reverse order, once it was a hit TV show, Isis then BECAME a DC comic book.
Isis was a Saturday Morning live-action Filmation show, a kind of sister program to Shazam. The coolest thing about this program, among many, is that it was 100% ORIGINAL, i.e. not developed from a pre-existing property, which was rare then and rarer still today. It was the creation of Marc Richards, who also gave us the original Ghost Busters (I mean the ORIGINAL original Ghost Busters in 1975) and then also (confusingly) the 1986 animated version of the more familiar Ghost Busters. Previously he had also written for The Brady Kids, Uncle Croc’s Block, The New Adventures of Gilligan, and Gilligan’s Planet.
Isis was portrayed by Joanna Cameron, who in her alter ego role as schoolteacher Andrea Thomas looked strikingly like Gabe Kaplan’s wife on Welcome Back Kotter. Cameron got into show business because she was a friend of Bob Hope’s daughter Linda. Her first role was in Hope’s How to Commit Marriage (1969).
Isis herself seemed to have all the super powers. Like Wonder Woman she summoned Goddesses, in her case, Egyptian ones. To do so, she had to utter Bewitched-like incantations: “O zephyr winds which blow on high / Lift me now so I can fly.” As on Shazam (and The Adventures of Superman, for that matter), the flying was accomplished with a cheap-o green screen effect:
Her sentient crow sidekick/familiar was named Tut.
At any rate, there was everything to love about this show, from the female hero at the center to her STYLE, and the hokey rip-off of ancient culture for us ancient culture nerds to geek out on. It’s definitely neo-Pagan Goth adjacent at the least! Reportedly, Kelsey Grammer’s company currently owns the rights to the show with a view to reviving the franchise. I truly hope it happens. This is one superhero who, like the mummies of the pharoahs, deserves immortality.
Addendum: Sadly, Cameron died on October 15, 2021 due to complications from a stroke. She was 70.